How to stand out in a crowded market

I don’t need to tell you how hard it is running a small business, especially when the top worry in your mind is ‘How do I make sales and still stand out from my competition?’. It’s totally fine to feel as though you don’t know what you’re doing. Trust me, there’s more people than you realise who are just ‘winging it’ day to day. Being bold and interesting doesn’t have to mean shouting your company at the top of your lungs in the street (although, I’m sure you’d turn a few heads if you did). We’ll work through this together and suggest some ways to get you on that much desired pedestal. 


Find your tribe

Where’s the most important place to start? Let’s start with considering your audience. Try thinking about who engages with your content, do you have a set amount of people who are always first to comment on your posts or do they share your new content as an advocate for your brand? 

It’s important to make use of the insight tools you have in your social media channels, it gives you a good idea of your average audience, as well as the best times to post content and receive the best engagement. When you’ve got your answer you can start thinking about the following things: ‘If I were my target audience, would I  want to buy my product? Am I offering a solution to their problem with my product offering?’. 

My first suggestion would be to build an audience around people who genuinely want to buy and engage with you and your product. People who believe in you and your brand story and shout it from the rooftops (so you don’t have to be that crazy person standing in the street shouting on your own). Let’s call this your ‘tribe’. Your tribe should be made up of the people who are buying your product, but also chatting and engaging with you and promoting your brand to other people. These are the people that will help your business to strive and stand out from the crowded market, we all need these people in our lives. 

When you were little did you have a friend who wanted to be like you? They’d copy your pigtail hairdo with bright coloured pom poms hair ties (even if you told her they’d rip out her hair), they’d ask their mum to buy all the same clothes as you from the NEXT catalogue, and buy the same pencil case accessories for school. You need this friend in your tribe, they are the members who are always going to be with you through thick and thin. 

If you can nail your tribe members, other like minded people will want to join in and be part of the gang, forever growing your community.
Have you considered how much you communicate with your audience? Communication really is key. Would you buy a product from someone who stares blankly at you at a market stall? I know I wouldn’t, in fact that’s pretty terrifying. Making conversation is really important as this helps establish trust and relationships. Ask your tribe members how their day is going, host a conversation that other people in your tribe can get involved in. Once you’ve smashed this, you’re halfway there to standing out in the crowd.


Nail your Unique Selling Point

One of the biggest things you can fail to realise when building your business is that you need to make yourself unique. Think of it this way, if you saw three dogs in a shop and two of them were black and one was bright pink, your eye is going to immediately be drawn straight to the pink dog (even if it’s just to ponder over why on earth that dog is pink). The same applies with your business, grab those people and spark their interest from the start with your unique selling point. 

I’ve always found when it comes to organising or planning, the best thing you can do is map out a list of what you think makes you different from your competition. Is it the quality of your product, your brand history, your packaging, are your products eco friendly? Ask someone who doesn’t know your product as well as you do, they’re bound to suggest something you may not have thought of yourself. 

I used to have an aunt (family friend - not a real aunt) who would comment on everything about me, from my blue and red tartan jumper I wore till there were no threads left, to my cat's name - as if Mr PuffleSnuffs isn’t a great name. The reality of the situation is she’s the perfect person to look into the potential flaws of your business, the person who is brutally honest. Aunt Sally will pick out the tiniest things you may not have considered, it’s worth being spotted and nipped in the bud rather than being missed for a potential customer to stumble upon. 

There are endless USP’s to explore, you just need to find yours. Make sure it’s something you believe in and ensure it’s different from your competitors.  No one wants to be in the same market with a bunch of people doing the same things, be you but make it unique, that will help you stand out.


Add that special touch - YOU

A bit of advice that I would give to you is be yourself and believe in yourself. If no one is going to root for you, you need to root for yourself. You started this business because you had an idea that sparked and made your dream a reality. Your business needs to be a mixture of your personality and your vision. Adding personality can be done through the tone of voice that you write your text in, but you can also bring this across in your video and imagery. 

Show yourself as well as showing up for yourself. Master the art of reels, TikToks and other video platforms because your tribe will want to see the creator behind your brand. If you’re a bit quirky, own it! People love seeing things that will stop them from scrolling. Showing up on social media helps put a face to your brand and builds trust in your community.

If you’re not confident in showing your face to the world, start smaller and record yourself in your bedroom and keep those videos on your phone until you start to feel more familiar with yourself and the feeling of being on screen. It takes some practice and you may not ace it first time, but it’s all part of the process - be kind to yourself.


Copy + Keywords = good SEO

There’s that big dreaded acronym I fear - SEO. If you don’t have a clue what I’m talking about, it stands for search engine optimisation. In basic terms, it’s what will make you appear at the top on Google, and who wouldn’t want to be at the top. You’re probably thinking to yourself, ‘Chloe, just tell me what I need to do to achieve good SEO’ - the best place to begin is strong written copy with lots of high ranking keywords and semantic keywords (but don’t just cram them all in!). If you have a website, copy copy copy should be on every page you want to rank in google. Google crawls for keywords across your website and if you’ve got these laced intricately and eloquently throughout, it will help them find you and boost you further to the top. 

There are so many tools that can help you get started if you're feeling a bit worried. I hold my hands up high and praise the SEO God’s when I talk about Surfer, it's such a great tool for any newbie to the SEO game. Surfer will tell me what people are searching for and what keywords I need to make sure I’m hitting all the relevant keywords for Google to notice me. So if you’re an SEO virgin, here is a great place to start off. Keep your eyes peeled for our future content on how to best optimise your content to rank higher in search engines.


You don't need to be a photographer to take good photos

Last but not least, take good quality, engaging photos. The best part is you don’t need to be a photographer to take a good photo, you just need some simple tips to nudge you in the right direction. Luckily, nowadays we have access to devices that store thousands of images. When I was little and completely oblivious to the world (and the value of money), I would take my parents' film camera and take pictures of my Barbie dolls until the film ran out. I had no idea what I was doing, I just thought it was cool. My parents, however, did not! 

A good starting point is to decide where you are going to be shooting. You can’t go wrong with a nice interior backdrop, you can create this by using a clear space and adding objects into the shot or even taking them away. You can also branch out by looking at the bigger picture and taking yourself out of that box (I’m talking about your house/studio), drive somewhere and venture into the outdoors (there’s a lot of it). 

How about considering your lighting - you don't even need to have all the fancy equipment. Think about using the outside light, a big lamp or even a torch. The possibilities are endless, it’s amazing what you can achieve from just trialling these different options. My final tip of the day I’d like to give you is choosing the style of imagery you want to produce. Is it a simple product shot, flat lay or lifestyle photograph. Rewind back to considering your audience in this. What do they want to see and what will make them buy your product. You can still add in quirks of your personality to all of these but pick what’s right and achievable for you. Don’t forget to tell a story in your imagery (just like my younger self and my barbie dolls), what’s your reason for taking this photo, are your audience going to connect with it? Is it a lifestyle you’re capturing or a piece of advice you’re sharing?


So how do I stand out?

The market is forever growing and it will always be a challenge to stand out from the crowd but as long as you’re following these simple tips, you are much further along the path than the people who are afraid to make the bigger changes. So give it a go and try some of these tips out, I’d love to know how you get on so drop me a message in the comments to update me on your journey. You've got this! If you do need that extra helping hand and to talk to someone face to face (virtually) make sure to sign yourself up to The Tiny Clinic. If you’ve never heard of this before, it’s Tiny Box Company’s free 1-1 business advice service. So if you fancy a chat and think you would benefit from this, Amber is ready and waiting to sign you up here. “No one remembers you for standing in the crowd. But they do remember you for standing out of it.”