A few days ago I wrote about a Polish entrepreneur who started a business helping people who need a safe place to “hulk out” and smash things.
And I said that the genius of his idea is how it taps into an existing mass desire.
Which prompts a question from Felix:
I love this idea, Josh. The mental block that I can't seem to get over is: if you're tapping into a mass desire and presenting your product as the provider to the mass desire, are there issues with differentiation?
For example, if I run a site to help ecommerce stores grow their traffic and sales, the mass desire I'm tapping into is the desire for freedom (from the 9 to 5) and to take control of your life financially. If all the other sites out there recognize that this is the mass desire, how do I differentiate myself from the competition?
Felix is exactly right.
Sure, there was some lucky alpha caveman millennia ago who figured out that he had to do to collect mounds and mounds of mastodon meat was promise the beta cavenerds that he could give them massive biceps.
THAT guy had no competition. But as soon as a couple of his newly minted cave bros caught on to his racket, that monopoly was over.
And ever since, anyone who wants to go into the fitness market faces TONS of competition.
It's the same for other markets like career advice, skin care, pool installation, and yes, it's especially true of the marketing market.
And if your competitors have been in business more than a few weeks, they probably have a pretty good idea which mass desires most appeal to their customers.
So how do you make your business stand out?
Here are a few options:
Make bigger claims. This is usually the first thing that happens in a new market. Felix comes along and promises that if you work with him, someday you'll be able to sing “Take this Job and Shove It” as you walk out the door for the last time. Then someone else comes along, and promises that with HIS approach, you'll be able to quit your job in 90 days. Then it's 30 days, and 7 days, and overnight. And now no one believes it anymore.
Create a new “mechanism.” In copywriting, the mechanism is the thing that makes your product work. For Felix, the mechanism might be social media, or SEO, or email marketing. You stand out by saying, “Everyone else is promoting these old techniques that don't work anymore. What I do is different because my approach is new and better.”
Niche yourself down. This is especially a good option for brand new businesses, but it can work for everyone. If Felix has some special experience with ecommerce in the pet niche, he could specialize and only work in this one niche. Now instead of competing against every other ecommerce traffic guy, he becomes the only logical choice for a small group of businesses.
Tell stories. Even when people in your market have heard everything and don't believe the promises anymore, telling a compelling story will make your claims vivid and believable. This can and should start with your own story. I have a client who coaches Amazon private label sellers, and his story is how failed over and over to start profitable businesses before eventually discovering how to build a 7-figure income on Amazon. The arc of his story isn't unique, but the details and personality he brings to the table are.
Differentiating yourself like this isn't easy, but it's easily the #1 most important thing in your marketing.
For a deep dive on these strategies, I highly recommend “Breakthrough Advertising” by Eugene Schwartz.
Some say it's a tough read. It's definitely not cheap, and it's getting hard to find again.
Last I checked there are still a few copies available here: