Standout or Die: Overcoming Business Stagnation
Is your business becoming stagnant or are you working with clients who don’t value you or you don’t truly believe in? Have you lost control or become unclear of your direction? That’s because you’re not standing out.
I recently read ‘Standout or Die’ by Gareth Healey, an agency growth expert. It’s shaped how I’m talking about and running my agency. We’ve all heard the phrase ‘if you market to everyone, you market to no one’ but what does this look like in practice?
There are currently over 25,000 marketing agencies in the UK. I’ll take a bet nearly all of them are ‘award-winning, full-service agencies’ with dogs listed as ‘Head of Barketing’ on their about pages to seem edgy. Many will provide the exact same services as me, some much quicker and better, others not so much. Yet, not a single other will have me and my staff in it. No single other will approach work in the way I do or provide the same experience. This is where I stand out.
So how can you?
1. Personal Branding
Companies can copy your services, processes, website or even your social posts but they can’t copy your staff. In the services industry, your staff are your selling point and so are you. Showcasing the internal experience, knowledge and results you have cannot be replicated anywhere. You have specific skills, personality traits, life experiences that can all be shared to build authority. When you are the leading authority within your space, you become the go-to for those services.
You can find my guide on building your personal brand here.
2. Get specific
What do you provide? I fell into the trap of providing every digital marketing service under the sun for any client with any budget. I ended up working with clients I wasn’t aligned with providing services I just din’t enjoy as much. I created a ‘to not do list’ to refine our services to content marketing. Simply because it’s what we’re best at and find the most fun and rewarding.
Who do you provide it for? A specific industry? Company size? Individual? When this is clear you can make targeted connection requests and develop in-depth industry knowledge and case studies, meaning you can charge a premium by being an expert within that niche. We work with sustainable organisations making a positive impact and only products or services we genuinely believe are doing good and making a difference. If your website doesn’t explain exactly what you do and for who within five seconds of scanning the homepage, you need to sit and get some clarity.
What’s unique about the way you deal with clients? How does your approach differ? Do you offer additional value? Unique software? Do you do everything through video or have a really wicked videographer that captures all the behind-the-scenes client processes?
My no-fluff, no-nonsense approach with a sense of humour is why I get and retain clients. Quite simply because we are fun to work with! Clients get an immersive experience, we value training them so they can understand the value of the services and help us perform them better. The hands-on customer service-led approach is why I’ve got half the clients I started out with still on the books now on retainers.
4. Power in Purpose
It’s common for agency owners to have a mindset of ‘building to sell’ rather than building their business to provide great marketing and a fun environment they can take joy in running. Purpose-led businesses know they want more than a transactional relationship and treat them as such.
The purpose of FB Comms is to provide killer content with service that slaps. We want to have fun in the process and provide exceptional service without the huge overheads and rates bigger agencies have. My purpose is to get up, enjoy what I do, provide value and go home. Clients can smell when you’re not in it for the right reasons.
5. Productise your Services
Starting from scratch with every client is a ball ache quite frankly. If your services don’t have a clear end-to-end process from first meeting to invoicing or project completion, create one.
I have a template for: proposals, audits, content, strategic planning, marketing budgets, creative briefs, reports and Trello boards of every process so any new staff member or contractor can come in and follow the exact same steps. This reduces time spent on creating these things every time, makes you more efficient and standardises the quality of work clients get. Nobody goes to Mcdonald’s for a surprise, you go because you know exactly what you’re going to get regardless of location. Although not fast-food vendors, if every client gets a bespoke service on different software and unique templates, you only make it harder for yourself.
You can grab a copy of Gareth’s book here!