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online-business-stand-out-crowded-market-1Two people asked me questions about how to stand out in a crowded market.

“How to grab people’s attention? It is not like it used to be. Everyone and their sister is now a coach or trainer.”

“How do I differentiate in a market that has low barriers to entry and is crowded with crud?”

These people are asking the right question! It’s true that you need to figure out how to stand out and be different and I think there are 2 ways to do that.

A different question is how to promote yourself to grab people’s attention, but that’s a much larger question. I’ll discuss that a little bit at the end, but in this post, I’ll focus on how to establish yourself as unique so that the right people — your ideal, target customers and clients — will be attracted to what you have to offer.

1) You need to focus


When you serve everyone, no one is attracted to you. That’s because what you say doesn’t speak to people personally and individually. So you need to focus on whom you want to serve and that shouldn’t be everyone.

The process of focusing on helping a narrow slice of people is sometimes called “niching down.” It means that you want to choose the slice of people that you can best serve. This becomes your target market and it affects all of your promotion, the products you offer, your services, your keywords, and even your branding.

When you niche down, you gain the following benefits:

  1. You speak more specifically to your target market, which results in higher sales
  2. You reduce your competitors
  3. It’s easier to establish your expertise (stand out) in a narrow field
  4. You focus your time and energy on one stream of income

You can narrow down your target market in one or more of these ways:

  • Geographic: Your target market can be people in a city, state, or country. If you’re offering chiropractic, landscaping, or legal services, you probably need a geographic target.
  • Demographic: You might want to limit your customers to people of one gender or age group. If you offer relationship coaching for men or retirement coaching, you need to have a demographic target.
  • Socioeconomic: You might want to limit your customers by income or education level. If your products or services are high-priced, then obviously you need to focus on people who have the money to pay for them. If you offer college prep courses, you obviously don’t want people with a college degree.
  • Psychographic: Your target market might have similar attitudes, values, or lifestyle. For example, do you want to attract people who want to leave their full-time job and become entrepreneurs? Do you want customers who want to change the world, as I do? These are psychographic qualities.

You might want to attract people who already own a specific product. For example, if you sell courses on how to use PowerPoint, then you need to target people who already have PowerPoint.

How do you choose your niche?

That’s a BIG question! The right niche for you will be a combination of what you like, what you’re good at or know, and what there’s a market for. It’s easy to pick a favorite niche that isn’t of interest to anyone or choose a valuable niche only to find that you hate it.

So do some keyword and market research before making a final decision. If you’d like to do some reading on the topic, read through my blog posts in the Deciding What Business to Do category.

Define your niche, then…

Once you have your niche, you go through a process like this:

  1. Describe your ideal customer or client. An example might be “Men and women who are 45+ who have expertise in a field and want to help others by sharing what they know.”
  2. Write down their big problem that you can solve. For example, they don’t know how to write and speak about their expertise and promote it to the world.
  3. Sketch out the components of your products and services that will solve their problem.
  4. Write sales copy or a script that explains how you can help them solve their problem.

This process is the basis of all successful businesses.

2) You need to be better and uniqueonline-business-stand-out-crowded-field-3

The second way to stand out is to be better than your competition. Think of yourself as the gold standard for what you do. What makes you unique? How do you help people in a way that others don’t? For example:

  • You might offer a unique service
  • You might offer more personalized service
  • You might charge less
  • You might have a unique skill

It helps to have clear Unique Selling Proposition (USP). Read my blog post, “Create a clear, powerful and concise message statement–your USP” for more information.

Spend some time thinking about what makes your product or service unique and better. Write it down. Put it on your website and in your sales copy. Make sure people know why you’re special!

How to promote yourself in a crowded market

When you niche down, your market isn’t as crowded. You can even position what you offer as completely unique, so people think that what you have isn’t available elsewhere.

Once you have gone through the process I described in this blog post, make sure that everything you write and say is in alignment with your quality and uniqueness. Go through your existing content and update it to match your new position.

Write and speak so that others hear what you have to say. Speaking is especially powerful for reaching and connecting to people. Read some of my posts about events and webinars here.

Would you like help in determining your niche? My 1-hour Consultation will coach you through this process. It costs $197 and I’ll make sure you get great value from our time together.

Purchase a 1-Hour Consultation here. You’ll immediately get a link to set up a convenient time for us to meet.

Are you trying to figure out your niche? How to stand out? Leave a comment and please share this post with others you know using the social media buttons below.

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    11 replies to "How to stand out in a crowded market"

    • Crissa Leigh

      You’re right. I need to define what my niche is and from there narrow my target market. Will try this first and see how I’ll move on from there. Thanks so much!

    • Fely Miel

      I’m just starting out my plan on building a business of my own and I need all the help I can get especially in knowing how to start and how eventually my business can stand out in the so-called crowded market. Glad to have stumbled upon your post. Hope it helps.

    • Mark Leighton

      Just a question… you said “You can even position what you offer as completely unique”… do I do this even if I know that what I’m offering is not really unique?

    • Ellen Finkelstein

      Hard to know without knowing what you offer, but try to find ways to make it unique. Maybe you combine elements that others offer into a unique package or offer more support along the way…

    • Jeremy Kragle

      So I guess I need to identify what my skills and knowledge really are… something that I’m really good at, then do a target market analysis. Thanks for this!

    • Billy Rey

      I didn’t realize how tedious it can be to decide to set up a business and make sure I get to attract the right target market. But I think after I go through the process you described, things will be a lot easier since I already know who I want to serve. Thanks for the tips!

    • Jennie Vee

      I’m a mom, I love to travel and I want to be an entrepreneur. I’d like to set up an online biz that targets people like me — a mom, traveler and wannabe entrepreneur. I’ve set up a blog and the posts there are usually personal based on my own experience as a momtraneur. Right now, I feel like I’m stuck on what to do next. I’d like to earn from my blog but I still don’t know how. Any tips for this kind of dilemma? I’d greatly appreciate it. Thanks!

    • Ellen Finkelstein

      Jennie, are your kids in school? If so, how do you travel? I’m just trying to get your market clear. What type of momtraneur are you targeting? There’s a huge WAHM community, so definitely join some groups and see what questions people are asking. Are there products you could recommend as an affiliate? What’s unique about your approach?
      I would definitely recommend that you grow an email list. So create a free offer that answers the main questions your moms have. Is it about time and balance? Is it about which business to do? Is it about technology? Ask around and focus on one thing for now–later you can have multiple offers for different groups of moms who have different problems.
      If you think coaching would help you, email me or use the Contact link and we can talk more.
      Good luck with your project!

    • Jennie Vee

      Hi Ellen,

      Thank you for replying. Those are very important questions that I need to think about some more. My kid is just a toddler, about 2 years old. Together with my hubby, we travel via land trip, or boat or plane just within the country and a few times abroad. I’m not yet exactly sure what kind of a momtraneur I am targeting. Maybe moms like me who love to travel locally or internationally with their babies/kids in tow and who are also entrepreneurs or wannabe entrepreneurs… basically someone like me.

      I am a member of a couple of WAHM FB pages but most of them are just that – they work from home and rarely travel. Many are full-time moms too. I will observe them more and see what questions/problems they have. This is really a good tip since I seldom spend time browsing their posts. Will also look into affiliate products that I can maybe recommend through my blog and social networks. About my approach, I still can’t say what’s unique about it. Maybe the fact that I want to target momtraneurs or wannabe momtraneurs who I think are not that many yet based on what I see on those mom pages I am a member of. I’ll observe some more.

      I will do that free offer like you said. I have a post about how to travel with a baby inclusive of checklist on what to bring and do. I think I can repurpose that as a free offer.

      I’ll do those for now. Thank you so much for these wonderful tips. I’ll definitely contact you if I think that coaching is the best route for me after this.

      Thanks again!

      Jennie Vee

    • Ellen Finkelstein

      Jennie, Traveling with young children is a good topic even for Moms who aren’t entrepreneurs. I think you can focus on that plus on WAHMs who just want to know how to balance their work and taking care of their children. So that’s 2 good target markets. Good luck! That checklist sounds fantastic!

    • Vince Arnone

      Hey Ellen, I think you’re smack on with this post. In the old days of SEO, there was the concept of match and exceed out there, it seems to have been lost recently. There are so many copy cats out there. The opportunity in the internet marketing space is actually growing for anyone who is willing to do two things:

      1. Think for themselves.
      2. Put in the work to stand out.

      Thanks for the great post.

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