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November 18, 2010
Statistics show there are at least 5 of your direct competitors within a 10 mile radius which creates an extremely competitive landscape for your business. Similar to taking care of your home landscaping, you need to consistently research and monitor what is growing around you and your company. However, if you fail to do so, your competition will grow to the point that it overtakes your current clients. With that in mind, we want to help you keep tabs on your competition so lets take a look at a few tips to capitalize on the analysis opportunity.
Secret Shopping is Second to None -- Yes, this actually means that you will visit your competitors and take the process from start to finish. Ask in depth questions, try to get annoying, push buttons, and make them feel good with finally giving them the sale. The goal is to make sure you see everything that is done within their business including how they react to client issues.
Search the CEO -- Research everything and anything that you can think of with regard to the people that run the companies that are your direct competition. You want to find out their education, their business background, personal and professional strengths and/or weaknesses, their business decision trends, etc. All of this information that you gather will help map out and foresee your competitors' future moves.
Poll Past Patrons -- If you want to get an accurate idea of how they continuously treat their clients then you need to seek out and ask those individuals. Now, this is not the easiest thing to do, but it certainly will yield some of the most useful information, and feedback that you can utilize immediately. Talk about the company's strengths as well as weaknesses, why they keep buying from that company, and what they wish that company provided as a product or service.
Intuition from the Internet -- Google, Yahoo!, Bing, and any other search engine is your best friend as it pulls up any and all information on a particular company within its search results. It is, by far, the fastest and most efficient means to collect information. The downfall, however, is that you have a very limited scope of available web content if the company is not a large one.
Fill Up with Public Filings -- While internet is the most time efficient method to collect information, searching public filings is absolutely the opposite. However, you can find out an unbelievable (and almost infinite) amount of information that you can utilize to scale and size up your competition.
Try Out Trade Shows -- There is no better place to hear about the benefits of your competition than to visit a trade show in which they are participating. You will hear and see all of the spammy content, and you will also see how they interact with other industry professionals as well as a wide range of audience. Take the time to attend these events and you will definitely gather a significant amount of knowledge.
Do It All Yourself -- Listen, I fully understand the time commitment that is needed to engage in competitive analysis. However, the only way that you can entirely understand and experience your competition is to do all of the above yourself. As you travel through the process, you will learn more and more about your audience, your competition, and (in general) your own company.
Prior to any of our work, we complete a competitive analysis process with you to help reach the full scope of your unique project. Should you need any help completing or initiating a competitive analysis please feel free to contact us today.
If analytics is something that you are interested in for your small business but don't know how to get started, contact us today to schedule your free marketing analysis.
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Image Source: HubSpot, “The 2011 State of Inbound Marketing”, E-Marketer.com
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