Dare To Be Different


One of the things I truly love doing, is chatting with small business owners about their business. When they tell me about what it is they do, the service or product they provide, I can actually FEEL their passion. They truly LOVE what they do.

Why is it then that I can only rarely find this passion on their sites?

I think that perhaps we are sometimes so hung up on trying to be like the other guys (especially our competition) that we completely forget that is not what makes us like the other guys that will bring us business. It is what makes us different.

You have to have the courage to dare to be different than anyone else.

In order to accomplish that, you have to first figure out what it is that makes you different and then find a way to allow others to truly SEE what that is.

An exercise I ask small business owners to do, is to answer the following questions without thinking or worrying about grammar or spelling. I want them to interact with me as if we were simply chatting over a cup of coffee.

How did you get started in the crazy world of running an internet business?

Do your friends and family think you are nuts for trying to run a business online? If so, why haven’t you given up yet?

Why did you choose your specific business?

Do you believe that your business provides a benefit to your visitors? Why do you believe this?

What makes you different from all of the other companies out there that provide the same product or service that you do?

Are you passionate about your business? The products or service you provide? Why?

I wish you could see the incredible responses I receive. As I am reading them, I literally cannot help but visit the site. I get so excited that I want to know more immediately!

That is when I frequently see something missing.

That passion has not been carried over to the site for their visitors.

You have to SHOW me why I should do business with you instead of someone else! What makes you different?

Remember how Hallmark used to advertise their cards years ago? Heck, I used to cry during some of the commercials! How did they do that? They helped us IMAGINE actually giving a special card to someone. Not just any card, but one of theirs. Why? Because we wanted to experience that moment.

Another company that has this down pat is The J. Peterman Company. Have you ever read the descriptions of their products? A gazillion places sells women’s blazers, but who have you ever seen describe them like this site does? (Nope, don’t skip that link. Go back and click it now. I want you to truly SEE what I mean.)

Are ya back? Yes? Now, ya see what I mean? It takes you to another world. By the time you are done reading, you want to own that blazer RIGHT NOW!

And you can go so far beyond that. If your product is exactly like 100 other companies, then YOU have to be the difference. Show your passion in your writing. Go above and beyond in your service. Add a handwritten note to orders, not just thanking them, but telling them you know they are going to love it!

Don’t leave me yawning on your “about us” page. Make me FEEL like I want to do business with you! Do it by daring to be different….

Tell me your story. What ways are you finding to help accomplish this challenge?

J. Cricket Walker of CricketWalker.com

  1. koskos04-06-2011

    Don’t leave me yawning on your “about us” page. Make me FEEL like I want to do business with you! Do it by daring to be different….

    now you got me thinking…

  2. CricketCricket04-06-2011

    Heck, I got myself thinking too! 🙂

  3. JoanJoan04-06-2011

    What a wonderful blog, and you are so very right. I am hoping to learn how to share my passion as you do, have already learned a lot already.

  4. JennyJenny04-06-2011

    Great post Cricket. In this day and age when there are so many choices out there, I want to see personality! I love it when I stumble across someone, or a business who is quirky, pushing the envelope and challenges the norm of the comfort zone. Now I just need to figure out how to do that for my business! Got me perking things though.

  5. Jill CJill C04-06-2011

    Great post! When we bought our business just a few weeks ago, we spent some time looking at the websites of others who sell the same types of products we will (once we get our machine fixed! :`( ). We saw some things we liked, and some things we’d like to improve upon, but the one thing we saw that we wanted to never, ever do, was insult our customer’s intelligence, and be unkind. On the FAQ of one page, was a warning that the company simply did not have time or energy to do any refunds, and if you didn’t know what you were buying in the first place, probably weren’t smart enough to handle the material in question. Well, we *love* what our product does! We *love* when people want to be self-sufficient DIYers, and if they are just getting started, we would *love* an opportunity to educate them and refund their money if necessary. Of course we don’t want refunding money to be all we do, but we think that if we do, people might be more likely to seek us out again when they are ready to take that step, especially if they were treated with respect in their first experience with us.
    I hope that the other vendor was only making an attempt at snarky humor that came off wrong, and doesn’t really think like that about people. Well, maybe I hope they do a little bit, because that kind of attitude can’t help but show through, and people can’t help but be turned off by it, and maybe they’ll find us. But truly, not a good state of mind to be in overall.
    I hope that made sense, since I was being deliberately vague because I don’t want to gossip and pinpoint people.

  6. DanielDaniel04-06-2011

    Wow! Such a great post! You got me thinking as well! When I look at jpeterman website, I feel ordering already! This is the kind of stuff we should all practice, to be unique, to be different from the rest.

  7. GlennetteGlennette04-06-2011

    I really need to go through and evaluate most of the pages on my website. Some of them haven’t been changed in a long time and are probably still too “corporate”. I need to freshen them up for seo purposes anyway. Feel free to critique my site anytime. 😮

    Glennette Goodbread, Owner
    Premium Web Design and Hosting

  8. Chris DarlingChris Darling04-06-2011

    Love this post! It really is so important to find that thing that makes you different from all others. When you start focusing in on those things, it’s almost as if you no longer have any competition! I mean who can really compete with remarkable you?

    Thanks for this. It made my night! 🙂

    Chris Darling

  9. koskos04-07-2011

    another thing that you might want to take into consideration is that not all business owners can afford to pay good money for a stand out design so they usually get the common layout and hope for the best, maybe that’s why that difference between the websites and their passion. [but maybe that’s just me]

  10. Jon IzzardJon Izzard04-07-2011

    Hi Cricket,
    You make some fine points and passion mustn’t be lost in the mix. Our story is that though I have an affiliate marketing site at http://www.internetfishingshop.cop, I don’t have access to control as much of the HTML as I would like. And as my wife has taken up making jewellery, we thought we’d see if we could turn it into a business with me doing the IT and ancillary support while she does the design and manufacturing.
    Nothing to see on the jewellery site at the moment apart from a holding page, but there will be more to follow once we get the designs of the ranges finalised and some photography done. It is exciting though!

  11. SundaeSundae04-08-2011

    Thanks for this blog post! I was ordering new product today and worrying about getting too far off track – not sticking to the same old, same old. This post helped me realize that it could be a great thing to bring in some more unique, fun items and just enjoy being a little different! 🙂

  12. Jim TsapJim Tsap04-17-2011

    That’s what I have been thinking when I was planning my business. Difference is the only think that can help us “point out” (appear) through the masses. Internet is a big “Ocean”! The websites are boats. The only way to seperate you from others, is difference, quality and intermediate communication… “So lets raise on our sails colorful flags!”

    ps: As always you have a unique phylosophy about online business… Love the way you think Cricket!

  13. JerrickJerrick05-04-2011

    You need to have your unique selling proposition to taking advantages.
    I understand that be follower may successful but sometime it won’t let you overtake to be no 1.
    That why you need to be different and unique which provide something that other do not or unable to provide. Then you will be the winner.

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