Do you know who your top competitors are? The other businesses who currently serve your customers, who want to serve your customers, or from whom you’re wooing customers? If you don’t know who your competition is, you’re missing a large piece of key marketing intelligence.
Who is your competition?
First, you need to identify the businesses that share your target clientele—and a similar product or service offering. There are any number of martech tools out there for identifying and keeping an eye on your competitors, but you don’t necessarily need to spend a ton of money to find them. You can start with a simple Google search or hone in on your competitors by checking the keywords for which your business competes. If another business shows up ahead of you in a Google search result for key words related to your company, that is a competitor!
You can also ask your customers. Yes, seriously. Add a checkout question to your online store, send an email survey (you’ll get the best results if you offer a small compensation or opportunity at winning a bigger prize for survey participation), or run a social media campaign to find out who else your customers considered before choosing you. If you have a list of clients or customers who’ve left, design a campaign specifically to find out what business they’re using now instead of yours.
“There is a tendency among some businesses to criticize and belittle their competitors. This is a bad procedure. Praise them. Learn from them. There are times when you can co-operate with them to their advantage and to yours! Speak well of them and they will speak well of you. You can’t destroy good ideas. Take advantage of them.” — George Matthew Adams, columnist
Keep your friends close and your competitors closer.
Healthy competition is good in school and sports, but it’s great in business. Once you’ve identified your competitors, keep a close eye on them. You should absolutely be aware of their social media accounts and content, subscribe to their newsletter, and have Google alerts set-up for the top 3 competitors.
Use a tool like Observely to set up an easy-to-access dashboard tracking your business versus the competition. Make it a point to know what your top competitors are succeeding at in their digital marketing, as well as to identify any places their marketing seems to be weak. For example: if your top competitor doesn’t have an Instagram account, but you know your target audience is on Instagram, you should increase your activity and engagement on the platform. Wherever your competition either doesn’t have a presence, or doesn’t have a strong presence, take the opportunity to establish a dominant presence first.
What do your competitors do differently?
If you’re losing more customers to your competitors than you’re stealing, you have a problem. In order to fix the problem, you first need to understand why your customers are leaving you for the other business. Ask yourself:
- How do their prices compare?
- Are their service or product qualities the same, lower, or higher?
- What does their online presence look like? Social media, website, etc.
- Do they offer services or products you don’t?
- Do they offer services or products through a third-party or app?
- What are their customer service and support like?
Once you’ve identified some key differentiators between your business and your competitors’, you can start to address the reasons your clients are leaving.
What are your competitors doing that you like?
This is one aspect of competitive analysis that is often forgotten. Every business has space to learn and improve. If you compete with other companies for customers, identifying what you like about your competitors, you’re highlighting an area where your company can improve.
Some areas to consider when asking what you like (and don’t like—it works both ways) about your competitors:
- Logo and visual branding
- Social media, video, and blog content (content marketing in general)
- Newsletter or email content
- Mission, Vision, and Values
- Customer interactions (check out their social media and review sites)
- Size, revenue, and number of employees (check LinkedIn, Glassdoor, or Indeed)
Keep a list of things you like about your competitors and ask yourself whether your business is also doing those things. If you aren’t doing something, or simply aren’t doing it well enough, you have now clearly identified an area for improvement, as well as an example of a business doing it well.
Use what you know to improve your business.
Once you know who your competition is, how you stack up next to them, and what you can do to compete better, you need a strategy to implement the changes and new efforts. Trying to beat out your competition, but don’t seem to be making any headway? We’d love to help you with a competitive analysis and strategy for stepping up your marketing game to increase customer retention and new clients. Schedule a complimentary phone consultation now to get started.