You're a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed graphic designer set on succeeding as a solopreneur. Then you do a search for "graphic designer" and see about 13,300,000 results.
Getting a sinking feeling? Swallow down that anxiety with a Red Bull and take heart, because you've got what it takes to make your small business succeed. You just have to figure out your unique selling proposition: the thing that sets you apart and can draw customers from the competition.
You know your own business backwards and forwards, which is a perfect start. Now it's time to roll up your sleeves and get to know the competition. When you understand the services, audience, special offers, and marketing tactics of your top rivals, you can avoid overlap and find ways to top what others are doing.
Find your Unique Selling Proposition in 4 Simple Steps
1. Define standout services.
Even in a crowded market, you can shine. Offer something that others don't. Be better than everyone else in a valuable niche. Or be so flexible that you're always a viable provider of a wide range of services. Maybe against a sea of anime-style illustrators, you can offer top-notch realism.
Maybe you can sketch, ink, and color, while others can only do one of those things and have to outsource the rest. Even being able to deliver in less time than a competitor can make the difference.
2. Know your audience.
Audience demographics, including gender, age, location, and income can all matter to your success. Some parts of the audience may be over-served, while other parts might have unmet demand.
Research your competition to learn who they focus on and what their taglines are. Reach out to the neglected demographics through
and on topic-specific online forums off the beaten path.
3. Be deliberate and honest.
Your presence, as seen in your
and seller pages, should reflect professionalism that people will trust. But you should also be fearless about showing who you are personally, because everybody truly is unique. Don't force your voice and presentation to fit the pattern of countless other competitors.
If you have a bold sense of fun or an offbeat idea for a portfolio, embrace it. It's one of the easiest ways to show a casual visitor that you can be innovative and different.
4. Make compelling offers.
Now that you know your customers and how your contemporaries speak to them, it's time to look carefully at the sales process. How are your successful competitors capturing attention and making sales before people lose focus and wander away? You don't have to undervalue your talents to compete, but you should think about what kind of offer would entice
to switch away from a vendor you already believe in to try something new. Price and speed of delivery are always good battlegrounds. You can also offer package deals and quantity discounts that make a bigger, long-term commitment to your services more appealing.
You don't have to completely alter your business in order to change the way others see you. As you study your competitors, you'll naturally see the ways they're clumping around certain services or customers, and where there's extra room for your genius.
Always be ready to take a chance and try new ideas as you think about your
unique selling proposition
. You never know what untapped audience is waiting to reward you. And if you're well-and-truly stumped, or are worried that the changes you're making might hurt more than they help, hire a Fiverr doer to help you figure out what makes you special.
When did you first discover your unique selling proposition? How have you grown to protect your advantage against competitors? Share your experience in the comments below.