Inspiration drives us. It makes us realize the potential in each idea or project we have and dares us to be better. When it comes to business, inspiration takes many shapes and forms. Some are inspired by another’s vision or mission and others by the experience they provide to their audience. However, sometimes we get carried away with inspiration and start to mimic exactly what our peers have done.
Inspiration from competition can be motivational when approached in a healthy way. Recreating another’s work can lead to your own special, customized version of it which will set you apart from the rest.
But, if there’s already someone in the marketplace with a business model similar to yours, proceed with caution. Their success might not be easy to replicate, and if you really think it through, you might not want your brand to be perceived in the same way they are.
1. Brand awareness
I’ve previously mentioned how important it is to work on your brand and to embrace it in every single aspect that is related to your business. This is how we set ourselves apart from the competition and how we’re able to effectively position ourselves to customers.
Broadcast your brand promise, mission and vision to your community so they can find you and feel compelled by your brand. These components are very subjective and personal on many levels, so “just anything” won’t be good enough. You need to take a step back and create the best online representation for them. How does it behave? How do you welcome new visitors? How do they connect with you? How do they find you? All these answers have to go hand-in-hand with your brand.
When it comes to web design, creating an experience is one of the most important elements. There are many great websites and brands out there that have fallen short in the mood they’ve set for their community. The experience you create for your users can be as simple or complex as you want to be, but it is always good to know who your audience is and how they might approach and interact with your site (tweet this!).
For instance, if we know which routes our users take in order to land on our site, we can plan for the type information to provide in each of these places. Here, we can help them understand our brand, and how they can benefit from it. It is your goal to make it easy for first time users to find what they’re looking for, discover even more and make them want to come back.
3. Your Community
Each community has its own way of consuming content and approaching new products or services. How we display images, messages and the amount of information on each of our pages needs to be planned for our community.
If someone is on your website looking for quick tips on a certain subject, you need to make it easy for them to find what they’re looking for and satisfy this need.
If your community is looking for inspiration, you should make visual content your main priority. Enable them to connect with your social networks (such as instagram, Pinterest) in an easy, one-click action.
On the other hand, if your community is comprised of on-the-go types, you should create a simple mobile experience that loads fast. (Think of readability and sharing options first!)
Each group will have its own needs which will help us craft the content, layout and architecture of your website.
4. Your Voice
No matter how successful your competition is, your voice won’t necessarily be their voice. By “voice” I mean the way we communicate with our audience, how we craft messages and interact. A brand’s voice is a mix of words and visuals, and is another complex layer that will allow you to connect with your audience and so that you may be found easily. This voice will connect with your ideal customer – not just anyone.
5. Feeling comfortable in your digital skin
We’ve talked about web shame before, and you know there’s nothing worse than feeling ashamed of your brand’s online presence.
The more comfortable you are with your website, the more compelled you will be to update it, share it, experiment with it and test your ideas. Today’s consumers are very picky when it comes to content and updates, so once they sense that they’ve landed on a place that has been forgotten, they will perceive that brand negatively and will not return.
When you are proud of your digital skin, it is reflected in how you portray every page, sentence, widget and feature on your website. That feeling is the best any entrepreneur can have!
Keep it simple – keep it valuable to your brand.