Knowing who your competitors are and what they’re doing is an important part of your business strategy. It can help you protect your revenues and avoid unnecessary loss. While many business owners are unsure where to begin when doing a competitor analysis, it can be quite simple. Before beginning the analysis, it is important to understand the goals behind performing a competitor analysis. A few of these are:
- Determine which competitors you are in closest competition with
- Understand their strategies and plans
- Anticipate how competitors might react to your actions
- Develop a strategy to influence your competitors’ behavior
These are just some of the most common goals of competitor analysis, but individual goals could vary from company to company. The following steps can help you become more knowledgeable about your competition and how to accurately plan for the future.
- Find and visit your competitors’ websites. Most business owners know who their competition is, but websites such as SimilarSites.com can help identify competitors. Once on a competitor’s site, evaluate the competition’s prices, descriptions of services, staff, segments they are targeting, and customer testimonials. This step is one of the most time-consuming, and you should take notes and begin to develop a profile of competitors.
- Visit the competition’s social media pages. These pages are a great place to see if your competition is running any contests or promotions. You will also be able to see what kind of social media engagement your competitors have, and if they are having any success. Social media will also reveal if the competition is involved with any local events or charities.
- Check the Google News directory to see if your competitor has been written about lately, and if they have, consider whether you can replicate the efforts.
- Do Google searches of industry keywords to see not only which competitors come up in the search engine results, but where — the higher a business is in search results, the more traffic it’s likely to have to its site. Compare these results to those of your own business, and take the time to perform multiple searches with a variety of keywords.
- Business owners should check industry association websites to see if their competition is listed. These sites can also be used to view lists of exhibitors at past trade shows. Knowing where and when the competition is exhibiting could be a huge advantage.
All of these steps can help you build profiles of your competition and better understand their strategies and procedures. This analysis can also provide you with new and creative ideas you may not have previously thought about. This analysis can also help you recognize any inefficiencies or gaps in your own marketing plans.