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This week, I’ve been doing a lot of reflection of some of my favorite marketing projects over the many years I’ve been working in corporate marketing. And one I keep circling back to is presentation for a road show I helped write around the fable of a Peacock in the Land of Penguins.

It was a presentation that my boss at the time, the Vice President of our division, did for the customers who showed up. These were small events, generally somewhere between 30-60 people. The event was a full-day of presentations, a mix of product training, management training and inspiration.

This particular presentation was designed to inspire these small business owners to be bold and different in their marketing.  Now, admittedly, the fable isn’t exactly about marketing. It’s really more of a tale of corporate culture and diversity, but the heart of the story really worked and my boss was set on it.

If you don’t know the fable of a Peacock in the Land of Penguins, then watch the video here and come right back. 

Watched it? Love it? Such a good story, right?!

And can’t you see how this relates to the success of an online business? 

We need an openness to new ideas because, heck, we definitely don’t always know what we’re doing when we’re wearing all the hats in our business.

A willingness to listen to our clients and ideal customer to be sure we’re serving them well.

An eagerness to learn, because we need to wear a lot of hats, and even if we hire out tasks we still need to have some knowledge of what’s happening. 

A desire to continue to grow and a flexibility to change when things just don’t go as planned, or a better opportunity surfaces. 

So my point of sharing this with you today, besides just the fact that it’s a good story, is that success in the land of opportunity came because each bird was unique. The fact that everyone played by the same rules, with the same ideas, held them back in the Land of Penguins.

And often we see this in ourselves when we’re marketing our business.

We use sales copy that’s just like everyone else because, hey, it’s working for them, right? 

We send emails that are like what we see others do.

We do exactly what we see others do, in the same way, because we want the success they have.

But, let me tell you, most entrepreneurs are making the same mistake.

They aren’t putting themselves in the copy. They aren’t infusing what makes them unique in their emails. They aren’t building as strong of a connection with their audience as they could, because they’re afraid of standing out too much.

Differentiating your business is not just about what you offer, and what price you offer it for.  It’s about the way you uniquely show up.

As Marie Forleo says, “There has never been and never will be another you. You have a purpose – a very special gift that only you can bring to the world.”

If you don’t know Marie, I highly recommend you check out her video show Marie TV. It’s amazing.

But why should we bother being different?

  • Being true to ourselves helps us make true connections – that’s the goal of marketing!
  • Being unique helps us stand out and be found, be memorable
    • The more people who find us, the bigger impact we can make
  • And just as important as it is for you to know who your ideal client is, it’s equally as important for your ideal client to know you’re right for them.

But, like with the story of Perry the Peacock, differentiation is HARD at first.

It’s often counterintuitive to what we’ve been told growing up. We’re told to blend in, to be like others to be accepted. We’re told NOT to be polarizing, but to find common ground. To compromise. To share that toy. And that’s needed in some situations.

But being polarizing is EXACTLY what you need to draw in those who need you most, and push away those who just aren’t the right fit for what you offer.

And it’s a bit scary. 

So, friend, what makes you different?

It’s your personal experiences.

You can use your personal experiences to both establish your authority in your niche, and connect with your audience on a more personal level. You can use experiences to show you’ve been where they are, and how you’ve push through. You can also use experiences to show you are a normal, everyday person who likes the same things they do; making whatever transformation or outcome your helping them achieve look achievable.

Values and beliefs. 

Similar to experiences, you can use your personal values and beliefs to draw in your audience. This assures them they are in the right spot. Sharing your values and beliefs builds trust, and can build authority. Have an opinion that is different than others in your niche? Stand by that, share why you have a different opinion, and use that to stand out from the crowd.

Sharing your successes and failures will set you apart.

If you’re only sharing client testimonials, then here’s a way to dig a little deeper to build a stronger connection with your audience. Just be sure when you’re sharing failures, you’re also sharing what you learned, how you got through it, or how you plan to get through it.  You’ve got to give a little light at the end of the tunnel to show that you can guide others, and to keep it inspiring rather than just sad and depressing.

One thing that can be hard to share is our goals.

Too often we only think of the financial goals, and that is something that can feel a little awkward to share. But our goals are so much more than that. You can share goals of upcoming launches or the creation of new products and services. This gives you the opportunity to ask for feedback, or to prime your audience a bit so they can get excited about what’s ahead from you.

If you’re stuck with understanding what sets you apart, or where you’re different from others in your niche, ask those closest to you.  Whether its a spouse, good friend, your virtual assistant, or even your favorite clients; those closest to you will likely be able to quickly tell you how you’re unique.

Once you have a good grasp on what sets you apart, now you can put it into action.

  • Look for ways to incorporate what sets you apart in your social media. These points can make great copy and great social stories!
  • Review your website and be sure it reflects you.  Does the copy sound like you? Does it pull in those you’re looking to serve, and push away those who aren’t a good fit? 
  • Add a little YOU to all of your emails. Make it a goal to have your audience feel a little more connected to you with each email. Connect what you’re sharing in your email to your beliefs, experience, success, failure or goals. Use short stories to help draw them in, and leave feeling like they know you just a little better.

If any of this is overwhelming, confusing, or if you’re just really excited to get started – I’d love to hear from you in the online community!  

Being a bit more of a peacock, and adding myself to my business is definitely a goal for me this year.  And my hope is this leaves you with some inspiration to be more yourself as well. Like in the story of Perry the Peacock, the Land of Opportunity is there, and it’s a land where being ourselves will only make us more successful.