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.
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.
- Compete on price
- 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.
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