Do you sound just like your competitors?
7th, Sep 2022
It’s one of the biggest marketing challenges professionals face – how to distinguish themselves from competitors. How many ways can you say that you advocate for your client’s best interests or help them minimize liability, reduce taxes, increase revenue, be more efficient, etc.? What do you do that is really so different from other lawyers, accountants, financial advisors or others in your field?
Many of the phrases professionals use in describing themselves are quite common. For example, you’ll find lots of individuals and firms that emphasize their years of experience, delve into their clients’ problems, help them be proactive and develop customized solutions to fit their needs and goals. Is any of this sounding familiar?
What should you do to differentiate yourself and avoid sounding just like your competitors?
Step 1: Pick 5 competitors to research. Look at their website and social media pages and google them. Try to select some competitors that you think market themselves better than you do and some that you have no idea about what they do to promote their practice. You can also google search terms someone would use to find a professional like you online and research the firms or professionals that show up.
Step 2: Compare yourself to them. Are you using similar language to describe yourself, your practice and your clients? If not, how do you differ? Do you think they are better, worse or as effective as you at talking about their work and how they help clients? Do they come across as possibly more qualified, personable or trustworthy than you? What are they doing to stand out from competitors? How are they staying top of mind with contacts or reaching new people?
Step 3: Determine your specific differentiators. Identify exactly why someone should hire or refer you over your competitors, what unique value you bring to the relationship and how you help. Is there something you are known for? Are you an “expert” in a particular area or have special skills, background or connections? You must be authentic in picking something that truly describes who you are but pay attention to whether it is really unique or just restating what competitors are saying.
Step 4: Focus on 1 simple message. You probably do many things well and may have a diverse background. But trying to talk about all of it will dilute and muddle your message. The human brain cannot remember too much information at once, so keep it simple. There is a time and place to discuss all that you do but not as part of your core message.
Step 5: Prove it. Anyone can say anything about themselves. That’s why you need proof. Your marketing should include positive reviews, success stories, case studies, activities like writing and speaking, media mentions, awards, relevant group memberships and other evidence that you are who and what you say you are.
Step 6. Consider what you can co-opt from competitors. You don’t want to copy exactly what they are doing but there is nothing wrong with getting ideas from them about what you should or should not be doing. Also, identify how you can tailor it to your specific practice and audience, including ways to improve on what they have done.
Step 7. Revise your marketing materials. Once you decide on the image and message you want to present, you must update your marketing to reflect that, including your website, social media, ads, brochures, videos, networking elevator pitch, etc. You need to be consistent and repetitive. Messages don’t sink in until we hear them repeatedly at regular intervals, preferably in interesting and engaging ways. That’s where marketing expertise really comes into play. You need the right message but also must deliver it at the right time, place and manner to attract attention.
It’s not easy to distinguish yourself from competitors but these tips can help you get started. If you need assistance with your marketing, contact us for a free consultation.