Building a social media following for your brand or business can easily become an obsession. It takes time, consistency, and research to “get your name out there” in a world full of overnight CEOs. When you reach a decent amount of followers, you should expect to see sales growing as well. If more people know about your brand, you’re more likely to attract at least a few new customers, right? All of those followers should translate into a few dollars, right? Well, not always — but you can easily change that!
If you’ve been focused on getting your brand to go viral online, but you still aren’t trending on Twitter because Beyonce’s mama is out here sharing tidbits about Blue’s budding legendary talents; then it’s time to decide what your competitive advantage is. A competitive advantage is the one benefit that you can deliver better than your competitors. Can you provide faster services? Lower prices? What is special about your business? When you can answer these questions with absolute confidence, your competitive advantage is born.
A competitive advantage isn’t limited to the discounts you can provide. It could be your exclusive products, customer service, business reputation, or even your location.
Kroger and Walmart have socks on clearance for the same price. Kroger’s competitive advantage over Walmart is that shoppers can register for free, and gain access to members-only discounts. Consumers may be more likely to purchase socks at Kroger because they’ll be able to take advantage of an additional price-cut, on top of the clearance sale. However, if Walmart is located in a central area that can reach more customers than Kroger, then Walmart has a competitive advantage in this case as well. Some people shop with price in mind, while others prioritize the convenience of their shopping trip.
Your competitive advantage will help you to identify your target market. If you know how your product benefits others, you can learn more about who commonly needs those kinds of benefits. Small business owners usually start with mass-marketing (selling to whoever will buy it) but you could achieve a higher sales rate when marketing to your own specific audience.
It’s okay to try reaching as many potential shoppers as you can, but focus less on popularity and more on pleasing your current clientele. You might make more money at a faster rate by targeting people who have already shopped with you or inquired about your services. Targeting your day-one supporters can also provide helpful information about how to appeal to new people who have the same needs as your current customers. For example: If you’re a baker and your hometown is full of vegans, you’d probably sell more cakes immediately by marketing to vegans rather than whatever is popular in the online cake world. Local vegan cake-lovers who eat your cakes will eventually serve them to their friends, who will then tell a friend, who will then buy a cake to host their vegan relatives from out of town, who will then tell a friend, who will then… BOOM! Organic growth, actual dollars, no matter how many followers the internet says you have.
Identifying your competitive advantage:
To identify your competitive advantage, you must get to know your clients and your competition.
Consider these factors:
Why do customers purchase your products or engage with your content?
Why do people buy from/follow your competitors and not you?
Why are some of your followers not buying anything from you?
What does your business need to be successful in the future?
Market research and consistent data analysis will help you to answer these questions. Effective market research will show you how your business is different from (and better than) your competitors. After market research reveals what you have to offer that appeals to your customers, build a new marketing strategy and get on the grind! Knowledge of how to market your competitive advantage will help you to display a greater sense of competitive edge.