Are you unsure of how to make people perceive your online business as different than the rest?
Maybe you’re selling homemade wares with the twist of them being made out of uncommon objects, or you’re an IT company looking to make a mark on the expanding market of online customers.
Whatever your reason for needing a stand-out business, here’s a list of unique ideas for online business that are sure to bring you to the attentions of employers and customers alike.
1. Optimize Your Website
Perhaps the most basic tip of them all, but still a must-have on this list. The internet is full of niches and insanely specific entities who separate themselves to the slightest detail, sometimes down to just a single letter in a keyword.
You may be searching for a song from an old video game, titled “Maniac Panic”, and to your surprise, you’re redirected to search results for “Manic Panic”, a niche hair coloring company specializing in off the wall colors…
Make sure you properly SEO optimize content to ensure you aren’t caught up in a flood of hair advertisements…
2. “Give ’em The Pickle!”
The man behind this iconic phrase and a renowned business owner, Bob Farrell, knows what he’s talking about.
The man is a millionaire for knowing that not everything is about how good the product is that you’re selling – You must be accommodating to your customers. In most online business stores, customer service is only found by emailing, and hoping for an answer back in a multitude of business days…
If you want to get on a customer’s radar and stay there, you need to implement a real customer service edge, like the famous GoFundMe.com has done, advertising their “Guaranteed Five Minute Reply” as one of the strongest portions of making their company model a lasting impact.
3. What’s Your Thing?
How narrow your field of expertise is has a great impact on the percentage of your audience that turns into paying customers. The more specific they are with what they are looking for, the greater the chances are they will pay up.
Try to find your “thing”, your field of expertise that you approach better, or differently than most. Then create helpful content about that topic, targetting a typical question or problem of the audience you want to target, and then promote it on places where your target audience hangs out.
Not only will this make you stand out within an overcrowded niche as original and innovative, it will also potentially boost your audience’s interest and engagement with your content, and thereby also your conversion rate.
Targetting long-tail keywords is a great way to make sure your audience are as specific and closely targeted as possible. See Keyword Research and Getting Ranked for the Right Words and Phrases.
If you are in fact an “all-in-one” kind of business, it may be in your best interest to try to show your customers that you do in fact do everything, and that you do it good!
4. Be Social with Your Customers
People spend the majority of their day, even while at work, on their phones or on the internet.
This already gives you an edge for exposure that companies operating with an on-site building don’t have. But you can make it an even larger gap between you and other competitors by being social with your customers.
Most online businesses these days has it’s own Facebook page, Twitter account, and Instagram to showcase and self-advertise. But connecting with customers isn’t about finding as many avenues to shove content down their throats as possible.
It’s about getting customers to understand that you’re a step above McDonald’s Facebook page. You’re helpful, you give valuable tips, you care, and you aren’t going to spam advertisements for your McRib sandwich at one hour intervals if they let you join their news feed.
See some of my posts on social media marketing here.
5. Connect with Customers Offline, too!
Conversely, not everything about your business should be constrained to just YouTube advertisements and banner ads on top of popular web search sites. Customers are infinitely more likely to show interest in your online business if you attract attention outside of the online sphere, too.
You can give away flyers, advertise on TV and newspapers, stay available on phone, open up a stand somewhere, contact audiences or businesses in person, or speak at big events etc. The possibilities are endless as long as you keep your creativity in action.
6. Be Creative and Innovative
Many might ask the question, “How am I supposed to make [insert business expertise here] original?”.
Whatever it is, from running Q&A on a customer’s own website, to pressure washing customer’s houses, there’s always a way to be original in a sea of similar professions.
Look at other businesses. Learn what makes them similar to each other, and run in the opposite direction. Every IT company must have a picture of a guy with glasses on their home page? Try to go for a more sleek, original layout.
7. Don’t Charge For Your Content
Of course, you shouldn’t be giving away all your wares free of charge. But consider that if you urge your customers to figuratively put one foot in the door to your online business, they’ll be much more likely to want to buy from you, especially when they have an idea of what the product or service they’re purchasing is.
Take the example of Audible.com – Running advertisements on television, they offered a code to new customers for a free audiobook listening. Once customers know what they’d be purchasing, and after getting a taste for your product, they’ll almost always want more.
Even if you’re weary to give away products for free, you can always rent out advertisement space to other affiliates to keep your website up and running without forwarding the extra burden of charge to the customer.
8. Love What You Do!
The simplest of the points on this list. Don’t apply yourself to a business that you’re not passionate about. Why are you trying to sell your idea to other customers when you can’t even sell the idea to yourself?
Love what you do, and without a doubt customers and business partners will take note.
9. Keep Detailed Records
Do not lose records! If a customer never receives an order, and you don’t have the invoice to refund them, you’re already breaking a bond of trust between you and the customer.
Keep in mind also that customer testimonies and comments can be some of the most helpful tools a business can have when it comes to grow a business and it’s reputation.
Wether it’s a loyal follower complimenting you, a curious reader looking for more information on something, or constructive criticism from a satisfied/dissatisfied customer, taking their experiences into account to improve your customer experience is always a good way to evolve.
10. Maintain Transparency
Many companies believe it’s in their professional interest to not delve into the mechanics of their work, but when a customer or business partner explicitly asks you about your business, how you treat your employees, and your policies in running your business, a vow of silence can be destructive on it’s own.
Businesses should remain online as they are in person – Honest, passionate, and a source of quality in product.
11. Add a Touch of Personality
Professionalism is important, but it’s a natural instinct that it’s much easier to trust something if we know the person behind. When customers feel like they know the seller and have a personal connection with the person behind the product, they are way more likely to open their mind to your ideas and recommendations.
Add an ‘about‘ page to your site with a picture and some information about you/your team, use personal emails like yourname(@)businessname.com, add an ‘about’ feature to your articles so readers know who wrote it etc.
It’s okey to add a personal touch and give the public a face to connect with in your professional business, as long as it’s relevant and within reason.
With that in mind I’m sure you have some new ideas on how to make your online business stand out from the crowd. Please try out some of the tips and let us know how it goes in the comments section.