Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Substitute enemies with competition and suddenly this old adage has practical meaning for today’s business owners.
Sitting complacently on the throne of past victories is not a strategy for continued business success. Keeping on top of trends and controlling market share isn’t even enough. You need to know what’s working for your competition, too. What attracts customers to another company instead of yours? Don’t send your brother to apply for a job at the competition under the guise of “fact-finding” (spying). We’ve gathered up the 6 best ways to conduct competitive research without landing anyone in hot water.
Before you start your research, it’s a good idea to know what you’re looking for. Competitive research identifies your competition. It further gauges the pros and cons of their business as well as their products or services. Good competitive research shows you what you’re up against, where gaps are, and what trends you aren’t utilizing.
As a business owner, you have direct and indirect competition. Direct competitors want the same customers you’re chasing using the same product or service. Indirect competitors may use similar products or services with slight differences. Or their product is the same butt hey pursue a different target audience. Identifying both types of competition helps you in the long run. It’s useful information in case you need to pivot in the future.
Start with a google search for the same product or service in your area. Several websites like these make competitor searches much easier
Another way to gather information is to go straight to your salesforce. After all, these are the people who run into the competition daily when calling on your customers. And if they don’t personally see a competitor, it’s a good chance your customer will tell them all about them. Salespeople know what the other side is offering and what deals they’re getting beat on. Don’t take your troops for granted, they have a lot to share.
You don’t need to keep up with your competition.You need to blow their doors off! This phase is the most time-intensive. However, it pays off handsomely with the information you can gather. What social platforms are they on? Do they use blogs? If so is the content engaging?How often do they post? What is their website experience like? Have you ever googled your product? What keywords come up to find the product? The answers to these types of questions will show opportunities for you
The best way to know what your competition does better than you is to experience it for yourself. No, this doesn’t mean we’re sending in your brother now! Instead ask yourself, are you on your competition’s email lists? Why not? That’s free information you don’t even have to make an effort for. The same thing applies to social media accounts and blog postings. These experiences give you a first-hand view of how your competition interacts with its customers. Purchase one of their products to test out their customer experience.
Go straight to the horse’s mouth for this one.What do your competitor’s customers have to say about them? Look at everyonline review, blog comment, and social media feedback you can get your handson. You want to take note of both the good and the bad. Good reviews cansuggest improvements for your own company. Bad reviews have two benefits.First, you can benefit from improving your own products and methods. Andwithout getting a bad review, if you have similar circumstances. Second, badreviews give you an opportunity to market your company to its lost customers.Fill a gap people need.
Spread the love and the facts on a spreadsheet. Collected data reveals trends in marketing, pricing, and more.This is a system to tweak and develop. Your competition will never vanish.Tracking and monitoring need to become part of your weekly or monthly business practice.
These tools don’t replace the previous phases, they enhance them.
Here are the top 4
● SpyFu - shows which keywords are bought onGoogle by websites.
● Owletter - tracks email marketing to show whatworks and what doesn’t.
● BuzzSumo - shows how your content compares toothers
● SEMrush - has over 30 tools to track SEO, PPC,keyword research, competitive research, and more.
Implementing competitive research is not as hard as it sounds. Getting to know your competition better allows a different perspective of your customer, too. Monitoring them makes you and your company better by providing opportunities to improve.