3 ways to set your brand apart
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Last time we spoke on the reason why specificity is really your brand’s best friend. Now, I want to share with you three ideas you can consider when trying to figure out just how you can set your brand, your site, and even your Instagram account apart from the crowd. Spoiler alert: it’s all about how you can use specificity to your advantage.
1. Niche yourself down…
I’m sure you’re tired of hearing this word. Heck, I’m tired of figuring out what the correct pronunciation of the word is – “Is it ‘nitch’ or ‘neesh’?!” Side note: I spent an afternoon just Googling the correct pronunciation and it turns out this a total to-may-toe vs. to-mah-toe situation, seriously. In other words, they’re both right and my brain doesn’t appreciate it.
But hear me out…
This is listed as the very first tip because you can’t really build a successful business without it and if you plan to hire a designer, it’s a must-have. Your niche is your foundation and will inform you of how you can be specific elsewhere in your brand. Sure, you can try a broad approach but chances are your business will never really get any footing or the universe will decide your niche for you.
Doesn’t sound fun does it?
To set your brand apart, you first have to settle on who exactly you’re targeting.
And for many of you, I’d suggest going one step further and focusing on a micro-niche. A micro-niche is essentially a niche within a niche. For instance, let’s say you are a shoe designer. Your niche can be women’s shoes and your micro-niche can be women’s running shoes. Maybe you’re a coach or consultant. In that case, the niche you might want to target is relationships and your micro-niche can be Millenials sick of the dating scene.
Yes, this can really narrow your business but when you focus on who exactly you serve and speak to them specifically (there’s that word…) then your conversions will likely be higher. This isn’t to say that you’re excluding everyone else. In actuality, your dream clients will find you so much more easily amidst the crowd.
So, how do you nail down your micro-niche? Ask yourself these questions to start:
- Who do I most want to serve?
- What am I regularly asked advice for that puts a smile on my face?
- What can I talk about for easily 20 minutes at a dinner party?
- Is this something someone would pay for? Would I pay for it?
Obviously, there are several other things you can consider (e.g. Google Trends) but this is a great place to start.
2. Infuse your personality with your brand
The second way to get specific and set your brand apart from the crowd is by bringing your personality to the table. Now, this can take us in a lot of different avenues and brand/site designers are much better equipped in how to do this using color theory and psychology. BUT! What I want you to focus on is your copywriting – a.k.a. the words on your site and even the words in your Instagram captions.
It’s shocking to me how many creatives (and designers!) I’ve heard share stories of how their copy was stolen and placed onto someone else’s site. Talk about nightmare. You wrack your brain for hours upon hours and someone just swoops in and uses your work without so much as a credit? Ugh…
Here’s the thing, when I’ve gone to those designers’ sites, I noticed a lot of them had a similar issue. Their copy was pretty, er, generic.
Stay with me now…
What I mean is: their copy didn’t reflect their personality. I never got a sense of who they are as people. A lot of it seemed like a general description of what they do or reiterated common tropes like, “Your brand is more than a logo.”
Therein lies the problem: their voice is missing. That one thing that is guaranteed to be impossible for someone to duplicate – our essence – was on hiatus. If your copy is lacking the spark that is called YOU, you might wind up having to deal with sending cease and desist letters to a site owner who may be less than responsive.
What can you do about it?
In short, your blog posts, service details, Instagram captions, etc. should sound like you. It should read similarly to how you speak. This is a simple and albeit, surprisingly difficult thing to master.
My favorite way of writing copy that sounds like me is to actually step away from the computer and just talk it out loud. Take it one step further and record it. Pretend that one of your closest friends or better yet, pretend your dream client is in the room – how would you word what you do? If you tried explaining your blog topic over a coffee chat, how might it sound?
Of course, this can take quite a bit of brain power and time and if those aren’t resources you’re willing to spend, I suggest that you hire a copywriter. Below are a handful of talented ladies I’d recommend (or who were recommended to me):
note: I am not receiving any sort of commission by sharing these amazing copywriters with you.
3. Optimizing that Opt-in
How’s your opt-in converting? Do you even have one?
A lot of creatives know that building an email list is incredibly important but in doing so, they either get overwhelmed and put it off (indefinitely) or they share a somewhat vague message to try to woo people to join their list.
I’m sure you’ve seen this sort of headline or you might actually have it yourself:
Opt in to my list to receive updates and inspiration!
Listen, I’m sure those updates and inspiration are nice and there is value in that. An opt-in message such as the one above, definitely can work in a secondary area (e.g. in your footer) but for a main opt-in, it just isn’t strong enough.
When crafting our opt-in we have to consider, how can I build a sense of urgency? The easiest way to do this is – you guessed it – by being specific.
What specifically will they get out of it? What value can you share with them that they can put into action now? When you’re giving visitors something specific and your messaging details exactly what they can hope to expect, your opt-in rates will improve.
Skeptical? Let me share an example.
You visit Moo.com and you see one of the two following options:
Which one do you think you’d like take advantage of? The free shipping right?!
Moo’s giving you a specific offer that can be of value to you as soon as that very day. Whereas with the other example, business card inspiration is nice and all but it’s something you can probably Google or head to Pinterest for. You don’t need to sign up for it and you’ll probably feel like it’s safe to miss out.
The FOMO is not strong with that one…
Now, don’t get me wrong. This isn’t about manufacturing a sense of urgency or trying to manipulate people with a phony “get it while it lasts!” attitude. It is about providing something your dream client just can’t walk away from.
And there you have it! Three ways you can help set your brand apart from the internet crowd by being specific::
- Pick a micro-niche
- Get copy that is as unique as you
- Create a sense of urgency with your opt-in
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