6 ways you can make your online business stand out from the crowd
With more and more businesses going online over the past couple of years, it is crucial that your business does not get lost in the crowd. Consumers are presented with a variety of options to choose from, so they won’t notice your business unless it really stands out from other similar online businesses out there.

Here are 6 ways to make your online business stand out.

1. Fill the Gap

No matter which area your online business specializes in, there are going to be other businesses out there doing the exact same thing. Analyze your competitors (other similar established businesses) and check out what they’re doing. Look at their site design, blog content, social media updates, and out what kind of information and support they are providing.

When you do this kind of preliminary research, you will find some things that they are missing out on. Once you identify the gaps, you can fill it in through your business. This works for business ideas as well. If you can identify some crucial area that other businesses are not addressing, your business can cover that area, and you will become the go-to person in that specific area.

For example, PicMonkey was a huge hit as an online image editing tool. But when Canva came along, they offered something that PicMonkey didn’t – readymade image layouts. You only need to add the text and image to an existing layout, and your graphic is done!

Canva Layout
Canva identified a gap in PicMonkey’s service, and created an easy solution to fill the void. Quite a few PicMonkey fans actually started using Canva once it came out.

When we did our initial research for Clothed In Scarlet, we realized that there weren’t many sites that shared in-depth articles, and step by step articles on starting an online business. So, that’s what we focus on here!

Find out the gaps in other businesses in your niche. Then create content, products or services to fill that void. Pretty soon, you will find yourself soaring above the crowd.

2. Be Excellent

Excellence is not a skill. It is an attitude. – Ralph Marstonto

An effective way to stand out among your peers is by being excellent at what you do. Give your readers, your clients, your audience your best. Make sure you always provide quality over quantity.

Rather than blogging five mediocre posts a week, opt to write just one or two articles with solid content that will really be useful for your readers.

Instead of trying to churn out several products in a short time, choose to launch only a few products that are of very high quality. If you’re providing a service, take on only a few clients at a time so you can concentrate on giving them your best service.

Quantity is important, but it will do your business no good if the quantity compromises the quality. No matter what your business provides, work with the goal of helping people, rather than just making money. Providing excellence means so much more than meeting your profit goals for the year.

As a side note, I must mention that excellence is not to be confused with perfectionism. When we try to be excellent, our perfectionist streak comes out in full force. Instead of focusing on the important things, we start stressing on the trivial ones. If you start stressing about the non-essentials, it will suck your time and your energy.

So, strive for excellence (and not perfection) if you want to be a cut above the rest.

3. Get Personal

Despite the highly technical age we’re living in, it’s the personal touch that can make your business stand out from others. Start connecting with your audience on a personal level by reaching out to them.

Interact with them on social media, respond to emails, answer questions… But don’t just stop there. Take it a step further and find other ways to talk to them.

If at all possible, meet in real life, or chat over a Skype call. Build up a personal rapport with your audience. You can’t obviously interact with every single person in your audience, but you can try to do it with those who are really engaged with your business.

It is said that you need only 1000 true fans to have a successful business.

A creator, such as an artist, musician, photographer, craftsperson, performer, animator, designer, videomaker, or author – in other words, anyone producing works of art – needs to acquire only 1,000 True Fans to make a living. – Kevin Kelly

But rather than thinking of that 1000 as a whole, start with just one person and build it up from there. Soon you’ll have a vibrant community of followers who are really interested in you as a person, and what you can offer them through your business.

4. Deliver More

People expect a business to do what it promises. But when you go above and beyond, and deliver more than what is expected, you will have a special place in their hearts.

When you have a genuine desire to help people through your business, you will do it with generous heart. Some ways you can deliver more through your business are:

  • Offer freebies without an email subscription.
  • Give away a free consultation or eBook without expecting anything in return.
  • Be ready to answer questions from readers.
  • If you’re offering a service, invest a little extra time to teach and equip your client.
  • Offer a little bonus in your paid products that are not advertised on your sales page.

I try to do this in Clothed In Scarlet by offering free simple downloads, in-depth blog series, and step by step tutorials. And let me tell you, the joy I get when a reader comments on how helpful an article was, is unrivaled.

When you start your business from scratch, your audience doesn’t really know you. But when you offer a helping hand, and go the extra mile, they start connecting with you as a person, and are more likely to do business with you.

5. Create a Pattern

When your business is fairly new, people don’t know what to expect from you. But if you work consistently and create a pattern, it builds some sort of familiarity with your audience.

PicMonkey releases new features (free and premium) every once in a while, that are always a big hit with regular users. At Clothed In Scarlet, we offer freebies, resources, and in-depth blog series that are helpful to our audience. That is what I want my audience to associate with my site.

When you consistently provide similar content and reinforce a pattern, your audience knows what to expect from you.

Another example is the online Bible studies at Love God Greatly.

Love God Greatly
Regular readers know what to expect during an ongoing study. They will be provided with a reading plan, study guide, 3 blog posts each week, a video, a memory verse, and a challenge.

When you build a pattern with the content, service, or product you provide, people start associating you with it. This in turn positions you as an authority in your niche, and people know they can count on you.

6. Provide Answers

Everybody has questions, and you have the means to answer those that fall within the purview of your business. Whether it is through blog posts, a series of emails, a product, or a freebie, try to answer questions that most people have with regard to your area of expertise.

Given that I specialize in online marketing, it was only natural that I create in-depth tutorials here at Clothed In Scarlet. Some of my step by step guides for MailChimp, MadMimi, and Pinterest Rich Pins have proven to be quite popular.

You can actually break down a complex question, and give your audience simple solutions that they never would have thought of. When you start demystifying complicated things for them, your audience will start looking to you for all their answers.

In closing, I must request you not to overwhelm yourself with everything presented in this article. Yes, these are 6 very effective ways you can make your online business stand out. But you only need to concentrate on a couple of them for your business.

Find out which of these strategies will be ideal for your business niche and your audience. Factor in the time you can invest and the resources you have on hand, and then make a plan to implement them.

Today’s Challenge: Pick just one or two strategies from the list above and create an implementation plan for your business.

Don’t forget to leave a comment below with the strategies you’ve chosen! One person who comments on all the posts in this series will get to win a $25 Amazon gift card!

Click on the image below to access all the posts in this series!

Get Intentional with Your Online Business blog series