Years ago when I first started working at the chamber, a local resident sent in an email making fun of the paint job on my car. Somehow this resident didn’t think it was appropriate to sit something like that in the chamber parking lot.
I’ve been getting comments about that car since the day my husband painted it. Love it or hate it, it gets your attention. That’s its purpose: to advertise our auto body shop, to set us apart from all the other shops out there.
Every business owner knows they have to find something unique that makes them stand apart from their competition. But most don’t have the resources to compete with the big boys. So what do you do?
More than anything else, your customers want value. They want to know they’re getting something for their money. But if you’re offering a product at a certain price, and your competitor is offering the same product at the same price, what then?
Here’s where you have to get creative. Nowadays one of the most important things your customers are looking for is convenience. Even in Florida where lots of us are retired, we still want to get what we want the easiest way possible. So if you can make your product easier to buy or use, you’re ahead of the game. Remove the inconveniences. Offer less waiting, no irritations, the most helpful service, detailed instructions, user support, whatever is keeping your customers away. Make is so easy!
Our car is customized especially for us. Can you find ways to personalize your product or service for your customers? If not, can you customize how you package it for delivery?
OK, so your competition offers the same product at the same price. Can you offer something your competitors don’t? Maybe you can get your hands on a version of your product that’s been discontinued but still has a strong customer base.
Look at the people you usually market to. Are they the only ones who can use your product? What if you advertised to a totally different group of people?
Add an extra feature to your product or service that others don’t have. For example, combine it with another product or a complimentary service. Let’s say you’re a hair salon. What if you also sold a product line of dietary supplements that support healthy hair? Or maybe you add waxing services for those customers with unruly eyebrows?
Sometimes it’s as simple as making it fun or entertaining to buy your product. If you can make the whole experience of being your customer an enjoyable one, you’ll surely keep your current customers and word of mouth will bring in lots more.
You don’t need to have a crazy paint job on your car to get attention, although it definitely works. But you do need to set yourself apart from your competition. So get creative and get noticed!
Dana Dittmar is executive director of the Sun City Center Area Chamber of Commerce.