Blue umbrellas and 1 orange umbrella



No matter where you do business, you will likely be faced with competitors. Competition even comes in the form of online vendors. But in many cases, people like the experience of working with someone they know and trust within their own community. If that’s the case, you have a golden opportunity to build your customer base by doing things differently than your competitors. Here are a few ideas and examples of how you can be the vendor of choice. 

Give customers a memorable experience. Consumers have increasingly high expectations when it comes to buying a product or service. Go beyond expectations to offer them a memorable experience. Even if your service is quite simple, you will gain popularity if you treat them like royalty. If you offer a cleaning service, do something extra, such as including fresh flowers on the kitchen table or a mint on their pillow. They will be sure to tell a friend. 

Add something extra to your product. Sometimes, customers are searching for a product that looks extra special. They can definitely find basic supplies anywhere, like clothing or food, but it’s exciting when they can get something with a brand new twist. Do you sell cupcakes? Make them extra special by offering special packaging or gift-wrapping. Do you sell pet clothing? Offer an embroidery service to add the pet name to each outfit. Small changes make a big difference. 

Focus on a niche. With technology and innovation offering so many choices to consumers, it’s challenging to offer something that is completely new. Instead, focus on marketing it to a specific segment of the population. For instance, if you own a spa, why not market your services to nurses and other caregivers. They spend their lives tending to others, and they would appreciate it to have someone take care of them.  

Put a new spin on your product. Most products are known for having a particular use. But what if you created a campaign to promote a brand new way to use your product. For example, skin lotion is for curing dry skin. However, some brands have cross-promoted their lotion as having ingredients that ward off mosquitoes. Similarly, wax candles are not only good for lighting up a room, they can also be promoted as a way to add glide to sticky zippers or sliding doors. This dual purpose may help you to increase sales. 

Start a dialogue. Social media is a very effective way to show what you have to offer and create excitement about your product or service. Just about every business uses social media to promote their product or service. But why not try something a little different. If you have a physical location, set up a station where people can write notes about a positive experience working with you. That’s an old-fashioned idea that can be made new again. 

Add a human touch. In this age of technology, people are bombarded with computer-generated messages. Although it may be more efficient to use standard email responses to common questions, add a few personal touches. You may want to wish them a nice weekend, or ask how they are enjoying a recent purchase. Increasing human interactions are an effective way to build brand loyalty.

Want to learn more about promoting your business? Check out our free online course, “Marketing”.

If you’re ready to take the next step, book a meeting with an experienced Business Advisor at Small Business Centres Ontario. We have 54 offices across Ontario.  Working with a Business Advisor means you are not alone and that you can get help to build your plan.  Find a location near you.