How to Stand Out From the Crowd (Part 1 of 2)
Updated: Nov 17
Most marketing messages are bland, timid, and ineffective. To stand out from the crowd, you need to craft a direct, focused, and clear message that grabs the attention of your target market.
Many quilt shop owners I speak with feel like marketing is like playing the slot machines. It's random, but they win every once in a while, which keeps them coming back. Or they have been told they need to do it but don’t know a better way to do it.
Your marketing should be more like a vending machine—you put money in and know exactly what you'll get back in return. Your marketing efforts should have predictable results.
To start marketing purposefully, ask these two questions:
What is the purpose of this ad/email/flyer/social media post/etc.?
What does it focus on?
If you focus on more than one objective, your marketing collateral will be ineffective. If something in the marketing content is not helping you achieve your goal, remove it (including your logo or company name). Advertising space is valuable; use it effectively.
Sales pitches constantly bombard us. Rather than try to sell anything, provide a way for your prospects to raise their hand indicating interest. This lowers their resistance and helps you build a marketing database—one of the most valuable assets in your quilt shop.
Once you have a single, clear objective, you need to communicate it. You must Tell your prospects exactly what you want them to do next. Do they visit your website to request a free sample or get a free pattern? Do they schedule a call with you? You need a direct, clear call to action. Saying things like “Learn more,” “Don't hesitate to call,” or “Please visit our website” are vague and ineffective. Tell them what to do next and what to expect next.
If possible, it is best to give your prospects multiple ways to take that action. For example, if your call to action is to get a free pattern, provide them with the choice to get it online, request it via email, or call to request it. This allows them to choose what they are most comfortable with.
This type of marketing messaging, often referred to as direct response marketing, focuses heavily on your target market's needs, thoughts, and emotions. It will resonate more deeply with your prospects, and your ad will stand out from the 99 percent of other ads.
Know precisely what you want your ad to achieve and the action you want your prospects to take.
You need to be different to further make your marketing resonate with your target market and ideal customers. Most quilt shops don’t have a reason to exist beyond survival and paying the owner's bills if they are lucky. Because of this, when you take away their name and logo, they blend right in with all of the other quilt shops. From a customer’s perspective, there is no compelling reason to shop at one store over another beyond price.
If you haven’t first clarified why your quilt store exists and why people should buy from you rather than the nearest competitor, marketing will be an uphill battle.
You need to figure out what makes you different. This has been called many things, from your additional factor or differentiating factor to your unique selling proposition. But you need to figure it out, and this is where most quilt shop owners get stuck.
Some do have it figured out. Coffee businesses are a great example. Coffee ranges from $1 to $7 or more, depending on the store. Why is that? Bottled water is another example. How is one bottle so much more valuable than another? The actual products haven’t changed much between them, but coffee and water brands often have loyal customers.
Your different factor aims to answer why a customer should buy from you over your competitor.
A good test to see if you have found your different factor is to remove your company name and logo, then answer the question, do people still know that it’s you, or could it be anyone?
Your different factors should not be “high quality” or “great service.” First, quality and excellent service are already the expectations—it’s standard practice for every business. Second, people only learn about your quality and excellent service after buying from you. A good different factor is designed to attract people before they’ve made a purchase.
You want them to be comparing apples to oranges. Price is the deciding factor if a customer can compare apples to apples.
There are two questions to ask to help you develop your different factors:
Why should they buy?
Why should they buy from you?
The answers to these questions should not be “We’re the best,” “We have the best customer service,” or “We have the best prices.” These are too generic.
Your different factor must not be in the products or services you sell. Your different factor could be how it is packaged, delivered, supported, or sold.
Once you determine your different factors, you can be like Apple and have lines of people waiting overnight to do business with you instead of going to a competitor.
It would be best if you got into your prospects’ heads. What do they want? It’s rarely the thing you are selling, but it’s usually the result of the item you are selling. We start by identifying a target market and creating an ideal customer avatar.
For example, people don’t buy insurance; they buy peace of mind or security.
Your different factors should be based on the result your prospects want.
Stop Playing the Price Game
When selling a commodity like fabric, you need to be remarkable. But how? By doing something differently. Different atmosphere. Different packaging. Different bundles. Differences in the way that you display your products—different anything.
Whatever you do, you should not compete on price. There will always be someone else out there willing to go out of business faster than you. I recommend that you don’t play that game. And selling some things, sometimes cheaper, is not compelling.
A better option to sell on price is to increase the value of your offering. Different bundling. Different add-on services. Different customization options. Most other things you can do, offer, or provide will cost you very little.
Don’t play the price game. Develop your different factors and deliver on them. Make your ideal customer compare apples to oranges; you’ll win every time.
How To Discover Your Different Factor
Creating an elevator pitch is a great way to help you pin down your different factors. An elevator pitch is a concise, well-rehearsed summary of your business and its value proposition, which can be delivered during an elevator ride or in 30 to 90 seconds.
Yes, this is a cheesy trick you may never actually use, but it clarifies your message and pinpoints your different factors. Good marketing is always customer and problem/solution-focused. Bad marketing is feature and product-focused. Good marketing takes your prospect on a journey, from a problem to a solution, and finally proof.
Here is a simple yet effective way to formulate your elevator pitch:
You know [problem]? Well, what we do is [solution]. In fact, [proof].
For example, You know how quilt shop owners struggle with money? Well, what we do is provide a cash management system to help them piece together financial freedom. It's the same system we used in our quilt shop to get out of debt and turn our store around.
Or, do You know how long it takes to get your quilt top quilted? Months, right? Well, what we do is edge-to-edge longarm quilting with a quick turnaround, so quilters don’t have to worry about giving their quilts late. In fact, we had a customer just the other day call and thank us for returning her quilt to her in time for a baby shower.
Or, You know how new quilters never have the time or skill set to design and create a beautiful quilt? Well, what we do is provide beautifully designed pre-cut kits with free video instructions, making it super easy and fast to create a beautiful quilt. In fact, over the last few weeks, a customer was so excited about our kits and how quick and easy they were to quilt that she kept coming back each week for a new kit to quilt.
To stand out from the crowd, talk to your ideal customer avatar (we discussed in our last blog) and be direct, focused, and clear about what you want them to do. The better you understand your target market, the more predictable your marketing efforts will be.
What’s your different factor? What is your elevator pitch? Tell me in the comments below or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you need help with this and piecing together financial freedom, please schedule a call with me by clicking the link below.