The essential ingredient you need to stand out online
It’s not easy to stand out in a saturated online market. It can feel devastating to look around at the competition, to see what our peers are doing, and to feel like we’ll never measure up.
And so, what often happens, is that we end up chasing the same tactics that we see influencers or peers having success with.
But, in doing so, we’ve missed out on the KEY element of what it takes to stand out in a saturated market. Instead, we throw ourselves into courses and marketing tactics and continue to overlook our biggest mistake.
The mistake that I see many business owners making most often is that they avoid doing the foundational work that NEEDS to happen in order to build a standout brand (both intentionally and unintentionally). They think that they can skip ahead and follow the X, Y, and Z tactics that they see other business owners supposedly having success with.
The solution, really, is to stop trying all the tactics, buying all the courses, and watching all the webinars.
Because until you get your standout brand strategy mapped out, those efforts aren’t going to be nearly as impactful as they should be. And you’ll end up taking the extra long (and winding) way around to where you want to be.
The best way forward ––the best way to stand out in a saturated market–– really is to start with that strategic foundation.
That means you need to get clear on:
- WHO you are as a brand
- WHAT your ideal clients need/want
- HOW you’re different from the competition
- WHY you’re doing this in the first place.
Let’s dive into that point of differentiation a bit more...
The benefits of both understanding and being able to articulate who you are and how you’re different are:
- You’ll have a single statement that separates you from any would-be competition.
- You can use this statement to inform your copywriting and website design moving forward.
- And you can inject that greater mission + message into every aspect of your brand so that it automagically stands out.
So, how do you find this?
Contrary to basically EVERY other article out there talking about your “why”, I am NOT going to prompt you to watch Simon Sinek’s famous TED talk and then spontaneously come up with your brand message on your own.
Nope, like everything I teach, I have a systematic process that helps to eliminate the lazy-brain inertia and doesn’t require you to be a creative genius.
Here’s what I recommend:
1. Think about what you believe to be true when it comes to your business niche.
2. Then think about what you believe to be true when it comes to a completely separate area of your life that you’re also highly invested in (like physical or mental wellness, spirituality, finances, or relationships).
3. Then compare… look for the connecting threads or underlying patterns that show up both in that area of your life and in your business philosophy. (Noticing these connecting threads in your life is a major clue to uncovering your unique point-of-view.)
You can do this simply by drawing a Venn diagram on a piece of paper with your business niche on the left, your personal passion on the right, and the overlapping center filled with those underlying common threads.
Here’s an example of my own:
In early 2018, I started another side business called Alt/Well, which was an alternative wellness blog for time-starved women that wanted to maximize their health with the minimum amount of daily effort.
I’ve been highly invested in my own wellness for more than a decade and have studied nutrition, various food philosophies, and experimented with different diets. I thought that I had a unique perspective to share.
What I realized, however, was that my philosophy on wellness wasn’t unique enough and that if I was able to satiate my own craving for quick-hitting research-backed wellness for alternative-minded women with the blog Well and Good, then I had no reason to continue with Alt/Well.
Because if I’m not adding a unique perspective or filling in a gap in the market, then it’s time to either quit or shift. And I decided to quit Alt/Well so that I could better focus on Crafting Creative.
But one thing I realized when creating Alt/Well and bringing that vision to life is that my philosophy on wellness is surprisingly like my philosophy to websites.
Here’s what I mean:
I believe that there is no one-size-fits-all diet for optimum health, regardless of what the top influencers in the industry are currently trying to sell us.
Rather, I think the best and most balanced wellness routine for each of us, comes from understanding the recommendations of the major food philosophies and fitness practices, noticing the common underlying patterns, and experimenting with what feels best to us as individuals in any given season (and reevaluating when things start to feel stale or uncomfortable).
And, running parallel to that is my philosophy for a well-crafted website.
I believe that there is no one-size-fits-all design for a standout website that sells, regardless of what the top influencers in our industry are currently trying to sell us.
Rather, I think the most effective websites that stand out and have staying power come from understanding the best practices and patterns of website design + copywriting, taking into account our unique “zone of genius” as a personal brand and experimenting with what feels best to us and our audience (and reevaluating often when growth starts to stagnate or we feel it’s time to pivot).
Bottom line: there are no hard-and-fast rules in life and an integrated, holistic approach beats piecemeal tactics for long-term success.
There are guidelines and theories and best practices but you have the power to MAKE YOUR OWN RULES based on the needs of your brand (or your body) and the desired effect.
And that is a part of what makes my brand stand out… my “make your own rules, rebel against the status quo” philosophy.
What is something that makes your brand different?
Try the Venn diagram exercise and look for those connecting threads. Then consider how your own philosophy on a topic can serve your audience in a way that they want (and need) and aren’t getting elsewhere.
Because the essential ingredient you need to stand out online is YOU.
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