Every business has competitors, especially if you’re in an industry that is saturated. Researching your competition is important for every business and is even a part of writing your main business plan, (Titled, “Competitor Analysis”) but why do we do this? Why is it important to research who your competition is?
We need to research our competition in order to monitor their behaviors, their marketing efforts, their products & services, etc… Knowing what your competitors are doing and what their next move might be will give you a competitive edge and let you stay ahead of them. It will allow you to plan your launches, strategies and next move so you can keep your customers/clients and even gain new business. The point of competitor research and analysis isn’t to steal customers away from your competitors, it’s just to be aware of what your competition is doing and to ensure you don’t lose business by your competitors doing something that you aren’t.
When you’re conducting competitive research or analysis you should record the following in a document or spreadsheet:
Strengths of the business
Weaknesses of the business
How is their on-site SEO?
How is there social media?
Do a simple Google search
It’s important to start your competitive research/analysis by doing a simple Google search and identifying your top 10 competitors. If your business is further niched it’s important to find the competitors that are within your particular niche. (i.e. If you’re a business coach for service-based businesses make sure you find other business coaches for service-based businesses. General business coaches will probably have a different strategy than you do.)
If you find more than 10 competitors you should comb through their websites to find the 10 that closely resemble your mission, target customer, products, etc… Find the 10 that are most like your business. These are the competitors that you are going to want to focus on.
Find their financial reports
Whether your business is a professional organization or a small business you should be able to find financial and income reports from your competitors. These are important to read since you should know how your competitors are bringing in the majority of their revenue and what their most popular products are that are selling the best. If you’re an entrepreneur or solopreneur you should look for monthly income reports that would be contained in blog posts. Most solopreneurs publish these income reports on a monthly basis and this is a great way to find out what they’re doing to make money and can give you ideas of other avenues to pursue to bring in more income to your own business.
How is their advertising?
Next, you should do some research on their advertising. Do they pay for advertising for their business? Is the majority of their advertising and marketing on social media? Do they use print advertising for their business? How are they getting the eye of their customers and bringing them into their business? You should compare their marketing efforts to your own but remember every business has their own marketing budgets and your marketing budget may be significantly lower or higher than that of your competition.
What are their customers saying?
Social media is a very powerful tool when it comes to finding out information about your competition. You can do a simple search to tap into the conversations between your competitors and their customers to see what they’re saying and how they’re handling customer engagement. You can also do a simple search to find out what issues their customers are having. Is there a way that you can improve upon your own products or services in order to answer their questions or address their issues? Listen and analyze every mention that is addressed to your competitors and go from there.
The above is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to conducting competitor research. There is much more strategy that goes into analyzing what your competitors are doing but this is just a simple outline so you can begin your analysis and start to become familiar with your competition.
If you want an in-depth competitive analysis done Infopoint Virtual Solutions can help! We’ve done hundreds of in-depth analysis and we have our own systematic way of getting this done efficiently and correctly. If you need assistance with your analysis please contact us to schedule a free discovery call. We can help you become much more familiar with your competitors and can help you get ahead of your competition.