An essential step of your online marketing should be to: identify your competition, analyse their strengths and weaknesses, and then compare it to your business. Sometimes companies have a hard time identifying their actual competition, which may cost them valuable information or make changes to “better compete” with a firm that is not in their niche. Below is a list of five ways to identify your company’s true competition and how to benefit from their experience.
By analysing your competitors, you can get a free masterclass on what to do - and what to avoid - in your industry. It also gives you an opportunity to see gaps in the market and focus your marketing communications on promoting your solutions to these problems. In conclusion, by studying your competition, you can save time, money, and reduce risk.
Keep your friends close but your enemies closer.
There are 5 types of competitors: direct, potential, indirect, future, and replacement.
Direct Competition describes the businesses that are in the same niche as you, in the same area. This is generally speaking the competition that you should spend the most amount of time analysing.
Potential competitors are companies that offer the same sort of product/service but aren’t selling in your market area and aren’t likely to do so.
Indirect competitors are competitors that are in the same industry and area but sell different products/services than you.
Future competitors are in essence potential competitors, which are likely to enter your niche. If your business is the leader in the market then you should focus most on these companies.
Replacement competitors are businesses that offer an alternative to your product/services that solve the same problem for your customers.
Knowing which category your competitors fit into will allow you to target the appropriate one with the majority of your resources.
The first step in identifying your online competition is to do a Google search. Even though this might seem too simple, it’s a good place to start as this is exactly what the majority of your customers/potential customers will do. Begin by identifying the keywords that people use to search for businesses like yours, or that are related to the problems that you address. You probably already have a list of keywords you’re targeting for SEO, but if you don’t, then think about the sort of things your clients would search for that would bring up your business, then just make a list of all the businesses that come up on the results page.
Chances are that you have already checked out your competitors’ websites to see what they offer and what they look like. However, next time you visit their website, focus on:
It’s much easier to see the strengths and weaknesses of website design if you can see it right in front of you. With this being said, do not blindly follow what your competition is doing; if you don't think it's going to work for you, don’t sacrifice your business’ values and style. Your aim is to stay relevant and modern but still unique.
You don’t have to follow your competition’s social media to keep track of what they are posting and how they are interacting on these platforms. Here are some of the main things to focus on when you want to learn from your competitors’ social media:
Improve your social media by understanding what works well and what doesn’t, using your competition as an example. By keeping up to date with your competitors' social media you will make sure that you won’t miss any major developments that could potentially impact your business.
Another place you can spot your online competition is on websites offering product/service reviews. These include Trustpilot https://uk.trustpilot.com/, Checkatrade https://www.checkatrade.com/, TripAdvisor https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ and many more. They often play a pivotal role when a customer chooses their preferred business. When reviewing these websites, focus on:
Online content can often be reused and recycled, use this to your advantage and remind your customers periodically about your feedback on your social media and website.
Competitor analysis should be done consistently for it to remain up-to-date and to inform you if your strategies are working. It will ensure your online presence is always relevant and that your business won’t get left behind the competition.