I haven’t had a chance to review all 2 billion websites on the internet, but I bet most of them would fail what I call:
The “White Out Test”
Which is where, if you took white out tape and covered up any identifying branding from your site…
Would the copy — the words, tone of voice, etc — still indicate it’s from you?
Or could you slap any of your competitors branding on those same words and it wouldn’t really make a difference?
It’s a good exercise to make sure you’re bringing your “uniqueness” in your marketing.
Let me give you a recent example…
Last year my wife and I were on our honeymoon biking down the coast of California. We decided we’d cap off our trip at Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo (no relation to the Queen of Pop…)
Now, if you’ve never heard of it, Madonna Inn is this sprawling compound with 3 themed restaurants, tennis courts, a full spa, and 110 rooms — each with its own theme. It’s this one-of-a-kind mix of kitschy and quirky.
For example, their themed rooms like this…
We stayed in the “mountain cabin” room.
Love it or hate it, there’s one thing you can be sure of…
You won’t find another Madonna Inn. It’s entirely its own category.
They know what makes them different and go all out with it.
Even if you took off the branding… it’s still clearly the Madonna Inn.
Now on that same trip, we also stayed at a Days Inn (San Simeon didn’t have anything fancier)
It was fine. It got the job done. Imagine every other cheap motel chain ever… and yep, that’s the one.
Now here’s how this applies to your business:
A LOT of business owners I talk to want to be the Madonna Inn of their industry (okay maybe not specfically… but they want to be in a league of their own)
No one wants to be the “Days Inn” of their industry.
But the problem is…
In practice, a lot of entrepreneurs act and market themselves like a Days Inn.
They look around at what everyone else is doing. And then do the exact same things.
Which means they blend in with all the noise.
If you feel like the market treats you like a commodity, take 10 minutes and ask yourself this question:
What is something that only I can give my customers? What about my business or how I run it puts me in a category of one?
It doesn’t have to be groundbreaking, either. A small personal touch that only you provide customers can help set you apart.
Once you’ve done that, take a look at your website and marketing materials…
Does your website clearly communicate this difference?
Are you clearly positioned as unique and different?
Would your customers consider you a “Madonna Inn” or a “Days Inn”?
If you’re the latter, you’ve discovered a great opportunity to improve how you communicate your business to the world.