How to stand out in a busy marketplace

We are living, working and trading in the age of the ‘attention economy.’ 

Over the years we’ve seen society move away from a material-based economy of tangible trade and sin person experiences to a significant increase in the amount of information, services and products available to us online, at any given moment.

We no longer have that one trusted brand or provider that we use for our every day needs and wants but instead are bombarded with options as to where to get it cheaper, who is doing it better and multiple opinions as to why we should choose one brand over another. 

Each time we go online we are selling our attention to the businesses and brands that are desperate to acquire us as a new customer, prompting us to return to their business or convincing us that we need more of what they have to sell.

It’s no wonder then that many small businesses and brands are struggling with engagement, reach and customer conversions in businesses right now.  We are up against millions of businesses flooding the internet to win the attention of potential customers, most of which are backed by millions of dollars of marketing budgets and teams of people studying how to do it better. 

Whilst we can’t help but compete in the online attention game, there are some perks and ways in which you can still stand out in the market place to better attract more paying customers into your business even if you are a small business, creative entrepreneur or freelancer.

Here are a few things I’d suggest:

  1. Don’t be noisy. As the battle for people’s attention increases so does our capacity to process, consume and focus on the reasons why we might have gone online in the first place. Information overload can easily cause people to tap out all together due to decision fatigue. Instead of adding to the noise for the sake of it, choose your content and messaging wisely. Contribute content with a clear purpose and intention so as to help your audience to make an informed decision that they will ultimately feel good about. Rather than just vying for their attention in order to feed your own ego of likes, engagement and reach, show up with a something of value. Your business should exist to be of service to your audience who is looking for a solution to their problem or a way to add value to their lives, not to make you look/feel good. 
  2. Reveal more about your brand. A great deal of my business coaching clients share their blockages and struggles with knowing what to post, when to post and on what platform. When planning out your content strategy start with the basics, what do you do? Who do you do it for? And how will it help? What values do you hold as business owner and who are you seeking to serve? Break it down into pieces of content that will help your audience to decide if you are the right brand/business/solution for them. Once you’re clear on the information that they will need to get to know you and your offering, decide what platform they would prefer to consume this on e.g mailing list, IG, podcast, blog, flyer etc and get to work on delivering a clear and informative message that will help them to trust in you and your business/brand.
  3. Get to the point. No one likes a long winded explanation and as out attention spans are diminishing, your job is to deliver a clear and concise message before distractions kick in. Take some time to consider the tone of voice that is authentic to you.  This will make writing captions, blogs and emails a whole lot easier as you won’t be trying to be someone that you’re not. By determining the tone in which you want to communicate to your audience, based on what you are selling and who it is for, you can build content pillars that will showcase ‘what you stand for and why you’re the best fit for their needs. It’s not about you. 
  4. Build rapport. Winning the attention of your target market is a privilege that shouldn’t take lightly. Business owners should never take for granted the tribe of people who consume, engage and interact with their brands, no matter how small. You should always remember that gaining the attention of your target market is just the first step in winning them as a customer. A typical sales funnel strategy will move customers from attention or awareness of your brand (they like, follow or consume your content) to taking interest (some commitment or deeper engagement like joining a mailing list) then they are expected to move towards a decision making process (deciding what option is right for them, can they afford it? will you deliver on it? etc) and the final step is action, they are ready to make a transaction or commitment and believe that you have something that they need. Attention is the beginning of the relationship and you should utilise multiple platforms and touch points to walk along side your customer until they are ready to take action.  
  5. Be a real person. As the noise increases, so  does our scepticism as consumers. We are growing weary of brands that are bombarding our inboxes, social feeds and phones with insistent messages to ‘take action now.’ As a result we seek out authentic brands that we share our personal values with and that give us an opportunity to interact with a real human. Use this to your advantage and show who you are, why you started, communicate authentically, have fun, connect, use people’s names, reply to message, hand write thank you cards and show your customer that you are a real person, ready and willing to be of service to them. 


Get in touch for 1:1 Business Coaching to help you craft a standout Business and Marketing plan & attract more paying customers with ease.