When it’s not enough to become visible in a crowded marketplace, research your top three competitors. Gain a competitive advantage by studying your competition to assess their strengths and weaknesses. Determine your own position in terms of competitiveness. Implement changes using the information gathered as a direct result of your research to build up your business to offer more value to your clients.
First, decide who your top three competitors are. Then use the ten points below to research the three competitors you’ve chosen. Download a free Competitor Research document to record your findings.
1. Research Their Social Media Accounts
Pay careful attention to their social media platforms. What kind of content are they creating? Are they using video, podcasts, blog posts and memes. Look at what they post. How do they engage with their audience? What is the tone of their voice? Study their audience. Follow your competitors to see how frequently they post to social media while paying careful attention to the time their posts go live.
2. Website Research
What does their website look like? Is it appealing? Does it have attention-grabbing features? Is it clean and easy to navigate? Ask yourself what do you like about it and what can be improved? What features are missing? Is the site cluttered with content? What added value can you provide for your customers on your website? Good web design is an easy starting point to promote your business from, particularly with clear, crisp and easy to navigate pages utilising quality content. “Your website is the centre of your digital eco-system, like a brick and mortar location, the experience matters once a customer enters, just as much as the perception, they have of you before they walk through the door.” by Leland Dieno – Face The Book with Your Small Business
3. Google Research
Type certain niche keywords into the Google search engine
to see how quickly your competition comes up in search results. See how they rank for each of those keywords and compare your business results by conducting the same research.
“Do you know where to hide a dead body? It’s on the second page of Google because nobody goes there!”
4. Is your competition blogging? What topics are they blogging about? How do their blog posts look? Are they using a call to action on their pages?
You may wish to curate relevant posts your audience will find interesting. Avoid directly copying anyone’s work without their express written permission. No permission is required for adding paragraphs and quotes. Add references to the source of your information to give credit where credit is due. You may also wish to consider the services of influencer guest bloggers and depending on the size of your business, the experts within your company may wish to contribute posts and articles about topics in their area of expertise.
5. Paid VS Unpaid Marketing If you’re currently conducting unpaid marketing (organic marketing) and business is slow, consider promoting your posts with paid marketing. Learn ways to market to your target audience because organic posts offer very limited reach. Promote only your very best posts. TIP: How well a post performs organically is typically a good indicator of how it will go during paid marketing ads. Your competitor is probably conducting paid marketing, therefore, increasing their reach and their chances of being seen. As yourself what other ways are your competitors increasing their reach? Are you linking to other reputable business sites and having them link back to yours? (Backlinks). You may wish to hire a marketing agency to help you get the most return on investment (ROI).
6. Visit their Business Location (supposing they have one) Taking a look at the whole marketing funnel of a business is essential to help bring understanding about a largely overlooked aspect of the business. The impact we have on others on an emotional scale is really unforgettable. Each business should aim at professional excellence in everything they do, from correspondence, right down to customer services.To get started, analyse their customer services. Are they polite, attentive or do you feel ignored? How do they make you feel like a person when you ask questions? Is their store well presented? Are items easy to locate? What experience do you walk away with?
7. Study Their Google Ratings and Reviews In a competitive market, Google ratings and reviews carry a lot of weight. What did customers like about their business? What did they dislike? Research the competition for their ratings and reviews.
8. How is their Branding?
Look at their website. See their social media. Compare it to yours. Is it memorable? Is it relevant? is it good? How do you provide value? Is it time to rebrand? Send them an email to see how they reply. How does their branding look now?
9. Competitor Keyword Search
Find out how well your competitors rank against the keywords you are currently using. Type in your keyword and select the country. Sign up for a free account. The free account has limited access however, small businesses may benefit from it. Try Sem Rush
10. Document all of the above to get the most out of your research.
Visit my Freebies page
to download your free Competitor Research Word Document.
Hopefully, these ten tips will be helpful. However, there are certainly more ways to study our competitors.