As a business owner not only do you have to figure out the market demand, offer products and services that fulfill the needs and wants of customers but also keep a sharp eye out for competitor activity so that you can stay ahead and grab a larger market share. By undertaking competitor analysis, you can figure out what new products and services they are introducing, what kind of advertising they are using, and how they are planning to outsell you. Gathering market intelligence can be tough if you don't know how to do it the right way. Some tips on gathering competitor information:
Know Which Companies You Are Up Against
The best way to identify your competitors is to use Google and other search engines. Find out how high they are ranking and whether they are directly competing with you for the same target audience. You will also have the opportunity to study the contents of their websites to be able to figure out why the search engines are giving them good ranks. Local businesses can also perform similar searches, including their locations and names of the products or services to find out who they are up against. Again, the pages getting the top ranks will give you an idea regarding the preference of the search engines. If you sell multiple products, it is very likely they may be referred to in different ways by different customers. To know the search terms, your competitors are ranking well for, you can conduct searches by the individual products and services and also their variations, suggests Eric J Dalius.
Analyze Your Competitors' Websites
Visit each of your main competitor's websites and see what kind of information they feature there. Also, see how the products and services are displayed, what kind of promotions are conducted, whether they have case studies, videos, or testimonials. Investigate the kind of headlines being used, the navigation system in place, and what the pages are focusing on. Look at every constituent of the web pages they are ranking high for and see how it is different from your web pages. Look especially hard at the kind of CTAs being used and where they are positioned. The main intention of this analysis is to figure out the features that are common to the websites of high-ranking competitors but may be missing from your website.
Track Competitors' Social Media Accounts
Many of your main competitors will be active on various social media accounts and you should make it a point to follow them there to find out about their new product launches and promotions. Also, conduct searches to discover the accounts of their employees and find out what they ate posting. By liking their posts or commenting on them, you can establish a relationship that may come in handy when you are looking to recruit people. You should also investigate who their followers are to see if you can engage them and make them your followers because they could very likely be potential customers.
Subscribe to the Email Lists of Your Competitors
Another very effective way of keeping tabs on your competitors is to subscribe to their email lists. You will then be able to receive all the emails that they send out to their customers that can be a goldmine of information regarding new product information and promotions. You will get to know when they are planning to hold sales, engage in CSR activities, or conduct special drives for repeat business. This will help you to plan your marketing campaigns more effectively.
Study the Ads Released by Your Competitors
Depending on your business sector, there can be many options for your competitors to advertise. It can be very helpful to track the advertisement campaigns to find out what your competitors are focusing on and how they are trying to attract the attention of their target audiences. Typically, you can expect to find competitor advertisements on web portals, shopping sites, social media platforms, search engines, newspapers, TV, and on-ground events and promotions. According to Eric Dalius, by tracking what they are advertising, you can learn more about customer preferences and trends that will help you to tweak your marketing focus appropriately.
Collect and Study Their Product Brochures and Sales Literature
Typically, product brochures contain a lot more information than what is available on websites so they can be invaluable sources of information. You should also make a conscious attempt to collect all the different sales literature the competitors are distributing during their promotions and events. Finding out the kind of information being shared or even the focus of the companies on different products can give you a good insight into market preferences and buying tendencies. You can also carry out a comparison with your literature and plug the information gaps or tweak the design to make them more effective.
Set Google News Alerts
Gathering market intelligence is an ongoing affair, which is why you should set Google alerts for your main competitors, the industry, and specific products and services, etc. so that you get to know immediately when there is any mention of these in the online media. With these alerts set up, you will be able to know when your competitors are getting mentioned in online media.
Keeping track of your competitors is critical to stay ahead in an intensely competitive world. In addition to the above tactics, attending trade shows, participating in seminars, getting feedback from customers and vendors can get you invaluable insights into the operation and best practices being followed by your competitors. Market intelligence on OEM vendors and manufacturers can also reveal a lot of information on which products the companies are planning to push in the short-term. Additionally, using online market intelligence and analytics tools can help you to find the backlinks of your competitors as well as the main keywords that are being used by them for bidding and their campaign spends. While you can gather a lot of data on your competitors' activities, the real test is in how you can interpret them and put them to use for improving your performance.