How To Be Different From Everyone Else

mieces to pieces

I wrote recently about three business strategies you can use for your blogging. Out of the three strategies I looked at, the differentiation strategy lends itself best to bloggers.  In this article I’ll look at the benefits of being able to differentiate yourself from your competitors.

Why differentiate?

As a blogger, we’re fortunate that we’re in a business where we can differentiate our products or services from others.

Let’s pretend we all sell TV’s, and pretend for a moment that there’s only one brand and one model of TV available. If we’re all selling the same thing, why will someone buy their TV from you instead of from me?  There are two approaches you can take.

  1. Compete on price
  2. Offer something extra

Competing on price erodes your profits. If you try and sell at a lower price to me, but we’re both buying the TV at the same wholesale price, then your profit per sale could be lower than mine (although this also depends on your costs).

Another option is to offer something extra, preferably something no-one else offers. For a TV, maybe it’s free delivery or set-up. Maybe it’s extra cables. Or maybe you can create a service or product that’s unique to your business.

You’ll see a lot of internet marketers take this approach when they’re selling a high price product as an affiliate. If you look at all the big guru product launches this year, all the major affiliates offered bonuses as an incentive to buy through their link. They couldn’t control the price, so they offered a unique bonus that was only available through their link.

If you can differentiate yourself from your competitors by offering something of value, then price becomes less of an issue in the purchasing decision.

How To Differentiate

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll know that part of my business planning process looks at who your target market is, what their issues or concerns are, and how your product or service meets their needs.

The great thing about service-based businesses like blogging is that no-one delivers the same service the same way.

A great example is Dave Navarro and Jeff Walker, both of whom sell products about how to launch products. They’re teaching people to do the same thing, but both approach it differently – they’ve differentiated.

Blogging is a great platform for differentiation because most bloggers have their individual personalities and voices which come across in their blogs. This is the first step of differentiation.

The next step is taking your message and making it unique to you. You want to blog about making money online? That’s fine, just do it differently to everyone else out there.

Have a good look at what your competitors are doing (or not doing) and see what opportunities exist in the marketplace.

How I Differentiate My Blog

I’ve chosen to target my blog at a specific target market – bloggers who want to turn their blog into a viable online business.

The make money online world is very crowded with lots of people saying the same things. I don’t feel it’s worthwhile trying to compete with such a broad market. For a while I looked at helping people who were involved in any form of internet marketing and wanted to build a sustainable business for themselves, but again that space is very crowded and it’s hard to stand out from the crowd.

I’ve decided it’s best to focus on helping bloggers implement business strategy ideas from the offline world that are proven to work.  There’s enough people out there who need my help, so the size of the market isn’t a problem.

And there’s not too many people out there who offer the service I offer.

I’m not about teaching people how to do Pay Per Click advertising, or how to do article marketing or podcasting. Those are all strategies I use with people, but they’re not the service I’m offering.

The service I offer is advice based on my years of experience as a financial planner and business coach. No-one else has the background that I have. This doesn’t mean that no-one else can do the things I do, it just means that I’ll do it differently to others.

Benefits of Differentiation

Differentiation helps you stand out from the crowd by offering something unique.

And when you offer something unique, the price becomes less relevant. And another thing happens – it becomes harder to compare your product or service to someone else’s.  Think back to the TV example. When we’re selling the same thing, it’s easier to compare offers – it’s primarily based on price.

When you sell something unique that no-one else offers, it’s harder to compare.

And differentiation helps you become an authority in your field. In the financial planning industry there are scores of examples of planners who specialise in one niche.  When a journalist is looking for comment on a topic specific to that niche, those planners get the phone calls.  You can do the same with your blogging. Become famous for something that no-one else is doing.

How Are You Different?

So what makes you different? Think hard about this to make sure it really is something that makes you different.

In the financial planning world a lot of planners tell me they differentiate their services by offering tailored advice. The problem with this is that everyone says they offer that, so it becomes something that’s expected, not something unique. Maybe you have a unique way to deliver that tailored advice – that could be a point of differentiation.

In the retail sector you can differentiate by offering different products i.e. a fruit shop offering locally grown produce as a way to differentiate itself from the larger supermarkets.

As a blogger you can differentiate by offering unique content, products and services.

How do you differentiate? Leave a comment below and let’s talk about different strategies we can use to stand out from the crowd.

Creative Commons License photo credit: the sea the sea

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Allan lives in Adelaide, South Australia with his wife and two boys. He is the founder of Blogger Business Plan and loves helping bloggers learn how to transform their blogs from hobbies into sustainable businesses.
When he's not blogging or working in his financial planning business, you'll find Allan playing guitar, reading or coaching his son's soccer team.

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7 Responses to How To Be Different From Everyone Else
  1. Fernando
    December 13, 2010 | 11:23 pm

    I agree, in this world where there are so many blogs, being unique and different is the key to success.
    But I also think we can take at any level in life.
    Hope to see you around!

  2. Ishan
    December 16, 2010 | 12:45 am

    Well, being different is one of the most important things. If you have something different from the crowd, your first step is already correct.
    Being different also help in developing a Unique Selling Point to impress and attract readers!

    • Allan Ward
      December 16, 2010 | 9:39 am

      Hi Ishan,

      Yep, being different is so important. So is making sure you can communicate that difference.

      Thanks for commenting.


  3. Shaun
    December 19, 2010 | 7:18 pm

    Hey Allan,

    This is something I have been thinking a lot about lately. Finding a USP can be tough online because of the shear number of people using this medium. I think it ultimately comes down to doing what you know and love and believing in yourself because it is easy to get intimidated with so many people already offering such great content and services. The good part is that there are lots of ways to do this and like you say, you just need to find a way to be different.

  4. GutsyWriter
    March 13, 2011 | 4:41 am

    Do you think it’s easier for bloggers who don’t sell a product, but who are trying to build a platform to differentiate themselves? If so why? I am trying to do that through being Gutsy and motivating, mainly 40+ to take risks. Not sure if that’s differentiating enough, but I’m being “me.”

    • Allan Ward
      March 16, 2011 | 4:25 pm

      Hi Sonia, Thanks for the comment.

      I think it’s easier for bloggers to differentiate themselves because every blog post you write reveals a bit more of who you are and what you believe in. Blogging gives us the chance to be ourselves and show our readers what we’re like.

      I think that the best path is to blog for a while and discover your ‘voice’ and then build your product offerings around that (if you want to release products). I see too many people who say that they blog, but all they’re doing is promoting other people’s affiliate products. That’s not a good long term strategy!

      I don’t know about you, but there are some blogs I read regularly, where I feel like I know the blogger well, despite never even meeting them. This is a worthy goal for a blogger to aspire to.

  5. How To Make $100,000 Online By Blogging
    March 17, 2011 | 5:51 am

    […] consulting or group training. This is more specialised to the individual needs and allows you to differentiate your product more. Because it’s more differentiated, it becomes more valuable to your clients […]

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