Finding Your Niche -- Discover And Communicate What Makes You Unique And Stand Out from the Crowd

By now most of you have heard about the importance of answering the WIIFM  (what's in it for me?) question in your marketing. After all, the first Law of Marketing is to attract attention and there's nothing better than addressing the needs and interests of prospects - their WIIFM. 
But how many of you know about the Law of Uniqueness? 
Many business owners struggle with answering - "What makes you unique and how do you express it in way that's meaningful to your prospects?" This is much harder to communicate with impact.
After all, doesn't a mortgage broker, consultant, financial planner, web or graphic designer etc. all do about the same things as their counterparts?
Well, mostly yes, but that's all the more reason to stand out in your uniqueness and be memorable. Otherwise, you'll blend into the grey zone with all the other look alike competitors.
To be successful it's critical to differentiate yourself. That's where good marketing comes in. 
Here are some things you can do to stand out:
1. Define a Target Niche. 
I know, you've heard this before, but have you taken the plunge? It can be scary narrowing your focus to one narrow stream of clients. Many of my clients express fear of losing business if they have a narrow niche.
But when you focus on everyone, you end up focusing on no one. Think of it from the prospect's point of view. They want to work with someone who knows their industry, their issues, their aspirations. When you focus on a very targeted group, they remember you, they trust you and they refer you. You come across as the credible expert.  
After all, who would you take your new shiny $90k BMW to? The guy who fixes any motor (including lawnmowers) or the BMW specialist who knows your car inside and out?
Even if you've made a stab at this - you probably can narrow your niche even further. Look at your clients this past year and ask yourself:
~ Who do I most enjoy working with? 
~ Where do I do my best work? 
~ Where does my expertise shine?
~ What clients or services are most profitable? 
It may be staring you in the face, but if you've never come out and said that you specialize in working with "abc clients." Perhaps it's time.
 2. Become the Expert
This one is all about focus as well.  If you're going to define a niche or specialty, go deep; become the top expert in your field. Make it a goal to know more about the ins and outs of your profession than anyone in your niche. 
Work at knowing all the issues your target niche has and then provide extraordinary service that gets a buzz going and prospects attracted to you. 
3. Create a Model. 
This one is a little trickier, but it can be ideal for many. It means not only standing out as an expert but as a "thought leader." 
If you're going to create a new business model, first look at what is missing or not working in the marketplace. What's outmoded or ineffective? Is there a business process has "always" been done? How could it be done better?
Perhaps you do a process with your clients' that's unique. How can leverage and position it as a special process you can promote in your marketing.
Finally, once you've refined you business to stand out in a crowded marketplace, you need to market that message consistently and with impact.  Work at:
~ Mastering the explanation of your uniqueness in a concise sentence or two that answers the question: "What makes your business different?"
~ Re-writing your website home page. Your target niche, specialty or business model should be crystal clear from the very first paragraph, and that message should continue throughout the site.
~ Write a signature article that highlights your uniqueness. If you've developed a new business model, create a "white paper" that explores your model in detail.
~ Create and deliver a talk that showcases your distinctiveness. Find ways to reach your narrower niche and demonstrate your industry expertise.
~ Publish an eZine or newsletter that focuses on your expertise.
You'll succeed at standing out in the marketplace if you focus on fine tuning the above ideas. Don't worry about being outrageous or bleeding-edge. Just focus where it matters the most - on the needs of your clients.