How to Distinguish Your Small Business From Competitors

Lots of white carved wood pieces with one being more outstanding - Make your business outstanding
Christine Lee
Christine Lee
December 11, 2020

Table of Contents


As a business owner, one of the main goals is to provide value to customers. Without being able to show your value, it’s much harder to attract customers, let alone sell them your goods and services. Without a plan to distinguish your small business from competitors, your business may just fade into the background, particularly if you’re in a tough market.

There are various ways to differentiate your business and products from competitors. However, not all means of differentiation work for every industry. You’ll have to pick the right strategy, and here are a few that work best to beat out your competition.

Tips to Distinguish Your Small Business from Competitors

If you want to attract the most customers to your business, you have to stand out from the crowd. That doesn’t mean you have to come up with a zany marketing campaign, but it can help if you feel stuck behind your competition.

Focus On Your Strongest Niche

What’s your most beloved product? What is your largest audience? Where does this audience hang out online? By targeting your niche with specific products, services, and targeting factors, you can use this specialization to distinguish your business from competitors.

Even if you have competitors with the same products, they may not be as experienced or as high-quality as your product because it’s your specialty. This can set you apart and give you the advantage to build upon.

Change Up Your Marketing Visuals

Branding Concept - Paper bag with sticky notes that says "Brand, Design, Quality, Name, Logo and Identity"

From product differentiation by changing your packaging to changing up your marketing campaign colors, you can hone in on marketing that will attract your audience just by paying attention to the brands and interests they have.

Product differentiation is the most visible way to stand out from the crowd. However, it’s not as long-term as changing your website or content. It’s a temporary fix that can’t be solved if your marketing is boring. This is why you have to avoid web design mistakes so a good user experience keeps users on your site longer.

With that in mind, you may want to work with a branding agency to spice up your marketing and branding style, especially if you have had the same logo and branding for many years.

Be Surprising

Guerrilla marketing campaigns work well with this strategy because they bring attention to something cool that you are doing with your business. For example, maybe you can run a social media contest and ask for photo submissions.

You may also want to include surprises in your packaging that will market your brand further, such as bumper stickers, hats, magnets, and other small gifts that work to market your brand in the long-term.

Perhaps there is another service or option you can offer that will make customers enjoy shopping with you, such as offering a gift if you’re the 100th customer or inviting loyal customers to special discount events.

Always Give 100%

Man offering a great customer service

How does your customer service stack up against your competitors? Do you offer live chat, phone, and email support? Do you have 24-hour customer service? These are some of the ways that you can beat out your competition, and there are 24-hour live chat services that you can hire to monitor your website and even encourage sales.

Additionally, your social media customer service game has to be on point. Your reputation depends on you answering comments, responding to Messenger, and tweeting back to customers who have issues. If you can show that you have excellent response time and provide great customer service, you’ll instantly gain the trust of your customers, who might even share their amazing customer service stories with others.

Be the First, Best, Strongest, and Most Noteworthy

What are the current key features of your business that will benefit the customer? How are they different from those of your competitors? In this case, it’s time to bring all of your managers together and talk about features that are exclusive to your business or what could you add like new technology, that would set your business apart.

For example, could you streamline your point-of-sale and inventory system to make your check-out and shipping process faster?

It’s important that you are constantly pushing forward and enhancing what you do for the customer. If you can customize anything for your customer that would make your products or services more interesting, then it’s something you should consider if it doesn’t hurt your bottom line.

Create an Even More Powerful Offer

Hand offering a small gift wrapped with a dollar bill

To get buyers to choose your products over competitors’ stuff, you need to come up with an offer that is simply unbeatable. Perhaps it’s a steep discount or maybe it’s a bundle that includes everything they need for a low price. For other products, it could be more personalized customer service.

Customers gravitate toward offers that solve their problems and are perceived as the best value. If you offer a money-back guarantee, better warranty, or 24/7 customer support, you’re already a step ahead.

Other incentives you may want to include are a member rewards program, better return policies, free trials, or free gifts with purchase.

Next Steps: Creating Brand Loyalists

The true goal of any campaign should be to steal market share and create brand loyalists by going above and beyond the competition. When you are constantly helping your customers improve their lives and get what they want for the best value, you create a repeat brand ambassador who will consistently promote your products and continue to buy from you for years to come.

Need help with your business growth? Get started with a free marketing business report to see where you stand amongst the competition. We’ll help you grow your business quickly with the latest digital marketing strategies.

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