It’s always a good idea to get to know your competition. By maintaining an arsenal of information about competitors, you can anticipate actions and always stay one step ahead. You can also identifying gaps and opportunities to take a unique approach. But what is a good method for comparing your company with competitors? Here are a few ways you can think beyond the SWOT analysis and dig a little deeper.
Identify who they are
Create a comprehensive list of companies that compete with you for customers. Direct competitors offer a product or service that could pass as a similar substitute for yours, and that operate in your same geographic area. An indirect competitor provides products that are not the same but could satisfy the same customer need or solve the same problem. You can get clues of the existence of competitors by digging into business directories, press releases, Google search for similar products/services or browsing advertisements (or let the digital ads find you).
Once you know the names of your competition, examine the quality of the products or services they're offering. Do they offer low-cost or high-cost products or services? How do they distribute their products? How do they stand out from other similar companies? Who is their ideal customer? Or, if you want to dig a little deeper, evaluate where they stand in the market. Take advantage of online tools that help you asses – such as SpyFu, where you can quickly identify your competitors by using the domain overview tool.
Research their tactics
What marketing efforts are your competitors currently using? The first place to start is their website – where you can examine messaging, site structure, social links, landing pages, blog content and other resources. If they have a newsletter, sign-up for a front row seat to their marketing messaging. You can take this a step further by following them on social media as well. This is a great opportunity to see how much engagement they get and the types of content that drives engagement. You can also use websites like WhatRunsWhere and Adbeat to see the display ads your competitors’ are running on other websites.
Analyze web traffic and search rankings
There are powerful online tools that can reveal your competitors marketing strategies from many angles – including organic search, SEO and website traffic. For example, SEMrush Traffic Analytics offers insights into the competitor’s website traffic and visitor engagement metrics. Their Domain Overview displays a domain’s number of organic and paid keywords, backlinks, and display ads, while Organic Research breaks down your competition’s keyword rankings for you. You’ll be able to see all of the keywords where they get organic traffic, their recent position changes, and more.
Find their shortcomings
What are people saying about your competitors? What can you learn about them in a quick phone call? Read up on customer reviews or comments about a business or product from places like Google, Yelp, Facebook, etc. Try to find as many reviews as possible. If they don’t have online reviews available – reach out to your contacts who may have done business with a competitor to see what they liked or didn’t like. Also, you can always just pick up the phone and give your competitor a call. This tactic can give you insight into the way your competitors do business, ask about pricing structure and sales, or other relevant details.
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Follow these few steps and you’ll be much closer to having a competitive advantage and growing sales. For more ideas on conducting a detailed competitive analysis, just ask On-Target!.