How to Differentiate Yourself in A World Full of Robots

Every company seems to brand themselves as “different.” How cliché.

Especially in an era when “different” is like a red flag. It lets you know that I’m about to list a ton of facts and awards trying to convince you to buy something from me.

It’s like the cattle call for MLMs – “listen to me because it {actually} works!”

We tend to get overwhelmed by all the nuances offered through digital advertisements. It’s almost nauseating. Companies are stretching further and further in an effort to over-promise things on a regular basis. We’re always buying things we don’t need and borrowing money we don’t have because marketers are smart. They sell us what we want and give us what we need so we keep coming back for more.

Complete CRAP is marketed specifically toward our weaknesses, and they use emotional triggers to reel us in, chemicals to make us dependent, and more distractions to make us forget how we’ve been manipulated.

We buy lottery tickets, bitcoin, Stevia, Acai, Agave, and whatever the latest trend tells us is a “miraculous cure all” from deep in the jungles of Southeast Asia.

But these “remedies” don’t seem to solve even the simplest problems…

We’re Suffering

We’re one of the most capable, individualistic, vocal, and least motivated societies in history. In a few hundred short years we’ve become one of the sickest, most dependent, and stressed societies to ever have a major economic impact on the world.

But here’s the problem: Everyone and every brand is “different.” Just very very slightly. I mean for starters, we share 99.9% of our DNA with other humans, no matter what race, gender, country of origin, etc. And we share 98.8% of our DNA with apes.

We’re Hardly Unique

96% (or more) of what web marketers do is the same. We figure out pain points of the target demographic and offer solutions that play on other weaknesses or pain points.

However, it wasn’t intended to be that way. At the foundation of a free market is a group of entrepreneurs with idea that will improve the overall quality of life for the masses. Those ideas are supposed to simplify things and make people’s lives better in some unique way. This works well until greed and fear take over.

Calling ourselves different from one another no longer means anything in the modern consumer’s mind. It’s like saying, “we have a unique piece of value to offer – that’s not very unique, and subjectively valuable.”

It doesn’t really mean we’re different than anyone else, but sometimes we’re a perfect fit for someone else’s unique needs and preferences. As we like to say, the diamonds are in details.

So What Really Makes Us Unique?

There is so much more than meets the eye with every brand whether personal or professional…

Every individual, product, service, group, social network, a piece of clothing, food, etc – has a specific “feeling” that influences us at the subconscious level. We either despise it or keep going back for more.

Can you explain why Grey Goose has such a powerful reputation compared to other vodkas? Or how Apple is technologically inferior, but completely dominating the market?

How is McDonald’s food such poor quality, but still the go-to for so many Americans?

To understand something in its entirety, it’s important to figure out WHY we prefer something or the root of the problem we’re trying to solve.

Our Story

Darling Web Design began without a backup plan. It HAD to work. It began on a traveling laptop with walk-in visits to local businesses. After cold calling and hours of building free websites, we were turned down again and again. No one seemed to get it.

Today almost every business has a website. Approaching business owners about web design no longer seems to be as appealing or effective as it once was. They think “it never served us any good, why should I spend more money on it.” However, that’s exactly the attitude customers are bringing to your business. They see generic copy, with standard marketing and familiar branding. Then, without thinking about it, lump you in with all of your competitors. Very few businesses speak to their consumers directly.

So we had to face a strange reality. As we became more successful, we had to give up on laurels and cutesie gimmicks to focus on what was working.

Customers are constantly regarded as “one of the masses” – they’re just a number, and their hard-earned dollars don’t mean much. No company gives a crap about the customer if they’re no longer buying, and this is just how capitalism works. Eat or be eaten. So we had to give the customers what they wanted while still delivering what they needed.

Modern businesses rely on indirect, impersonal branding and marketing that targets a very broad audience. This is what almost every business that approached us wanted to do, but that isn’t necessarily what works.

“The problem – when you cast your net wide – is you inevitably catch something you don’t want to catch.” – Edward Felten

Shrinking the Net

So the trick we learned is to shrink our awareness. This applies to individual and corporate brands in any culture, with any kind of marketing budget.

One of the main things we do when we build or redesign a new website is market research. We create archetypes for your customers to identify with. That way Barb, the 46 year old divorced, smoker, who works as a shift leader at Winn Dixie can feel a personal connection with your chiropractic office. Every single post we’ve written and every single press feature speaks to a single individual.

This ensure specificity, and purpose with every piece of content we put out.

After building over 30 websites for our personal & business portfolio, we found that the websites displaying archetypal language and branding performed better. We achieved conversion rates of about 25% on some sites which is well above the 2% industry standard.

The “need to belong,” is a basic human need that you can address with any customer that takes the time to consider beginning a relationship with your brand.

Consumers KNOW you’re in it for the money, but they want to feel that your brand cares about them on a personal level. Maybe you’re not in it for the money, maybe the prestige, or maybe because you’re fascinated with spinal injuries – either way they know you’re likely in business for intentionally or unintentionally selfish reasons.

They want to feel that their health, home, family, and personal dreams mean more to you than any other company. Using archetypes creates rapport instantly.

Upfront Pricing

We also find it easier to get a certain result when the business appears transparent. Part of good marketing is distracting your prospect from the fact that they’re being sold to.

Telling them you’re expensive or telling them you sell bargain items is an easy way to gain trust upfront. They don’t expect you to trust them yet, so upfront pricing works well depending on the industry. Even if you sell a Brazilian Butt Lift for $3,500 – you can lead with a price because you’re the best price on the market.

No one likes the wool pulled over their eyes, and we definitely don’t like to be lied to. If you communicate with a customer that your product is “very expensive,” you’ll position yourself as a luxury brand. If you tell consumers your product is “affordable,” they’ll feel like you care about their money.

Bounce Rates

The bounce rate for most businesses is about 40%. That means about 40% of the people going to your website are leaving without clicking around and investigating you a bit further. That’s really bad. Every time someone bounces off of your site by pressing the back button, you’re losing credibility in search engines.

The bounce rate shows search engines when your website is getting a large amount of single-page visits. This indicates that your website isn’t relevant to visitors and they’ll begin to de-index your website without notice. If your site isn’t mobile optimized, consumers might find that annoying. This also will cause you to be penalized in Google. If your site is outdated, users won’t trust you which also may initiate de-indexing.

A bounce rate of over 70% is considered to be a high bounce rate, and anything under 30% is considered to be low. Landing pages have high bounce rates in the 70-90% range, stores and small business have somewhere in the 20-40% range, and government agencies and banks have some of the lowest bounce rates.

So How Can I Be “Different”

In short, you can’t. The most you can do is be genuine – specific to your personal brand and consumer archetypes. Be patient, be honest, and be authentic. 

Go to the platforms that are known for making genuine connections (Linked In, Thumbtack, etc), and not for rabbit hole click-baity distractions & MLM groups.