How to Stand Out in a Saturated Market

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There are more tools available, now more than ever, for people to start a business doing something they love. There is an unlimited supply of resources for those wishing to learn a new skill, trade or craft. ANYONE can start a business. We love that. That’s one reason we are so excited about what we do here. We truly believe anyone can build a successful business if they have the passion behind it and are willing to work for it.

The problem is, this isn’t a secret. Many folks see how fulfilling and freeing this life can be. So there are A LOT of ________________ (photographers, designers, craftsmen, Etsy shop owners, bloggers, etc.). Realizing the vast number of professionals in your industry and figuring out how to stand out among them can be overwhelming.

We know. We’ve been there.

We are wedding photographers in sunny San Diego. It is a VERY saturated market. Saturated with insanely talented, super cool and very smart photographers. Engaged couples have a tough choice to make here in San Diego. Learning to cut through the noise and stand out to these potential clients was a huge part of growing our business.

Here are 7 tips on how to stand out in a saturated market.

Define your ideal customer.

Many of us start with an idea of what kinds of people we want to work with and do work for, but that’s where it stops. DON’T STOP THERE! The more you know about your ideal customers, the better you can tailor your work (and the way you sell it) to them. Find out (you can ask past ideal clients) what kind of food they eat, where they shop, where they work, where they hang out, what they do for fun and what kind of clothes they wear. The more information the better.

Use that research to influence the language you use on your website and social media, where you advertise and even how you price your work.

Do business differently.

Big industry shifts often happen because someone new does something, well, NEW! Just because people have been doing something the same way for decades doesn’t mean there isn’t a better way of doing it. This is true in your branding, marketing and how you do business.

When trying something new, make sure you figure out how to tell (and have a timeline) if something isn’t working. At that point, it’s time to make some changes and try for a little longer, go back to how you were doing it before or come up with a completely new idea.

Create, don’t copy.

We all pride ourselves on creating something in our own style, but sometimes we find ourselves wanting to create work like someone else. And that’s great! Every artist finds inspiration from another artist at one point or another, but there is a very fine line between imitation and inspiration. Imitation won’t get you far.

Get out in the world.

Get in front of people (in person). Go to meetups, networking events and make coffee dates with other people in your industry (preferably people you respect, whose work you like and/or you think you could maybe be friends with). Building relationships with people that are in the same industry may seem counter intuitive, but if you have the right outlook and attitude, it can be extremely rewarding. You’ll get connected with awesome people that could be a great resource to you in the future (they may even refer work to you). You are also letting the world know you are serious about your business. That in itself does more than you might think.

Be yourself.

One of the easiest ways to stand out is to be yourself! Show some personality on your website, social media, emails, etc. If you are goofy, show some goofiness. If you are reserved, make a joke about how putting yourself out there on the internet makes you feel. Find a balance between personality and professionalism. This isn’t about reading the world your diary. It’s about giving your ideal customers a peek at who you are and giving them an opportunity to connect with you and/or your brand.

Be consistent with what you put out there. It helps people establish a more accurate look at what it would be like to work with you and is only affirmed when you get to connect with them over the phone, Skype or in person. It will also make them feel more comfortable and help you sell/book more.

Be willing to put in the work.

There are some things that will really benefit your business. Maybe it’s blogging regularly or posting relevant content on social media. It could be doing a weekly newsletter or making phone calls instead of writing emails. However, these things take time and effort. Not everyone is willing to put in the work. Stand out by putting in the work.

Be genuine.

People can spot BS far before they are close enough to step in it.

If you are truly doing something you love, being genuine easy. You don’t have to trick people into thinking you have a passion for what you do. Be authentic and genuine; it builds trust. Give people a true reason to connect with you and like you. Then, chances are, they’ll buy from you. Don’t risk that opportunity by telling an ideal client you are more experienced than you really are or by telling them you think what they are wearing is super cute when you don’t. Instead, focus on the good (and true) things.

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