“If you build it, they will come.”
This is the approach a lot of business owners take these days when starting their business.
Sure, they know that traffic is important. If no one comes in, no transaction can occur. That said, they often don’t have a strategy in place to market their business.
Especially when, these days, starting a business costs next to nothing.
Markets become crowded very quickly the moment someone finds a “gold mine”.
Everyone jumps on board, and more businesses selling the same thing start to pop up.
With everyone fighting over the same piece of the pie, few businesses ever survive the onslaught.
Don’t just take my word for it. Here are some numbers.
According to the Small Business Association (SBA):
20% of small businesses fail in their first year
30% fail in their second year
50% fail in the first five years, and…
and a whopping 66% fail in the first 10 years!
You might be thinking that 10 years isn’t too bad to be in business for that long. Just imagine slogging away for a decade, barely surviving…
Only to finally give up 10 years later with nothing to show for it.
2 out of 3 businesses owners go through that. Think about it. That’s insane!
Yet we still see many wide-eyed entrepreneurs jumping into the fray trying to compete in the bloody, red oceans of business.
What you need is to STAND OUT
Every business owner and marketer worth his salt would have read the book Blue Ocean Strategy by Renée Mauborgne and W. Chan Kim.
To summarize the key idea of the book, instead of trying to compete in the same niche or industry as those who come before you…
It is far better for businesses to carve out their own unique positioning in a blue ocean.
That’s not to say you have to come up with a brand new business idea.
All you have to do is differentiate.
When every car maker was talking about speed and reliability, Rolls Royce differentiated by the quietness of their engine.
While every other fizzy beverage is a soft drink. Coke is a “cola”. They were the first to create the category. Everyone else is just a copy.
Apple owned category as workstation for creatives. Every musician, designer, and artist uses a Mac.
In the words of Sally Hogshead,
“Different is better than better.”
While your competitors are trying to be better, faster, cheaper…
The one who is different wins.
Uber didn’t create a better taxi service. They did things differently.
AirBnb didn’t create a better apartment rental service. They also did things differently.
I can go on and on about examples of companies that thrived because they did things differently.
The question is HOW?
Good question. I wrote a 1.7k-word article on positioning before. Read this article (later).
For now, continue reading this article first. Right click and open that link in a new tab to read after this.
In this article I will explore the 5 things you need to sexify your product and make it stand out.
1. Entertaining, Engaging, and Persuasive Copy
Many business owners I’ve come across don’t see the value in good copy.
They think copy is just words and that they can write it themselves or hire a cheap writer to come up with something.
But the truth is, copywriters are worth their weight in gold.
A good copywriter can write persuasive copy that “hacks” the reader’s subconscious mind.
Through persuasive techniques, framing, and other ninja word skills, good copywriters can capture the hearts and minds of the reader and sell to them without them even knowing it.
Copywriters don’t just write content. They don’t write words to fill up an “about page” or a brochure.
They are able to draw the reader in and make them imagine a better life with your product.
They are able to make the reader desire and want your product NOW.
They are able to use the right words to differentiate your product from the other boring crap out there.
2. Relevant, Tasteful, and Solution-Oriented Design
Another “problem” that business owners make is that they don’t value good design.
There is a running joke among designers that everyone is a designer.
That’s because often when working with clients, the clients like to give advice on what looks good or not. Without understanding the process that goes into design.
See, aesthetics is one thing. Taste is one thing. Yes, looking good is important. Things like logos, websites, etc should all look good, no doubt.
But that’s a given. The more important aspect of design that most business owners don’t understand is the why.
Specifically, how does design increase sales or branding?
That’s the difference between good designers and amateurs.
The average designer can tell you about the golden ratio, zero-point perspectives, color psychology…
But a good designer will tell you about the functionality of design and how it can solve problems in your business.
Things like top-of-mind awareness, brand perception, and your target market.
As a business owner, that is a much better ROI than just nice looking designs with no purpose or function.
Sexifying your product is more than just using pretty looking designs and colors. Everyone is pretty. It’s how you stand out that’s important.
3. Good Digital UX/UI
What is user experience/user interface and why is it important?
Well, have you ever visited a business website that took forever to load? And after loading, you scrolled around for a good minute trying to find what you’re looking for. Finally finding it in some obscure link at a corner of the page?
That is bad user experience and design.
UX/UI is something many people take for granted. We visit websites and download apps expecting them to work seamlessly.
We expect them to be easy to navigate.
In short, good user experience (UX) is often not noticed. But a bad experience can mean your customer isn’t coming back.
People only remember the negative stuff. And that’s why they overlook the fact that a good experience needs a lot of thought put into it.
Take the Instagram app for example. When you load the app, you immediately see your timeline, stories at the top, and tabs at the bottom to navigate.
It seems like a no brainer, but I can assure you a lot of thought went into the placement of all the tabs and buttons.
Likewise, if your competitors give a better experience to their users while you don’t, chances are all your customers are going to choose them instead.
The more seamless your user experience, the more your customer will be compelled to explore your business and brand. The easier it is to stand out.
4. Photos and Videos that Tell Stories
Next, having quality photos and videos is important.
Little things like these say a lot about your brand and business. It shows when you don’t bother to invest in your own business.
Instead of using stock images or poorly taken product images, a good quality image can help make your product look great.
More than that, how do you use images to tell the story of your product.
An average photographer would probably take a photo of the product as the subject. But if you look at most big marketing campaigns, the products are usually not at the focus.
Rather, the story and the people using the products are the focus.
Take shampoo commercials for example. A boring product.
But when you tell the story of how the shampoo can make your hair soft and silky, people buy.
Why? Because that creates trust. People don’t want to be sold. They don’t want to keep seeing your product over and over if there’s no value.
But when you can entertain…
When you can sell without being salesy…
When you can tell visual stories…
That’s when people buy. That’s the purpose of photos and videos. Not just to show your product. Because trust me, your customer doesn’t care.
They only care about what your product can do for them. That’s how you make your boring products exciting.
5. Irresistible offer
And finally, the (arguably) most important thing to make your boring product exciting.
How you package it matters.
The offer is not just a discount of promotion. Rather, it’s what your customer gets when they buy the product or service.
There are many ways to skin a cat, and how you skin it makes or breaks your business.
What does your product do differently from your competitors?
What do they get when they buy, that they only can get from you?
What does it mean to buy your product? What does it say about them as a person?
What else do they get when they buy?
All these things make up your offer. And it’s important to communicate that through clear visuals and copywriting.
For example, selling a burger for $6.90 might seem a little pricey. But that’s not what McDonald’s sells.
They sell meals. A full meal consists of burger, fries, and drink.
And the offer is that for the price of $8, you get a full meal.
Instead of selling 3 different products separately, they craft an offer of 3 items in one.
Then there’s promotions where you can buy a full family bundle deal which has 4 burgers, 4 fries, 4 drinks, and a dessert for $29.90.
Again, a different offer. A different skin to sell the product: burgers.
Which of these are you already doing?
All? Or none of them?
Are you simply selling your product as is without thinking of how the customer perceives it?
How can you improve your customer buying experience so that you can grow your profits and sell more stuff?
These are questions that you should ask as a business owner.
If you found this article useful, and you want to find out how I can help you turn your boring products into best sellers (I’ve done it several times for businesses in “competitive” markets)…
I’d love to have a chat with you about your business. First strategy session is on the house.