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No one starts a business – invests capital and sweat equity into an entrepreneurial effort – without dreams of setting a higher standard in his or her market. If you have something of value to offer and you feel these goods or services can truly make a difference in people’s lives, then simply achieving a level of brand recognition may be shooting too low.

Yes, you want people to recognize you. This is and will always be necessary. But, what you want over the long term is to achieve market dominance.

Though somewhat sinister-sounding, market dominance isn’t about, say, aggressively knocking down your competition. It’s the opposite.

Dominating your market is an internal exercise. It requires that you know yourself and your market, then build from within – from your strengths and weaknesses – to seize opportunities as they present themselves.

It’s about ensuring your market doesn’t just know you but is glad to know you and considers you a top expert in your field. And, it’s about succeeding today while also laying the groundwork toward long-term sustainability.

Achieving true market dominance, however, is a journey – one you can start today by considering the following tips:

Know Your Market

What’s the market you want to dominate? Is it a particular town, city, or region? Who within this area are the key decision-makers most likely to be drawn to your goods or services?

It’s hard to dominate a market when you don’t exactly know what that market is. Putting in the effort to define your market – the entire market, as well as key subsets within – will not only help you focus your business and marketing efforts. It will also prevent you from wasting time and resources on less-focused strategies with less ROI (return on investment).

Find a Niche

One of the best ways to set yourself apart is to offer something your competitors don’t – something that perhaps appeals to a different market or demographic. Whether it’s a new product, innovative service, or a cutting-edge piece of technology that can improve customer satisfaction, such niches open a channel through which new customers can get to know you and your business. Finding your niche will help you stand out in your market while providing opportunities to engage with more people.

Identify a Target Audience

Promoting your business through a targeted marketing effort is essential if you want to continue to grow your customer base. But don’t just throw messages out into the world and see what sticks. Get more out of your promotional efforts by targeting particular audiences within your market.

Get to know their lives, the ways they communicate, their struggles, and their pain points. Then, meet them where they are in their lives with solutions that speak directly to them. Targeting audiences allows you to establish more meaningful, long-lasting connections with potential customers, ensuring you remain top of mind when they need you.

Be Authentic

As customers continue to become more educated and savvy about the world, they want to feel good about where they choose to spend their money. It’s no wonder, then, that authentic marketing has emerged as a way for brands and businesses to pull back the curtain, so to speak, on who they are and what they value.

Being authentic in your marketing and promotional efforts is to portray clear values, honesty, transparency, and general decency to your audiences. Creating a clear identity for yourself and your brand can help ensure more profound and genuine connections with potential customers.

Tap Into Emotion

Emotion is a powerful force, even in business and marketing. Multiple studies have shown that when you can effectively tap into an audience’s emotions, your brand becomes more memorable, you can better drive purchasing decisions, build greater customer loyalty, and your content becomes more shareable. Who doesn’t want this?

One of the powerful ways to establish an emotional connection is through storytelling. How has your product changed lives? How have your services empowered those who need them? Personalized stories add heart to your business efforts.

Show Social Proof

Showing success, satisfaction, and transformation in others is a powerful way to establish a compelling reason for prospective clients to try out your business. Such “social proof” is a critical ingredient in achieving market dominance, especially in today’s digital age.

The pursuit of coveted five-star Google reviews is one common way businesses today strive to establish social proof. Customer testimonials, social media engagement, and outside awards/acknowledgments also serve as solid and effective elements of social proof. The bottom line: it’s essential for all businesses today to establish a strategy for continually generating and promoting these customer kudos, especially online.