If you are a business owner, you are probably already juggling a lot of hats. You have to be on top of the finances, marketing, digital marketing, product inventory, social media and so much more that it can be overwhelming. But, to be digitally competitive in your chosen market you need to spend some time getting to know your competition. You can learn all about your competitors with a little competitive research. While this might seem like we are throwing one more item on your already full plate, doing a competitive analysis will help by improving your Google rankings, social media reach, your web page, blog post, and user experience.
Why is it Important to Research Competitors?The research you gather about your competitors is often referred to as: “Competitive Research.” This kind of research is crucial to your success as a business. It will arm you with the ability to identify industry trends and you will be able to adapt to competitor campaigns and plan strategies in order to maintain a foothold or out-compete them entirely. You will be able to see what they are ranking for in Google, what keywords they are utilizing and set up a plan of action to increase your Google rankings with search engine optimization (SEO). “By monitoring competitors on an on-going basis you get to know their behavior and so can start to anticipate what they will be likely to do next,” says Arthur Weiss, managing director of UK-based Aware, which helps businesses gain competitive intelligence. “You can then plan your own strategies so that you keep your customers and win (not steal) customers away from competitors.” Do not start panicking yet, there is good news! You can hire a company like Blue Water Marketing, who can not only conduct research on your competitors, but they can also show you how to rank higher than your competitors with SEO tactics. Here are 10 top ways to do competitive research that you can start doing today!
1. Find Your CompetitorsThere are a variety of ways to identify key competitors in your industry, but a good start is with Google and Amazon. There is where you will likely be where you do most of your legwork. You will start with a simple search for your business name, product ideas, and overarching business idea. From there, check out different social media channels, organizations and online communities. This is all able to be completed with no charge using basic sleuth skills. Use this time to see where you rank in Google SERP, search engine results page, and compare that to your competitor ranks. Explore and find out what search queries bring your company to the top of the SERP or what your ranking in Google is. Your goal at this stage of your competitive analysis should be to cast a wide net and discover a comprehensive view of the competitive landscape.
2. Categorize Your CompetitorsAs you find competitors, you’ll want to categorize them into three levels ranging from direct competitors to businesses that don’t currently compete with you, but could easily gain traction.
- Primary Competition: These are your direct competitors. They’re either targeting the same audience or have a similar product or services — or both. These are the ones you will monitor more frequently.
- Secondary Competition: These competitors may offer a high- or low-end version of your product, or sell something similar to a completely different audience. An example is if you’re selling handbags, a secondary competitor might be a Coach retailer.
- Tertiary Competition: This category includes businesses that are tangentially related to yours. This will come in handy when you’re looking to expand your product catalog. These are also great companies to start link building with, as they are not your direct competitor but they are compliment your product or services.
3. Document Brand ElementsNow it’s time to analyze how each individual competitor represents itself. You will want to be as detailed or as general as you prefer, and list items like their tagline to their brand colors. Just remember your goal is to identify similarities and differences, so use whatever language helps you do this. A good list of items you should be noting are:
- Vision, mission, values
- Strength and weaknesses
- Value prop
- Brand promise
- User experience
- Meta descriptions