Differentiate Your Business by Addressing a Major Obstacle That Customers Have with Your Industryby J.W. Abraham on 10/24/14
Do you struggle on how to differentiate yourself from your competitors?
Well, you're not alone.
It's a fundamental problem that most of us running businesses face.
Most of us simply don't sell a product or service that is vastly different from our competitors.
Oh, there may be some little things we can highlight.
But, often we have no earth shattering new technology or innovation that's different from everyone else.
And, this is where a skilled marketer and copywriter is needed to help find and communicate some difference you have or some perceived difference.
But, there is another way. One that is maybe against my own interest as a copywriter as you may not need my services.
Instead of emphasizing what's different about your main product or service emphasize what's different about how you sell your product or service.
And in particular, highlight how your business addresses a major obstacle that customers have with your industry...if you truly can.
Now, that may separate you from your competitors.
Some Examples of Companies That Address Customers' Major Obstacles
Several major industries take this approach.
Like the cell phone industry.
A big obstacle for customers is that they don't want to be locked into a long term contract.
So instead of emphasizing the benefits of their phone service many phone carriers now offer options that emphasize the fact that no contract needed.
And, how about life insurance.
There are tons life insurance companies trying to sell you a policy. You know you need it. But, for many customers, especially as we age, the obstacle becomes whether we can qualify. Whether we can pass the medical test. Or whether we are healthy enough to get life insurance we can afford.
So, instead of emphasizing the benefits of life insurance, a few companies highlight the fact that no health exam is required for to purchase their life insurance.
And take all those companies selling products by the internet or catalog.
There, one of their customers' big obstacles is shipping costs.
L.L. Bean has taken the shipping cost issue head on. They differentiated their company by offering FREE shipping. And, they made sure their customers know this as they have made Free shipping their main message on the front of their catalogs.
And, then there is Zappos. They offer FREE shipping on both delivery and returns. Just reading some of their reviews I can also bet this has garnered lots of customers that otherwise may have not shopped at Zappos or even online altogether.
A Great Strategy for Service Firms
Tackling a major obstacle customers have in a particular industry and then communicating it can be a big advantage for various service firms.
This could be for home improvement companies and professional service companies.
For a service company it can be especially hard to differentiate itself. You have a great BBB rating. But so do your competitors. Great reviews on Angie's List. So do many of your competitors. And you offer this and that service. And, so do many of your competitors. (This is where it is really helpful if you can specialize in some service that few others offer).
Anyway, now what do you do?
You can differentiate yourself by addressing a big obstacle that customers have with you industry.
Like maybe being on time.
I constantly read and hear how frustrated people are when a service company does not keep an appointment. This includes home improvement professionals. And of course the cable company. And, even health professionals. Many patients hate waiting for an appointment that should have been hours ago.
So if you can address that, you may be able to attract more customers.
Another obstacle that pertains to home improvement businesses is whether they are careful about cleaning up after themselves or not dirtying the house in the first place when they visit.
Again, I have seen many reviews where the comments are about the company were careful to not track dirt in through the house. Or how impressed they were that the company cleaned up the job site.
One more common obstacle in the service industry is about how the person explains things to their customers.
Many times I have seen reviews where customers rave about how the professional took the time to explain things to them. This is a huge thing with me too. I want my plumber or doctor to take the time to explain to me the problem, explain my options and explain it in words that I can understand...all so I can make an informed decision.
So, maybe if you're that professional that explains things better you will get even more customers.
So See What Customer Obstacle You Can Address
You may have something else that is a big obstacle with customers in your industry.
If so, see if you can address it in your business.
It could be what separates your competitors. Especially if you are in a business where you sell similar products and services as many other businesses. And where the benefit of the product service is already known.
Then shout it from the rooftops. Put in your headlines in your advertising messages.
Here I have just provided a few examples of obstacles customers have with certain industries and professions.
I would love to hear from you about other obstacles customers may have in your industry. And I would love to hear about your experiences in addressing such industry-wide obstacles.