You might have heard the adage “there are no friends in business”. It’s a very old saying, and an even older philosophy. Times change, and in an increasingly competitive landscape one of the most powerful tools at your disposal is the ability to acknowledge your competitors’ strengths. Once you’ve done this, you can learn from them and grow.
With this in mind, competitive research helps you to make informed market decisions, discover new products, and learn from others’ successes and mistakes. It’s a straightforward process, and sometimes it really pays off to be introspective. Here’s how to do it.
Categorize your competitors
Make a list of your competitors, both direct and indirect. Track this in a Google sheet so your whole team can create live updates. Note their name, industry, website, customer base, and their position within the marketplace. What are their Unique Selling Points (USPs) for example price, unique services etc.?
Investigate every aspect
When it comes to investigating your competitors, you need to think like a customer.
- How does their brand/service make you feel?
- Are you drawn to their USPs?
- Are they easy to find?
- Are their services easy to access?
Research their online presence and look at what you think they’re doing well and ways that they could improve. Take note of the key phrases in their SEO and see if you can follow their lead with your own. You can use Google Trends to get a jumpstart on this and see what people are researching in your industry.
Remember, while you may be competing against any number of similar businesses for clients and market share, your competitors are facing the same challenges that you are. There’s a lot you can learn from them, and who knows – they might even be researching you as well.
Looking to learn more from your competitors? Check out this helpful infographic, and keep it nearby when you’re doing your research.