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You followed time-honored online marketing techniques to the letter: you have a great web site, the site has a high search engine rank, and you created a compelling marketing message that showcases your unique selling proposition. Unfortunately, your competitors are reading the same playbook and are implementing the same marketing strategies. The net result is that a potential customer found your web site, but also found the sites of your most savvy competitors. How can you get a marketing edge in this situation?

Distinguishing your business from the competition is essential for growing your customer base. Here are three techniques that will give your business crucial marketing sparkle:

1. Distinguish your web site. Many entrepreneurs get a web site template and content from their parent company and use it as-is, without modifying anything at all. Since all of the representatives get exactly the same site template from the parent company, how are you different from all of the other representatives? There is nothing wrong with either the template or the content, and it is perfectly acceptable to use a cookie-cutter web site for selling to your existing customer base. However, to attract new customers, you must distinguish your business.

2. Provide superior customer service. Your customers might not be ready to buy the first time they visit your web site, but they are likely to have questions or concerns about your products or services. Make time to reply to their questions within 24 hours so that you can showcase your customer service. If you are not paying attention to them when they are potential customers, how much attention will they get once they are actual customers? Note that you must provide excellent post-sale customer service as well — stellar pre-sale service that becomes non-existent after the payment has been processed is a great way to lose the customer you just acquired. Customer retention should be the cornerstone of your business strategy — acquiring a new customer is an order of magnitude more expensive that retaining an existing customer.

3. Have a clear and simple message. How many times have you met someone during a networking event, heard their 2 minute speech about their business, and still had no idea about what they were promoting? Worse yet, how many times have you visited a web site and had absolutely no idea what the web site was promoting? Do you know how to “leverage synergy of client-centered intellectual capital to achieve strategic dominance in the interactive state-space”? Neither do we. Make sure your web site states clearly what you offer and how to order your products. (We recently spent several minutes on a site wondering where the “buy” button was). If you offer a wide variety of products or services, list a few of the most popular ones on top-level pages, and link to additional items. It is better to tell your customers about two products and have them remember what they were than to tell them about 2,378 products and have them remember none.

Distinguishing your business from the competition is essential when you are marketing to potential clients. It will mean the difference between closing a sale and losing that sale to a competitor.

Biana Babinsky teaches business owners how to get more clients and
make more money online. Biana is the author of Complete Step by
Step Online Marketing Course
, the how-to guide to marketing
your business online. Subscribe to her free Effective Online Marketing
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This Sales & Marketing article was written by Biana Babinsky on 10/7/2005

Biana Babinsky helps coaches, consultants, virtual assistants and other solopreneurs create passive income streams and get more clients online. Biana is the author of Complete Step by Step Online Marketing Course, a how-to guide to market your business online. Go to to subscribe to her newsletter full of marketing tips and ideas.