Like it or not, some products and services naturally have a lot more competition than others. Even if you have a high-quality offering, it can be surprisingly easy for it to get lost among a sea of similar competitors.
When trying to gain the attention (and dollars) of your target audience, positioning your product or service as a competitive offer is often key to standing out. With a unique value proposition, you can make your offer that much more appealing to your potential customers.
While the exact “recipe” for a competitive offer can vary based on the product or service you’re selling, the right combination, custom-tailored to your audience, will help you gain major headway in your niche. Here are four key ingredients.
1. Fine-tune your pricing strategy
There’s no beating around the bush — pricing will always be an integral part of the offer you make to prospective customers. For example, a survey from AYTM found that 79% of customers try to find the lowest price, while 78% say they actively compare prices between stores.
Some assume that simply making prices lower than a competitor will give you a distinct advantage. However, targeting the lowest price isn’t always the best solution. Pricing that is too low could impact your perceived quality or hurt your profit margins. You may wish to consider alternative pricing options that give your offer a better perceived value — like tiered pricing or a subscription service.
While you should always pay careful attention to competitors’ pricing, you may not want to make explicit comparisons a key focus of your messaging. A study from Stanford found that directly advertising comparative pricing can sometimes backfire, causing consumers to not buy anything or view the less expensive alternative as a riskier investment. Set your pricing competitively and let customers discover the difference on their own.
2. Make customer education a top priority
While it’s true that some products and services will naturally require more customer education than others, every brand can make educational content a cornerstone of their marketing strategy. This goes beyond providing a basic FAQ or tutorial for using your product or service (though this can, and should, be a part of it).
Customer education can also play a crucial role in the sales process. Whether it’s sales calls, emails or blogs, explaining the benefits of your product or service with case studies and other meaningful content will help decision-makers.
Strong customer education efforts will consistently provide your customers with high-value content related to your niche. This could entail things like a landscaping company offering seasonal lawn care tips or a CRM software provider sharing customer onboarding best practices. A steady flow of high-value content helps your brand become more than just the product or service in the mind of your customers. It becomes an authoritative source of industry knowledge.
3. Go above and beyond with recurring, value-added services
I recently spoke with Carl Dixon, CEO of RescueStat — a company focused on tech-enabled solutions to combat sudden cardiac arrest. During our call, Dixon explained, “Your value as a company increases significantly when you focus on your customers’ needs by providing both recurring and one-time, value-added services as a part of your standard offering.”
Dixon continued, “You can provide value-added service at each stage of the customer experience with services like product customization, free shipping, loyalty programs, ongoing account management, streamlined upgrades, product replacements and so on. The key question to ask when considering potential value-added services is as follows: ‘Does this actually add value?’ Companies that listen to their customers and focus on alleviating their headaches will know what services to offer. When customers’ needs are met, they reward their partners with their loyalty and trust. That’s where enduring value lies — it’s as simple as that.”
Quite often, what once seemed like an “extra” feature is now expected by most consumers. For example, a National Retail Federation report found that 75% of customers now expect free delivery on online orders under $50.
Take a look at other competitors in your niche to see which value-added services they do and do not offer. This can help you identify a gap in the service experiences that are currently being provided. Targeting these areas will create greater value for your customers while also helping you increase revenue.
4. Attach your brand to a cause
Today’s customers are more closely aligned with causes than ever before, and they pay attention to whether the words and actions of brands line up with these ideals. Brands can no longer exist in a vacuum.
And don’t worry — though it is often effective, not all brand-supported causes need to be political.
Many companies donate a portion of their profits to charity or create opportunities for their employees to regularly volunteer in the community. Such actions help humanize your brand and make it more appealing to like-minded consumers who want to feel that their hard-earned dollars are helping make the world a better place
With the right messaging and promotional strategy, you can ensure that your products or services will rise above the noise of your crowded niche. Even more importantly, after you onboard customers through these offers, they can experience firsthand the level of quality your business has to offer. The repeat business and word of mouth growth will pay big dividends in the long run.