• Samantha — small business owners are traveling down a slippery slope once they start giving “preferential” treatment to certain clients or customers. It’s also not a good idea to give deep discounts, for example, to family members or friends — once again, a very slippery slope!

  • @Melanie: Exactly, many business owners forget this and they start to treat customers differently, based on the amount of money they spent which is totally wrong 🙂
    You too have a great New Year Melanie!

  • You’ve nailed it, Samantha — “customer care” counts! And it doesn’t matter one bit if your customer has spent $12 or $1200 with you. Every single satisfied buyer can spread goodwill for you and your business.

    Thanks for knocking on my door today and have an amazing New Year!

  • “Give your prospects, customers, and clients something they can’t get anywhere else.”

    If you can do that, you can dominate any niche, no matter how many competitors you have there. Also, respect your customer, no matter how small or unimportant it may seem, she/he is still your customer and will help you grow your business.

  • Thanks for the visit, Brian, and let me say you’re in really good company with Mike. He’s a wonderful human being and a darn good blogger. So allow me to complete the circle here and tell you I met Mike through Sheila Atwood’s blog. It’s a small (blogosphere) world and it’s getting smaller every day. 🙂

    I see so much of the “copycat” approach online – particularly in autoresponder emails. I’m on quite a few lists and sometimes I’ll get the exact same “canned’ message from three or four people on the same day. YUCK.

    Individuality rules as a online marketer and small business owner!

  • Hi Melanie,

    Came here from Mike Paetzold, and glad I did! I cannot agree strongly enough with what you say – I learned in my first sales job not to sell the product….but sell myself. As you said, there are many similar products out there, but only 1 me and only 1 you. This is what many folks don’t understand, how important relationship marketing really is.

    Kudos on a great post! 🙂

    Brian Schilling
    Skype: GoTravelGo

  • Good points, Walter!

    We can always learn something from ‘authority’ blogs and bloggers. But we will always maintain our own unique perspectives in our respective niches.

    Thanks for stopping by to share your thoughts and we’ll see you in the blogosphere! 🙂

  • When I started blogging on my chosen niche, I was overwhelmed at those authorities and their influence. I envy them, yes, but I also learn from them. One thing that keeps me going is the knowing that I have something that others don’t have, I have my own writing skill and certain level of understanding. So definitely I do agree with what you have written here.

    Thanks for the inspiration. 🙂

  • It’s a deal and a date, Deb! I’ll be in touch. 🙂

  • Haha Melanie! You’re so cute!

    I’d love a “Look Who’s Talking” post from you. Would you, by any chance, be making fun of me? LOL. How fun.

    You write anything you want and it will be my pleasure to add it to my blog.

    Much love!

  • Trust me, Deb, Martha Giffen would look a whole lot better on video than me. 🙂 Kidding aside, I don’t currently have any video-making equipment but it’s on my wish list for Christmas so let’s hope Santa pulls through!

    I’d be happy, however, to craft a “Look Who’s Talking” post for you.

    Your blog rocks!

  • Woot! Amen to that, GF!

    Hey Melanie. I love this post. You, Incorporated. That is so true. It’s YOU that people connect with the most. There may be thousands of people in the same niche, but there’s only one YOU.

    Well said. Excellent advise.

    Btw, would love for you to do a guest post on my blog and introduce my readers to YOU. I’m starting to ask some of my favorite bloggers to do that. Martha Giffen’s blog current blog post spurred me to action on doing this. (You know which one. I saw your comment there.)

    And would you be willing to do a video post? Either way, would love to feature you.


  • I’ll agree with you wholeheartedly, Tristan, and tip my hat to you! “Quality” really is the greatest filter.

    Now I’ve got to dash over to your way cool blog and find out how to get 1000 Re-Tweets. 🙂

    Thanks for chiming in.

  • Great post, Melanie. I think being in a niche with lots of competitors isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Almost all of the blogs out there suck pretty bad for one reason or another. This makes a great opportunity for people who do put a lot of time and energy into their blogs. Quality really is a great filter.

  • Ooh … I love the way your wheels turn, Sheila! And you’ve made an extremely vital point.

    Blogging is a form of social media marketing, right? Well, the doggone key word here is “social”! In any social setting, a conversation is a two-way exchange.

    You’re SO right. Converse “with” your readers and you’ll beat the pants off your competition! 🙂

  • You posted earlier about building relationships….well this is exactly how it is done.

    Communication on the web can be pretty one sided. So you have to shine through and have communication with your readers that is live. Don’t talk at someone talk with them and you will beat the pants off your competitors, on and off line.

  • Many thanks, Lis!

    My dad was an avid fisherman and hunter and he had a saying that went something like, “Don’t ever retreat. Just reload.” For each of us, Dad’s little quip could take on any number of different meanings. But in the case of dealing with competition, I believe the meaning is clear.

    There’s no need to fear or shy away from your competitors.
    Instead, you need to load yourself (and your blog) up with messages that, confidently and uniquely, come from YOU.

    If you follow my dad’s thinking, you’ll have NO competition. 🙂

  • Melanie, you make such good points in this post! As someone who works with people to help them find the right words to boost their visibility online, I heartily concur with your thoughts. YOU are the most unique You there is. No one else will approach your area of expertise the way YOU DO. This is an excellent reminder to those of us who feel overwhelmed by competitive pressures and allow that pressure to diminish our message.

    Another excellent post! 🙂

  • Jeff, Ken, and Kathy ~

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    Jeff – you need to talk to Ken. People are sending him suitcases full of cash. 🙂 Both of you gentlemen are being uniquely “you” in your niche so just keep plugging away. Took me about three years before I made a dime online.

    Kathy – great idea to scout around less competitive niches. I always find a boost of freshness (and wonderful new resources!) on your blog. Thank you for being “you”.

  • I often go to other less competitive niches and look around and see what they are doing to market and promote. I find new ideas and language that I can use to give my site, in a competitive, a little boost of freshness.

  • Plus, you never know who may be surfing the web and just happen to come across your blog and like it enough to keep reading.

    It’s always a nice surprise when someone comes out of the woodwork starting with, “I’ve been reading your blog for [fill in the blank] and now I want to send you a suitcase full of cash..” (or words to that effect). 🙂

  • Jeff Wise

    Yes! I definitely found how to position myself completely different from the competition in a particular niche and I do see many people gravitating towards my style.

    It hasn’t paid off yet as far as business but it’s all about building credibility and getting your name and work out there right?

  • I hear ya knockin’ and ya CAN come in, Barbara!

    It’s great to be singing with you in the same choir — even though you may sing soprano and I may sing alto. 🙂

    I know what you mean about that “scary concept” but I’ll be honest. I just sit back and scratch my head when people find it challenging to simply be themselves?? What would be easier, then? Being someone you’re not?

  • Ah, for me, you’re preaching to the choir! 🙂 I always say, sing your own song because what *you* have…can never ever ever be duplicated at all.

    Challenge is, many folks find that just too scary a concept. 🙁