Remember when you last walked into that Apple retail store? It was really hard walking out empty-handed, wasn’t it?
Why is that? What makes Apple so special? How does their market share keep escalating? Why do fanboys rave all day about them? What’s their secret?
Apple consistently uses a handful of techniques to simply out-perform their competitors, both in the creation and the marketing of their products.
Here are six of those techniques that you can borrow to create your own Apple-like “unfair advantage” — a loyal market that’s eager for everything you have to offer.
1. Apple puts their customers first
Apple’s goal is unsurpassed user experience. This is their number one priority. Everything else is related to how customers respond to their products.
Apple handpicks the tile for their retail stores. They hide the wires, cash registers, and clutter so the audience can focus on their products. They keep the tables and glass squeaky clean.
They give away lots of stuff, too. They offer free wifi. They let you play with their computers — and they have an unlimited number so nobody has to wait. You can spend all afternoon playing on an iPad. When you leave, the staff smiles and tells you to come back, even if you didn’t buy anything.
You can see why Apple stores are always the busiest in the mall.
How you can use it: Remember that if you want anybody to listen to you, you’ve got to write for them. Deliver content that educates in an interesting way. Become obsessively attentive to what sparks their interest, and give your readers and customers more of that.
2. Apple is impeccable in their design
Apple’s dedication to design is so strong that the design team has precedence over the engineering team. In other words, the designers dictate the mold and user experience, and the engineers have to match the hardware so it’ll fit inside.
Steve Jobs, the CEO of Apple, wants his products to be like “fine jewelry” — beautiful, crisp, and exact. He’s not just making electronics. He’s creating art.
Though most people think of Apple as a technology company, they’re actually a design company that reframes existing technology. Sony had the MP3 player long before Apple did, but Apple created the iPod. They proved that consumer-oriented design is critical.
How you can use it: Don’t shortcut on design. There are lots of great-looking WordPress themes out there, there’s no reason to do without killer design on your blog and landing pages.
Use great design to enhance the content experience for your readers. This can’t be stressed too much.
3. Apple knows how to write good copy
Subscribe to their sales letter to see for yourself. They don’t send stuffy reports. The letter is mostly made up of pictures, with a bit of humorous teaser copy to accompany it. It’s a joy to read, even if you already have the newest iMac.
Whenever Apple sends a newsletter, they have something important to say, and they say it concisely. They never pitch you for an outdated product that’s six months old.
How you can use it: Apple writes their three-sentence sales letters very carefully. If you’re writing a blog that runs hundreds of words per article, you need to be spending hours of hard work creating dynamite content. It’s a good bet that you should be spending 2-3 times as much time writing your content as you are right now.
4. Apple ships 200% of expectations
From beginning to end, the experience of buying and enjoying an Apple device is seamless and delightful. Apple packages their hardware carefully so even the box and wrapping are a pleasure.
Should your computer need repairs, the support is fast, phenomenal, and often free.
How you can use it: Pay attention to the details that deliver a superior experience to your readers and your customers. Deliver more than you promised. See how much value you can pack into everything you produce.
5. Apple doesn’t ship too often
Apple updates their products just once a year. This ensures each product launch is thorough and polished to perfection. It means they don’t wear out their audience with lots of noise and chatter about mediocre, minor updates.
How you can use it: Yes, you need to ship, but go for quality over quantity. Just getting something out there doesn’t mean anything if it isn’t remarkable. You’ve got to make it worth clapping for.
Try posting a little less often, but make those posts doubly valuable. And keep your buyers hungry by making product launches a rare treat, which will help make sure each one is excellent and well-planned.
Minimize your noise. Control every word you put online. As you develop a reputation for quality engagement, people will pay close attention to what you do say. Have you noticed how everyone quiets down when Steve Jobs takes the floor?
6. Apple redefines consumer demand
Apple doesn’t let their competition determine the design or pricing of their products. They stay clear of the status quo and bravely pioneer new ideas. The result is that they’re always first to the game (sometimes because they’ve invented a whole new game from something that already existed), and start scoring points before other players arrive.
Someone once said, “The artist gives you what you didn’t know you needed.” When Apple launched the iPad, tablets had been available for a couple of decades, but consumer demand was marginal. At the end of 2010, less than a year after the launch, Apple had sold nearly 15 million iPads. They reinvented a market that nobody thought was viable.
How you can use it: Apple didn’t invent the tablet computer. Or the cell phone, or the MP3 player, or the nice-looking laptop.
Just because a market is “saturated” doesn’t mean you can’t show up and be successful.
Refresh and tap into abandoned ideas. Analyze pre-existing ideas and products, and ponder how you could make them better. Find your own exciting hook or interpretation. Once you get a vision, roll up your sleeves and revolutionize the market.
There you have it, Apple’s six lessons you can’t ignore. By following in Apple’s footsteps, you can turn your blog and your business from mediocre to excellent.
But remember, your competition is reading this post, too. Don’t procrastinate — change your direction today!