Why Storytelling is Crucial for Ecommerce Businesses

People love stories.

It’s why some stories originally told over a thousand years ago endure up to this day.

We’ve loved stories from an early age, back when we barely understood them.

Stories entertain. Stories inspire. Stories fuel the imagination.

Storytelling in Marketing

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It’s no surprise that storytelling has become one of the most effective tools used in marketing.

Its ability to establish a deeper connection with consumers is unparalleled. Storytelling can humanize a brand and make it more relatable.

When done right, eCommerce storytelling can reach out of the computer screen and “touch” consumers.

It can also be the catalyst to mobilizing a legion of loyal fans. 

What Is Storytelling For eCommerce?

Marketing is a necessity if you want to succeed in eCommerce.

There are countless competitors selling products identical to yours.

It becomes a race of who can capture their audience’s attention first. When it comes to engaging your audience, few can be as potent a tool as storytelling.

Capture the Imagination of Your Audience

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Online stores can make consumers experience their stores physically.

So you need something else to reel them in. Engage them. Make them understand what your brand is about. Let them know what you stand for.

Tell a story that makes your audience imagine themselves enjoying your products.

Take Consumer on an Emotional Journey

A powerful story can do a variety of things for your brand.

It can compel your audience to trust you.

It can evoke an emotion that leads to a desire to buy your product.

A good story can make consumers feel like they’ve known your brand all their life.

Why do I need to care about storytelling?

Stories make your brand feel more authentic.

Stories can make your audience feel like they are talking to a trusted friend.

Stories allow you to converse with your audience on a more emotional level. Stories add depth.

They can make your brand seem more than just a product or service.

Stories can make your brand an entity that consumers want to be friends with.

Information overload

Let’s face it. Consumers today find most conventional advertising methods boring.

You can’t expect a consumer to read a boring wall of text. We’re in the digital age.

Consumers are overloaded with information:

  • Google receives over 63,000 searches per second
  • The average consumer processes around 100,000 digital words each day
  • A person encounters an average of 5,000 marketing messages per day
  • 3 trillion online ads are sold each year

Most consumers don’t bother with marketing messages. Almost 80% of people scan content and only read the parts that interest them.

Ecommerce storytelling can compel your audience to read every word of your message.

Develop stronger relationships

Communication is a two-way street.

Consumers aren’t content with just listening to you.

They want you to listen to what they have to say too.

Tell a story your audience can relate to. This will make them feel that you understand them.

The more relatable stories you tell, the stronger your bond with them will be.

Make Your Audience Feel They’re a Part of Something Greater

Define your brand with a core set of beliefs. Make sure these core beliefs resonate with your audience.

This will build goodwill between you and your audience. It will add perceived value to your products and services.

This perceived value will allow you to charge higher than your competitors without losing your customers.

Consumers who feel strongly about your brand will also become your brand ambassadors.

For instance, Warby Parker has the mission to solve the problem with access to glasses. Their Buy A Pair, Give A Pair program encourages customers to be part of their initiative and help solve this crisis. This adds to the alure of buying a pair of glasses from Warby Parker.

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Warby Parker Buy A Pair, Give A Pair Program

Similarly, LUSH is an active participant in donating and discovering ways to help solve various environmental and animal crisis. Their strong activist brand attracts those who share similar values and adds to the “feel good” state of customers when they see that portions of sales goes to LUSH’s many ethical campaigns.

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Some of LUSH’s initiatives

Stories are motivational

Stories can move people. A good story can motivate consumers to do what you want them to do. Build a story around these motivations. To do this, there are three factors you need to consider:

  • What you want your audience to feel
  • What action you want your audience to take
  • What call-to-action (CTA) will be the most compelling

How Do I Start Telling A Story About My Business?

1.) Focus on emotions

Most consumers make buying decisions based on emotion instead of logic.

Paint a clear picture of how much they’ll love your product or service. Focus on positive emotions.

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Casper focusing on how they help people get better sleep

Make consumers see themselves being satisfied with what you offer.

2.) Talk about how your product makes the customer’s life better

Focus on the benefits instead of the product or service.

Emphasize why your product or service is superior. Highlight why it is unique.

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Casper’s Mattresses
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Bellroy showcasing how their wallets can handle wear and tear through time

Last, clearly define what consumers can achieve by getting it.

3.) Explain how your company solves customer problems

Attack the pain points of your target audience. Describe the problem in detail. Include its causes and its impact.

This will tell them you understand what they’re going through. Then describe how you’ve developed a solution for the problem.

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Bellroy visually showing the difference from regular wallets and theirs – the pain most people have with their wallets.

4.) Make the story shareable

Build a story around the core values of your brand. Present the story in a way that makes readers want to share it.

Create a short hashtag that summarizes your core message or the story.

Encourage your audience to share their own stories using the hashtag.

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Warby Parker’s story that makes you want to root for them

5.) Be more transparent

Consumers tend to assume the worst when there’s something they don’t know. So say tell it to them right off the bat.

Tell them about your company culture and how it’s like for the people working for you.

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Zappos’ perspective on company culture

 

Describe your manufacturing process.

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Warby Parker shows the full process from prototype to completion
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Everlane sharing their factory details for their products

Talk about where you came from and how you got to where you are today.

6.) Be socially conscious

Give back and pay it forward.

Get involved in local community events. Donate to charity. Sponsor a local project. Fund a few scholars.

Any good thing you do can be incorporated into the story of your brand.

Sharing this story will further endear you to your audience.

But make sure to be authentic with this. If you don’t believe in the event or charity, do not force yourself to be part of it. People can sense it.

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Everlane’s ethical approach
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Patagonia’s Denim

7.) Highlight your brand’s origins

People love success stories. It inspires them.

Share a story about the evolution of your brand.

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Highlight the challenges and setbacks you’ve had to overcome.

Talk about the mistakes you’ve made and the lessons you’ve learned.

8.) Humanize your brand

Don’t only talk about your company or your products.

Tell stories about your employees.

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LUSH has video features of their employees that share their work and life

Highlight what they bring to the table.

Showcase the various ways they contribute to your company.

Talk about people who founded your company.

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The story behind Huckberry
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Story of Yeti

9.) Enhance product descriptions

Many Amazon FBA sellers have trouble finding ways to tell their stories on the Amazon.

Ecommerce storytelling is harder to do on online marketplaces. So what should you do?

Use what’s already there. Use visuals and stories to describe what your product is and what it’s like to use them. 

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10.) Use real-life stories from customers

Encourage your customers to share their stories involving your company. Offer them a prize to encourage their participation.

This will give you a chance to collect user-generated contact. It will also add authenticity to your storytelling.

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LUSH user-generated content
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Daniel Wellington user-generated content
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Tweets and Instagram posts from Casper customers

Storytelling is vital to eCommerce success. It’s vital for a business’s longevity. 

A good story will not only make someone want to read every word of it, but it will also connect with them on a much deeper level. It transcends what the product is about. 

The beauty of a well-established brand is creating that connection where what you sell matters less than what you stand for.

And when you stand for something and mean something more than just a product to them, you build a tribe that will root for you in the long run.

Amazon FBA Sellers – Why You Need to Build a Brand Before It is too Late

There’s a surprising number of Amazon FBA sellers who don’t think that branding is important.

They believe that it’s okay to sell the same product as everybody else as long as they offer a better price.

This strategy can be viable in the short term but it is rarely sustainable for the long term.

You do not want to settle for being the cheapest in the market. You don’t want to compete with other Amazon sellers that also think the same.

It will become a competition of who can set their prices the lowest. This will hurt your profit margin.

What you want is to be able to compete with other sellers even if your prices are not the lowest. And you can do that through branding.

Reasons to Start Brand Building Today

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You need to get started on your Amazon FBA brand development strategy as soon as possible.

And here is why:

Stand Out from the Sea of “Me Too” Products

95 million Americans have Amazon Prime memberships.

Consumers purchased over 100 million products on Prime Day 2018. These two Amazon 2018 stats are proof that Amazon is a lucrative marketplace.

Amazon gives its FBA sellers the chance to make it big quick.

The benefits being so great is also a disadvantage. Everyone wants in on the action. Thousands and thousands of new sellers join Amazon each month.

This creates a sea of “me too” products, where everyone is selling the same white-labelled products and using the same strategies. Many of the listings end up becoming indistinguishable.

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A sea of “me too” products

 

Escape the Saturation Plague

A significant part of Amazon sellers offers generic products.

This causes the marketplace to suffer from a high level of saturation.

Market saturation is one of the most glaring Amazon issues. This makes it a lot harder for a new seller to enter his desired niche.

After all, it’s hard to stand out when a thousand other sellers offer the same product as you do.

You can change this with branding and actually stand out. 

This doesn’t mean just slapping on a logo. It means taking the deliberate path of creating a brand that means something, that has values, that has a story, and goes beyond just the logo.

Charge a Premium Instead of Being a Commodity

Selling is all about perception.

Make consumers think that what you’re selling is different.  

This will allow you to make them buy even if your prices are higher.

There can be no better example of this than Yeti’s $300 cooler. People were shell-shocked.  

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It was surprising that consumers were actually willing to shell out 300 bucks for a cooler.

It was so baffling that it became a popular meme. 

But even if it became a meme and was considered outlandish by many…Yeti is getting the last laugh.

Because while other people sell coolers for $80, they are able to sell their’s for triple the price. And it works.

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Build a Brand That Demands a Premium

So what gave Yeti the audacity to charge so much for a cooler?

Yeti believed in its brand.

While most Amazon sellers focus on being the cheapest, Yeti did a 180 and decided to be the most expensive.

This was possible because Yeti was able to establish itself as a premium brand.

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Yeti makes their products look premium and advanced

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When consumers buy a Yeti product, they don’t pay only for that product. They also have to pay for the brand.

Develop Customer Loyalty & Build a Loyal Fan Base

When was the last time you bought a generic product online and remembered the seller?

It’s hard to build customer loyalty when your customers can’t even remember your name.

And what can’t they remember your name? You’re selling the same unbranded product as everybody else so why would they bother?

In the minds of consumers, there’s no reason to remember you.

They believe that they can get the same product from another seller. It won’t matter if they can’t find you again so there is no point in remembering you.

But if you spend the time and effort to build a brand that focuses on them, they will remember you and think of you.

Build a Brand That Inspires Confidence

The first step to building a loyal fan base is creating a brand that commands trust and respect.

Let’s look back at Yeti. Imagine a lesser-known brand selling a $300 cooler. Consumers would most likely dismiss it as nonsense. Some will even outright laugh at the foolishness of it.

The $300 cooler only worked because Yeti did it.

What did Yeti’s loyal customers do after they heard about the $300 cooler?

They rationalized that the cooler must be far superior to other coolers. They didn’t feel skeptical. They believe that Yeti always gives them the right value for their money.

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Build a Superior Customer Experience

By having your own brand, you can offer your customers a unique experience.

You can engage your fan base on social media. You can convince them that you care for them. Show them you respect their feedback.

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Yeti showcasing customer’s photos of their product

Consumers love the feeling that the seller actually cares.

Publish useful and/or interesting content on a regular basis. This will make consumers want to follow you. Make them look forward to new products you are planning to sell.

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Yeti Youtube Channel

Become a Trusted Resource of Your Niche

Build a thriving community around your brand.

Become that dependable friend.

Be the first thing consumers think of when they need to buy something.

Think of ways to offer a customer experience consumers can’t find anywhere else.

For example, you can offer to send articles on how someone can make the most out of a product they bought. All they have to do is provide you with their email. You can then use the collected email as leads for your next marketing strategy.

Enjoy Creative Freedom Through Brand Longevity

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It’s easier for an Amazon FBA seller to be creative when they know that they have a fan base that will give them a shot.

Knowing your loyal customers are there for you will give you peace of mind.

You’ll have more confidence to launch a contest or event. All you need is one viral campaign to make your popularity explode.

And each surge in popularity helps ensure the longevity of your brand and your business.

Don’t be Afraid to Defy Conventional Marketing Wisdom

Remember KFC’s 11 Herbs and Spices Twitter campaign of 2017?

All KFC did was follow only 11 people on Twitter: the five original Spice Girls and six guys named herb. Then KFC waited for someone to notice.

Remember what happened when someone finally did and twitted about it?

That original tweet had been favorited more than 700,000 times. It also received more than 300,000 comments.

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Why did KFC come up with that campaign? It knew it had enough Twitter followers to make it work.

Branding is essential if you want to be a successful Amazon FBA seller.

You will be another generic seller in a wide sea of generic sellers if you don’t.

Building your brand should be one of your top priorities. A strong brand will give you the competitive advantage you need.

Your brand will ensure your business will remain sustainable for the foreseeable future. 

The #1 Mistake Amazon FBA Sellers are Making and Why You Need To Build A Brand

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Are you making this costly mistake?

Amazon is one of the largest online marketplaces. They had an insane 49& share in the entire US e-commerce market in 2018. It’s no wonder why so many people started flocked to create businesses that focus solely on this platform.

But with so much attention and hopes of riches on Amazon FBA, there lie many opportunities for beginners to follow the wrong advice and come out of this journey at a big fat loss.

Today I’m going to share with you the #1 mistake I see novice and advanced Amazon FBA sellers make.

Let’s dive in!

Don’t Fall Into The Same Trap

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Every aspiring online e-commerce entrepreneur dreams of a successful Amazon FBA Business and living those stories of reaching 7 or 8 figures.  The number of FBA sellers is increasing and that, in itself, can be a problem.

As more and more people flood into the platform and listen to the same gurus, the growing competition makes it harder for everyone to gain a foothold.

But even with the influx of new sellers, time and time again, I see people continue to make one massive mistake that can completely kill their Amazon FBA business’ potential.

The Bane of Amazon FBA Sellers – Being A Commodity Business

Quantity! Quantity! Quantity!

This is the only thing most new FBA sellers only think about. You may think that selling more products is enough. But such a strategy is not viable for the long-term.

Don’t take shortcuts. Don’t skip branding. Otherwise, your Amazon FBA business won’t last long and only be a commodity business. 

What’s a commodity business? One that focuses on selling and neglects building brand equity. This, in turn, puts them on a very dangerous position – where they could only compete on price to lure new customers.

Forgoing brand development is the biggest mistake an Amazon FBA seller can make. Here are the reasons why selling unbranded items (and poorly branded items) on Amazon won’t work as a long-term strategy.

Amazon’s Product Saturation Problem

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Amazon FBA provides online sellers the opportunity to potentially earn massive profits. New sellers are flocking to this online marketplace every day with that goal in mind. But, most are content with selling a few generic items. This causes saturation of “me too” products.

When a consumer search for a product on Amazon, there’s a high chance that they’ll be given pages and pages of the same item but with just a different colour or logo slapped on. This makes it hard for sellers to stand out and establish a following of loyal customers.

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1. Everyone is Following the Same Advice About Ranking

Many Amazon consumers only look at the first page of the results when they perform a product search (like Google search results).

So getting a top ranking can exponentially increase your sales volume and eyeballs on your product. But, doing so is easier said than done. Everybody seems to be using the same strategies to boost their Amazon ranking algorithm to improve the spot their listing shows up on. 

  • Having specific keywords in the product title, description, and feature bullets
  • Running giveaways to increase sales signals
  • Get as many reviews as possible

Having everybody use the same optimization techniques is troublesome. You need to do the best practices, but it also has the same effect as nobody performing optimization. 

2. You have to Adhere to Amazon’s Rules

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There are limits to what you can do to get your products ranked higher and stand out from the crowd. You have to follow the same rules imposed by Amazon (assuming you’re building an authentic business). Such factors make it hard to get creative.

It makes it all the more challenging to stand out from the rest of the Amazon FBA sellers. By spending time and creating a brand (not just slapping a logo on your product), you are no longer like everybody else. You have your own identity and message that you can incorporate in your marketing and build a community that could eventually become your raving fans.

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Vitacoco Amazon Brand Content Store

3. It is a Race to the Bottom

Imagine having to lower your prices again and again just to stay competitive…

Not something I’d ever want to do. But that’s the reality if you are a commodity business.

It is the most damaging aspect of selling unbranded or generic items on Amazon. You sell exactly the same product as everybody else. You offer the same quality of packaging and shipping (since it’s handled by Amazon and not you).

The only way left to compete is with the price.

The only way you make your products more desirable by lowering your prices. But chances are high that your competitors will fight back. How? They’ll bring their prices lower than yours. You can then only react by lowering your prices again. It will inevitably become a vicious cycle. It will be a cycle that is great for consumers but devastating for sellers.

And the person with the deepest pockets win. In most cases, it’s not you.

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Become A Premium Brand & Charge More

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A big mistake I see business owners make is thinking that they need to spend the time and effort on branding AFTER they make revenue. But it’s backward. You need to be carving out the time from the beginning to create a solid brand and then let it build organically.

Never underestimate the importance of branding. Even though it is difficult to see its effect, it is an important factor in how we decide between one product from another. By building a recognizable e-commerce brand will let you get out of the abyss of selling generic products and the sea of “me too” items.

When people connect with what your brand is about and what it stands for, they’ll be willing to pay the premium for your product. It is why some brands are able to charge double the price of their products, while others need to go into a pricing war that continues to lower their margins.

Here are the 5 most powerful reasons why you need to be serious with building a brand on Amazon:

1. Cut the Need to Compete on Price

Establish your brand,  then you won’t have to keep trying to undersell your competitors anymore.

You can even price your products higher. Why would you do this? To make yourself stand out while reaping more profits.

Yes, consumers generally go for products with a lower price. But that is only if you fail to make them perceive that your product offers a higher value.

For instance, if you search “water bottle” on Amazon, you’ll find these two very similar looking and described products beside each other:

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BOZ vs. Mossy Oak water bottle

Although Mossy Oak isn’t a brand that is recognizable for the majority of people outside of their niche, doing a Google search and you’ll find that it is actually an established outdoor equipment business in Mississipi. They create valuable content like How-To Guides and host various events that connect with their target market. They are able to charge a premium by aligning their brand name as an authority.

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Photo Credit: Mossy Oak

Whereas, Boz is just a standard “brand” you’ll find on Amazon that is doing all the ranking strategies well. Because they have not spent more time in creating an outstanding brand, they have to continue to compete on pricing.

2. It’s All About The Perceived Value

Have you ever wondered why some people are willing to spend thousands of dollars for Louis Vuitton or Gucci products?

Because of their perceived value.

People could find value in 2 ways:

  1. an increase in status (ie. the Gucci branded shoes makes them feel high class) or
  2. they believe they are getting more than what they pay for (it’s a damn good deal)

By increasing the perceived value of your product, people will be willing to pay a premium.

Although it takes concerted effort and time to align your brand name with an increase of status value, it can be the reason why you’ll have a legion of fans that keep coming back to purchase for you. 

One popular way to have people believe they are getting a good deal is to include add-ons that look valuable but are actually quite cheap to produce. What’s the simplest way of knowing what accessories you should bundle with your products?  Look at the “Frequently Bought Together” suggestions provided by Amazon.

3. Boast About Your Product

Another way to go about it is to highlight the advantages and benefits that your product provides.

Do it in a way that it strikes the strongest pain points of your target consumers. Explain in detail why and how your product is the perfect solution to their want or needs. The value of the presentation is massive. Is your brand the only thing that makes your product different? If yes, the presentation can do wonders.

Take a look the often-memed Yeti’s $400 cooler.

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YETI Portable Cooler VS. Other Portable Coolers…

You heard it right, Yeti is selling a cooler for $300 and people are buying it.

Yes, it is better than most coolers. It has offers improvements and new features. But does that justify the hefty price tag? Maybe.

A strong brand can get away with a lot.

So how did Yeti do it?

It didn’t build its brand on being the cheapest. It branded itself as a premium product with the highest in quality, technology, and features.

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Photo Credit: YETI; YETI Portable Cooler Product Technology & Features

And more importantly, they have a story that resonates with their intended customers:

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Photo credit: YETI

And now, Yeti is selling as many products as the cheapest competitor, but at a massive price difference.

That shows the power of building a proper e-commerce brand.

4. Better SEO and Conversions on Both Amazon and Google

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Branding gives you a significant edge when it comes to search engine optimization. And it isn’t limited to Amazon since you’ll also have an easier time getting your products ranked high on Google.

By having an established brand, you’ll have an easier time building brand loyalty. It will be easier to forge relationships with consumers when you’ve created a brand that has specific values it stands for and a personality that connects with a target audience. There’s a reason why so many people are loyal and diehard fans to Apple. 

It’s also simpler for word-of-mouth to spread for a branded product than a generic one.

All these can lead to various benefits such as:

  • higher reviews
  • higher conversions
  • higher search rankings on both Amazon and Google
  • and more

5. Stabilize Your Sales with Repeat Business

It’s a lot easier to get repeat customers when you built a respected brand.

In fact, 48% of transactions are from repeat customers.

Satisfied customers will remember your brand and be more likely to buy the same product from you again and again. It’s the same as people who are shopping for a car, they often gravitate to the brand they enjoyed or known for a particular trait (like safety or fuel efficiency). They’ll also have a bias in favour of your other products whenever they recognize your brand over others.

Spending the time and effort to really build a brand is something every e-commerce entrepreneur should do. It isn’t entirely just for Amazon FBA sellers.

But brand building is often overlooked or done in a lazy manner. It only requires a little investment and consistency, but the payoff can be massive.

By having a proper brand, you can gain a significant competitive advantage that will transcend your current product line. You’ll be empowered in dominating the countless generic Amazon FBA sellers. 

Are you building a brand for your e-commerce business?

 

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What Is Product Differentiation and Why Is It Important?

Today I’m going to introduce you to a very important concept: Product Differentiation.

Knowing how your product is unique and different from your competitors can be the thing that makes or breaks it for your business. Especially in today’s crowded market.

We’ll be going over why it’s crucial for your business and its 3 different types, as well as some common examples.

Let’s get started!

What is Product Differentiation?

Product differentiation is a marketing strategy to show a product’s distinctiveness. How is the product different or unique from others in the same category?

Hubspot defines it as:

the strategy used by businesses to highlight the unique features and benefits of its product or service to separate it from competitors. The marketing team communicates these unique qualities through their campaigns and promotions. And the sales team can use them to demonstrate the product’s competitive advantage.

There are many ways for a business to highlight their product’s unique features. For instance:

  • It can showcase the brand symbol and quality
  • It can boast on specific features and style or
  • It can emphasize the unique aspects that make your product superior against specific competitors

For example, Casper, a mattress company, highlights a combination of their product’s features and benefits like comfort and manufacturing right on their homepage: 

What Is Product Differentiation and Why Is It Important? 48

Why is Product Differentiation Important?

Think about the times you go to the grocery store. Each aisle is filled with products from different brands. There’s 5 selling the same type of yogurt.

If you’re not able to inform the consumer HOW you’re different from the rest, there’s no reason to buy your product over another. And in many cases – especially for more established brands – the differentiation comes from their name alone. This mainly comes from their reputation for consistently creating products that may be high quality (or low quality).

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Safeway Orange Juice vs. Tropicana Orange Juice: People are willing to pay double for Tropicana

So in a world where we have so many choices, having a product differentiation strategy sets the foundation that defines your business and how other’s perceive your brand compared to your competitors. 

But of course, saying you’re high quality doesn’t exactly mean much, since anyone can say the same. Finding the characteristics that are important to your target market is then crucial to showcase your differentiation.

This means spending the time to research the behaviors of your target market to uncover their specific pain points and what they truly desire. With that information, you can formulate the features and benefits that potential customers actually care about and perceive as value. This would provide the basis of your product differentiation strategy and direct all marketing and sales messaging. 

What Are The Product Differentiation Types?

There are three types of product differentiation: simple, horizontal, and vertical differentiation.

  1. Simple Differentiation makes a certain product set apart from the rest. The difference can be easy for customers to determine because it is obvious. Think of a regular rice cooker versus rice cooker with a removable steamer lid.
  2. Horizontal Differentiation focus on a single feature. The price may be the same as the competing products and doesn’t focus on the superiority of quality. Yet, it offers a different feature or functions. For example, think of a digital camera and a film-based camera. Both can give you a good quality photo but has different features.
  3. Whereas, Vertical Differentiation shows a product’s single characteristics. Customers are aware of its unique quality. It stands out among the rest even though there is a great difference on the price. A Levi’s 101 jeans stand out from the rest even though the price varies between other jeans in the market.
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Examples of Product Differentiation

Let us take a look at some product differentiation examples.

Apple Macbook Pro

What Is Product Differentiation and Why Is It Important? 50

Apple is a multinational technology company (you may have heard of them ;)) that produces super popular products like the iPhone and MacBook Pro laptops. Apple has been highly touted for its sleek ergonomic designs and simple Operating System (OS). That is their differentiation factor.

People know that buying an Apple MacBook Pro won’t get you the most ram or processing power for the price you chalk up, like you would from another brand. Nor will it have the most advanced technology built in or varying customization capabilities. 

But certain students, video editors, businessman, and creatives choose to purchase the MacBook because of its form factor and an intuitive OS. And those who do require top of the line processing power or customization, they tend to be the ones who build their own computers. 

And in recent years, Apple has attempted to increase the power of their laptops to cater to some of the professionals who do require the extra oomph. This makes it more attractive for potential customers who may be eyeing at the Microsoft Surface.

What Is Product Differentiation and Why Is It Important? 51

Razer

What Is Product Differentiation and Why Is It Important? 52

Razer is an award-winning gaming accessories brand that is well known for its keyboards and gaming mice. Their DeathAdder mice recently reached the 10 million milestone and has been one of the hottest gaming mouse for the last decade. Razer continues to release new iterations of the Deathadder and continues to boast the very qualities that made it so famous: its sleek design, comfort, and optimum performance.

What Is Product Differentiation and Why Is It Important? 53

These qualities define their differentiation strategy. They are the very characteristics that are heavily sought by their target market: casual and hardcore gamers.

As a cherry on top, Razer uplifts the credibility of the Deathadder by mentioning how League of Legends pro, Faker, uses their mouse and has won championships. This acts as social proof and truly cements the quality of their product and difficult for other gaming mouse brands like Logitech to compete.

Takeaway: Find the pain points of your customers. Then create your product features and marketing around how your product solves those frustrations.

In business, competition is hard. It is important to think on product differentiation strategy. It is a key element to market the product, create a longstanding brand, and capture a segment in the market. Otherwise, you’ll have difficulty in connecting with potential customers who are busy looking for a product that truly speaks to them and gets their attention.

 

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How To Overcome The BIGGEST Fear That New Entrepreneurs Have

Today I’m going to talk about the BIGGEST fear that so many budding entrepreneurs have. Even seasons entrepreneurs have trouble with this.

When I was first starting out, I was also super scared. I felt like I was alone on this journey.

I felt crippled. 

But eventually, I was able to combat it and overcome this fear. I’m going to share with you my tip on how you can beat this fear too.

Let’s dive in.

The Fear That Cripples So Many Entrepreneurs

The biggest fear that entrepreneurs have is the fear of the unknown.

It cripples entrepreneurs from taking action.

It cripples entrepreneurs from having the confidence to make a decision.

Whether it be signing that new lease, buying their first batch of inventory, or starting their first business, it is a fear of the unknown that stops them.

Do you remember when you were growing up…as kids, we were always scared of the dark. But now as adults, we know that there’s nothing lurking in the dark. Yet there’s this sense of insecurity because we can’t see what’s going on. We can’t see what is in front of us.

The root of the fear of the unknown is the inability to see something.

So to combat and to actually thrive and to win from this is the ability to visualize. That is how you defeat the fear.

And that’s the number one asset that entrepreneurs need to have is the ability to visualize.

The Ability To Visualize

Think back to the first time went on a date. I’m pretty sure you spent hours (or days) anticipating how the whole thing would go down.

Like every single detail, you thought deeply about it…

You’re anticipating from picking her up to how she would react, to approaching to the restaurant, to having a wonderful conversation, engaging with her, making her laugh, flirt a little bit with her, trying to impress her a little bit, to bringing her home, giving her a peck on the cheeks, being a gentleman, and hopefully get invited for a cup of coffee.

Sounds familiar? 

So prior to going on that date, you most likely visualized how the whole date would go – from beginning to end. And you can do this with your business too.

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Everyone Can Visualize

How To Overcome The BIGGEST Fear That New Entrepreneurs Have 54

When it comes to business, it’s the same thing.

You too can visualize how it can turn out by asking yourself a series of questions like:

  • What’s gonna happen?
  • Now that I have my product, what should I do?
  • Now that I have my product, what should we do with marketing?
  • Now that I have the product and now that I’ve marketed from this strategy, how should the people feel when they receive my product?

I do this all the time and it keeps me going, it keeps me super engaged, and it keeps me awake at night because I’m so excited to go about building the business.

Because I already see how this whole thing will play out.

And the more you ask yourself these questions and the more you get exposed to business, the more you can visualize something. Your experience will help make your visualizations more vivid and realistic. 

It’s just like going on a date. The more dates you go on, the more you can visualize how this whole thing would play out.

And it’s a skill set that you can actually hone, and it’s a skill set you can develop.

It Stops Becoming Scary

Then you can actually go ahead and go date that girl and start that new business of yours.

It’s the ability to visualize your idea and the project that you’re working on.

That’s what’s gonna combat the fear of the unknown – the ability to visualize.

Once you turn on the light, there’s nothing to be scared of.

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Why Product Positioning Is Crucial For A Successful Business

It has become easier than ever to create your own product or to source them. Places like Alibaba and local wholesale markets has spawned an era of private labeled businesses for passionate and opportunistic individuals to take advantage of. 

And with so many places and channels for someone to potentially see your item, product positioning has become one of the most discussed business strategies.

Not having the right positioning and strategy could mean a huge loss of time, money, and brand equity.

What is Product Positioning?

Why Product Positioning Is Crucial For A Successful Business 55

Product positioning is a form of marketing that presents the benefits of your product to a particular target audience. Through market research and focus groups, marketers can determine which audience to target based on favorable responses to the product.

Shopify

Basically, product positioning is carefully and strategically putting a product in front of a certain target audience to generate sales and revenue.

It is a form of marketing that requires a high level of research to place a product and create favourable feedback from the targeted market. It involves nailing down the visuals, feelings, and words used to market to a specific demographic. 

For instance, the words and imagery of a sleek modern minimalistic watch would be entirely different when it is shown to busy fashionable women and to the businessmen in their late 20s to early 30s. 

Daniel wellington - product positioning example
Photo Credit: Daniel Wellington

The market research for each of those target audiences found different interests that the positioning

Product Positioning vs. Product Differentiation

Why Product Positioning Is Crucial For A Successful Business 56

You’re probably wondering how is product positioning different from product differentiation?

While product positioning focuses on a niche of audiences, product differentiation focuses on the qualities of the product and comparing it to what its competitor cannot offer.

The goal of product positioning plays a huge role in building the necessary bridge between your company and the market you’re looking to target.

Let’s take a look at the 6 Types of Product Positioning you can apply to your business.

6 Types of Product Positioning

1.) Customer Benefits Focus

This is one of the most used strategies used out there. From the word itself, you are using the key beneficial qualities of your product and market it in a specific audience.

For example, your company sells adorable little plush dolls. Of course, you wouldn’t market these to the male audience. What you can do is present the qualities of your products to the female kids since they’re the ones who will most likely appreciate the product.

2.) Quality Approach

Why Product Positioning Is Crucial For A Successful Business 57

As for the quality approach, you are marketing your product while highlighting the quality of it compared to the other brands.

For example, if you were to buy a car, would you settle for a used dealership or a completely brand new model? Coming into this, you’d assume that the former is cheaper in quality than the latter.

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3.) Application Marketing

For this method, you are marketing your product for a certain use. This way, you can set up a specific audience and work from there once it grows bigger.

For example, if you are to market swimwear…Naturally, you will do this in the summer since this season is where swimwears are often used.

Once you establish a market, regardless of the season, you can introduce more products that would entice your audience without compromising loyalty – a foundation you established during summer.

4.) Product Process

Daniel Wellington Ambassador Instagram Post
Photo Credit: Daniel Wellington

This is one of the most used product positionings that you may not have even noticed.

You use a model as a representation of your market and use that as a bridge to your audience.

For example, you want to market high-end tote bags. Like every luxury brands out there, you can hire celebrities or supermodels to market your products and set a standard within the community or your target audience.

5.) Product Class

A simple technique that only requires you to set your products within a certain range as an alternative.

Let’s say you are to market lip balm for example. You wouldn’t put it in the dairy section, right? What you would do is position it in the beauty section of a certain market and build your engagements from there. It’s a simple method that often works if done right.

6.) Cultural Symbols

As one of the widely used methods of product positioning, here you are setting your market within a certain culture.

You are creating an engagement without compromising the cultures of these places to show respect and build a market within them.  This is also defined as using a cultural symbol to create a market engagement.

To use an existing example, nudity is one of the most prevalent symbolism in today’s music industry. Several albums from artists like Shakira, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry were all marketed globally that explicitly shows graphic covers. To respect certain cultures, the labels decided to photoshop these covers for them to market them in countries where female nudity is a major offense.

As you can see, there are a lot of things you can do if you want to position your product in a certain market.

You can choose to focus on one strategy or make a hybrid of two or three of these to make a super marketing plan for your products.

Of course, do not forget to conduct research to as this will be a vital component before the execution. 

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How To Choose The Right Business Idea And Opportunity To Start

As an entrepreneur, my mind is always filled with new business ideas and opportunities.

But which one is worth the time, energy, and money?

With already 3 businesses (I like to call them projects) running and managing over 100 staff…I have to choose which project to start carefully.

And even if you’re just starting your first business, it is crucial to pick carefully which to really sink your energy into. Because choosing the wrong business to start may result in some massive setbacks in your life. And even though people say that “failure” is good, you should still be strategic about which business to build.

Even if the whole project goes south, you’ll end up learning a lot more if you go through the process methodically and with intention. 

Here is how I decide which business to start:

Have The Key Components And Resources

When it comes to business development it really comes back down to what are my chances of winning as opposed to yours.

Me VS. You.

Whenever I look at a business opportunity, I see whether I have all the key components and the resources to make sure that these components are all taken care of.

If I do have all these things, I honestly believe I have an incredibly larger chance of success compared to you.

Basically my chances of winning > your chances.

How To Choose The Right Business Idea And Opportunity To Start 58

There are two key components and resources for this to happen:

1) Having A Major Advantage In Your Industry

When I was creating my ice cream brand, 720 Sweets, I thought about the major hurdles and major advantages that is important when developing a dessert chain.

Ask yourself: What is the biggest obstacle and advantage you would have when creating your business?

For any food and beverage business, that would be your supplier since it comes back down to the quality of your products. One of the biggest costs when it comes to developing a product is also connected to your supplies.

If you can control that, it’s a huge advantage for you compared to others.

I was fortunate to be connected with the owners of the biggest Bubble Tea suppliers in Western Canada. It also helps that they own a high-quality tea farm in Taiwan.

Finding him as a resource and as a partner was important when I was deciding whether or not I wanted to enter this business.

If he wasn’t on board, I most likely wouldn’t have chosen to be in the ice cream and bubble tea business.

So when you’re choosing what business to start or amongst the different business opportunities, see whether you have a major advantage over the competition. 

2) You Must Have A Dedicated Spearhead

How To Choose The Right Business Idea And Opportunity To Start 59

The second component and second resource I look at is whether there is a dedicated spearhead for the business.

Because I’m handling multiple different projects at the same time, there must be a spearhead who is 120% dedicated into that project. That person, that spearhead, needs to be extremely dedicated and committed right from the get-go and all the way to the end.

If you’re purely focusing on one business project, you can take the place of being the spearhead. This is most often the case if you’re starting out. You would be the person who manages the daily operations and strategic vision of the business. 

Luckily, I was able to find Brian, who became my partner at 720 Sweets. He’s been super dedicated throughout, which helped support the operation of the business. He became my spearhead for my ice cream business.

By having a major advantage through my supplies and having a dedicated spearhead, I was able to go ahead with this ice cream business.

At the end of the day, it happened because I was resourceful when it came to this business.

If I were to open this shop versus you were to open this shop, I would have a bigger advantage in doing so. My percentages of winning would be at least 60% to 70%, in comparison to everyone else in the market.

That’s when I decide to enter into business. And that’s how you should think when you’re choosing the business idea to start. 

What do you have that increases your chance of success compared to others?

Many people will say that they don’t have the same resources and same network as me to create that advantage. But I disagree with that. 

The key is to be resourceful and create that advantage for yourself. 

How Do You Be Resourceful?

A lot of times when a budding entrepreneur, they try to do something, they handicap themselves by thinking that it’s all them.

That they are the ones that are in charge of developing the whole business. That they’re not going to reach out for help. As if it is a solo mission.

But that shouldn’t be the case. Each person has a network that can create that major advantage for you. 

It is about whether you have the guts to reach out for help. To put yourself out there. 

Here’s how:

Audit Your Circle

How To Choose The Right Business Idea And Opportunity To Start 60

Look at your circle of friends and look at what they do.

Whether it be your relatives, whether it be your uncle, uncle’s dad, or your dad’s friend…Look at what do they do and what kind of resources they have access to.

Where do they work? What is their position? Who do they know? 

When you’re able to really fully audit your whole resource and your whole connection, you would start to naturally fill in the gaps.

For instance, if I was launching a new food product, I would think who in my circle would be able to help spread that. I know that Jason’s the guy that knows all the Instagram Foodies and Bloggers, I would talk to him for help or for a partnership.

When you can start being creative and resourceful around the people that’s around you, that’s going to increase your level of success. The chances of you succeeding in the business is when you become resourceful to the people around you. 

What If You Don’t Have A Network?

How To Choose The Right Business Idea And Opportunity To Start 61

A lot of people ask me when they’re first starting out: “I don’t know anyone. I don’t have any network. I can’t start this business or I can’t do E-commerce because I don’t know anyone in the game.” 

That is only an excuse.

It takes years to develop relationships that you can count on, but that shouldn’t hinder your level of success just because you don’t have the connection to do so.

Nowadays, there are so many networking opportunities out there with meetup.com and with business associations in your city. These are the places where you get to meet new people in your industry. 

And when you put out the intention of seeing your friends and family as a potential resource, putting it out there as, “Hey, can you make an introduction to someone you know who does this?”

When you put that intention out there, automatically they would have someone in mind. 

If someone asks you, “Hey, I want to start an ice cream shop. Who would you go to automatically?”

You would be like, “Oh, Wilson. I know Wilson. He started an ice cream shop.”

It is putting the intention out there and seeing it from a different perspective. Not seeing them as someone that you poach or someone that you take advantage of.

This is how I choose amongst the many business opportunities available. I encourage you to look at the resources you have available to you. Do this by seeing what major industry advantage you could have and having someone who will put their 120% into the business. 

Being resourceful is the number one way to achieve those two things. This means auditing your circle of influence and going out there to network with people.

All the greatest business owners in the world didn’t have the network either when they first started. You need to be creative and be uncomfortable. 

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How To Avoid Burn Out As An Entrepreneur

How do you avoid burn out as an entrepreneur? What is the best way to avoid burning out?

That’s the number one question that I get.

When I first started a business it was very, very tough.

I still remember when I was at a Christmas dinner with my girlfriend after three months of going hard 12-hour days, every single day. Prior to the food coming, I was on the phone for more than 10 times.

My phone was ringing off the hook.

I was running a tutoring service at that time and it was actually during finals seasons. So, everyone was just giving me back to back calls.

I didn’t even feel like I was at dinner. I didn’t even know what I ordered.

We were eating at a place where you cook your own steak on a hot sizzling stone plate. So, when I came back I was kind of pissed off. Like why is my steak well done? What’s going on?

My girlfriend was told me, “Your steak has been here for 20 minutes.”

That really, really hurt me.

That really made me feel so guilty and shameful of what I was doing. Eventually, I started burning out and didn’t go back to work for a long time.

It made me really reflect on why I was doing what I was doing and how I should approach this whole thing differently.

Finding What Is Important To You

Man on sofa feeling burnt out

A lot of us have these different kinds of moments that put things into perspective of what is truly important to us.

Is it all work or is it all family or is it all relationship?

For me, it’s all about the balance between being able to take care of yourself physically and emotionally, taking care of your family, your significant other and your friends, and then your business.

Having these different pillars in my life allowed me to not burn out because I know that my life consists of these six different pillars. If I put too much attention in one and neglect the other, I’m not going to have a strong foundation.

Right now I’m operating three different companies at the same time and managing over 100 staff. Yet, I still have time to take care of my family, my loved ones, myself.

It is all because of the fact that of understanding what I truly value. Understanding what keeps me grounded and seeing things in perspective.

It really comes back down to you.

  • What do you believe in?
  • What are your values?
  • What are things that are not negotiable for you?
  • What makes you truly happy?

Don’t Avoid The Problem

If it’s about all about business success, then you go full steam on it. You’ll never burn out if that is truly what makes you happy.

But if you use work as an excuse to avoid other problems, you’re going to burn out. Sooner or later you’re going to burn out.

Even if you don’t burn out in the next few months, it’s not going to be effective work.

Now when I go to work it’s much more effective, it’s much more efficient because I know for a fact that I only have this much allotted to finish my work. Then, I need to move onto taking care of my family. Then, I need to take care of myself. Self-development, business, all these different chunks. It’s about knowing your balance, knowing your values. That’s what’s going to prevent you from burning out.

Next time you’re thinking about how to avoid burning out, ask yourself: What do you truly value? What are the non-negotiables? What makes you truly happy?

Once you have those answers, hold tight to them and be true to them and be honest with yourself.

That’s how you avoid burn out.

What Is Branding and Why Is It Crucial For Your Business

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When you see small, colorful circular chocolates; you don’t have to check the signature “M” to tell what they are.

You know they’re M&M’s.

When you see the golden arches that band together to make a letter M…

You know it’s McDonalds.

Even without seeing the name of the product, the name of the business instantly pops into mind; along with the feelings and sentiments you have for them.

That’s the power of branding.

What is Branding?

What Is Branding and Why Is It Crucial For Your Business 62

But what exactly is branding?

Let me help you better understand what branding is by starting off with the definition of a brand.

A brand is a depiction of who you are as a business.

It also illustrates how you wish to be perceived. Brands exist only in the customer’s’ minds. The sum of all customers impression about you is what your brand is.

Branding, on the other hand, is a companies’ marketing practice to create a name, design, symbol or logo to easily identify a company with. Through branding, a product is identified and easily distinguished from other products and services.

Branding gives customers a memorable impression. It is a way to provide customers with what is to be expected from a company.

Branding helps you

  • Stand out,
  • Be distinguished, and
  • Choose why you are a better option because of what you can offer.

Branding is an essential asset for a company. It helps in developing and leaving a lasting positive image and impression in the minds of consumers.

Branding should also be integrated into online activities, especially for Amazon FBA sellers. With branding efforts, a brand’s reputation goes above and beyond original product services and offerings. This allows for tons of revenue brought forth to a brand.

Why is Branding Important?

Branding is highly critical for the success of any business.

Branding delivers an overall impact to a company. It is so pivotal that it can change the way consumers see and perceive your brand. It can also be used to increase brand awareness and drive in new businesses.

A lot of Amazon FBA sellers make the mistake of not making a conscious effort with branding. They think that people slapping a generic logo on a product is enough.

But it isn’t.

And with so many people selling the same private labeled product as you, branding is one of the biggest factor that sets you apart from everyone else. It also means avoiding the race to the bottom by offering the lowest prices.

Here are 3 reasons why branding is crucial for your business:

1) Branding Provides Recognition

What Is Branding and Why Is It Crucial For Your Business 63

One of the most definable reasons why branding is important is because of how it helps a company gets recognized and known to people. To bring a face to a brand, a logo is created. A vital element of branding is a company logo.

However, logo generation should be done professionally.

If you want your brand to be taken seriously, make the necessary efforts to provide a professional logo design that is memorable, impressionable, and catchy to a consumer’s attention.

LEGO is an example of a brand that has built recognition over the years.

LEGO started in 1939 just as a brand that makes wooden toys in Denmark. But with great branding, it has turned itself into a multi-billion dollar company around the world. From making toys, LEGO has now a theme park, movies, and even a factory where it allows customers to build custom creations.

All of these are made possible because of its iconic design, font, and constant creativity of branding.

2) Branding Attracts New Customers

What Is Branding and Why Is It Crucial For Your Business 64

Strong branding will help your business get a positive impression and leave familiarity and dependability in your brand. Getting business referrals will be a breeze when people know you in an affirmative way.

With an established brand, word of mouth comes easy and it works wonders in advertising your brand even without you moving a finger.

Just like in building your brand in the Amazon marketplace, a door can open up externally.

You can start up as a newbie and develop a product that can sell in Walmart or other large retailers nationwide.

If you properly brand your product, use a platform to sell, and deliver a killer brand experience; you can grow your business exponentially in more ways than you can imagine.

3) Branding Develops Trusts

What Is Branding and Why Is It Crucial For Your Business 65

How you present yourself helps you win trust among your competitors.

Branding allows you to appear professionally in the eyes of consumers. Depending on how you strategize your branding, consumers will trust your company and what you have to offer if they see you as someone is is well-polished and professional.

People are more likely to trust a brand that exudes familiarity and consistency.

If you are a buyer, what would you rather get –  an iPhone or an unbranded mobile phone?

The answer is simple, iPhone all the way!

Apple has strongly identified the iPhone as the mobile phone to beat. The Apple brand speaks volume of professionalism and higher quality because we know it. We are familiar to it.

When you see a product that has no brand, you will feel that the item is of lower value and quality.

You might even think that they will not offer after-sales support since you do not know who they are and who created them.

And there’s no feeling that can be connected to the product without a brand name attached to it. You lose the ability to connect with the customer and build an audience that would talk about your business to others.

The importance of branding to your business is not something that you should keep a blind eye from. Building a brand is critical to solidify your business’ chances to succeed.

These are just some of the reasons why branding is important, but they all point to you starting on building a brand.

If you are a digital entrepreneur or an Amazon FBA seller, it’s time to consider bringing branding into your business. Branding should be the core and building block that you should focus on to cement your place in the competitive world we live in.

 

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