Online and off, competition is fierce. Consumers are holding onto their money more carefully. In order to thrive in this highly competitive market it’s important to pay attention to your competition.
What’s Your Shtick?
A shtick is a Yiddish word that means your gimmick or unique talent. In the business world they call this your USP, Unique Selling Proposition. Essentially, what makes you different from your competition? What do you have to offer that they don’t? For example, a freelance writer might differentiate themselves by delivering any article or blog post project in 24 hours – the 24-Hour Article Service.
Narrow Your Focus
Trying to be all things to all people does one thing – it increases your competition. Specializing, on the other hand, narrows your competition. It also helps you become the best at what you do. For example, instead of offering information products on how to care for your pet, you might specialize in how to care for your aging dog. Or how to care for your aging Pomeranian. Specialization can virtually eliminate your competition.
Offer products, information, and resources that make you invaluable to your audience. When planning your business, ask yourself this single question – what can I do to offer more value to my audience? Of course, you have to know your audience well to answer this question.
You cannot be boring in this competitive market and survive. Now that doesn’t mean you have to be over the top either. Instead, be yourself. Capture the interest of your audience and customers by sharing your personality with them in your content, interactions, and even in your products or services.
Pay Attention to Your Customers
Chances are you already have some very valuable information regarding what your customers respond to. Take a look at what they buy, when they buy, what emails they open and what links they click. This information will help you hone in on how to offer value and how to be memorable. It may also help you specialize.
Build a Community
Connect with your audience and customers on a regular basis. Invite them to get involved through a number of means. For example, invite them to connect with you on Facebook. Ask questions and invite comments.
Pay attention to what works for you and repeat it. For example, if you find that checklists are downloaded more than free reports you know that your audience enjoys checklists. If they buy more during the summer than in the winter then offer them more during the summer.
Staying ahead of your competition doesn’t just mean following their actions online and reacting to them. Instead, create a plan to be proactive. Differentiate yourself and focus on your customer. That’s how you’ll survive and thrive long term.