In today's marketplace, it's essential to know what your competitors are up to. Being aware of your potential client's other buying options will allow you to answer the question, “why should I buy from you?”
Here are some of the ways that you can keep an eye on the competition and benefit your own business as a result.
Think SEO (search engine optimization) — if you Google your name and those of your competitors, whose name comes up first? Make sure to include the same high ranking keywords they do in your company description.
Are they using social media properly? By monitoring your competitors' social media accounts, as well as their website, you can keep up-to-date on company or product announcements.
- Is their website user friendly?
- Are they running any special offers or promotions?
- Can products be found quickly?
- Are their services and availability advertised clearly?
- What about their check-out? Do they offer payment alternatives that you don't?
- What do their customer reviews say about them?
If you have employees on staff, consider hiring a secret shopper to rate the service offered by both you and your competitor. You may even want to visit your competitor to experience their service for yourself. Make sure that you are both targeting similar audience types before making too many changes based on your discoveries.
In some cases, studying the competition will allow you to develop a better brand identity. Although both you and your competitor may be selling similar items, you need to come up with a reason that customers would choose your brand over theirs.
Explore coopetition. Coopetition is a concept that involves collaborating with your competition to benefit both businesses. You may trade services with another business, both offering up assistance in your respective areas of expertise.
While studying your competitors, you may discover business copycats. These copycats may come along and steal your ideas or re-purpose your ideas as their own. It is frustrating, but it may also be the push you need to identify your next challenge.
Remember that the customers you have served well will be brand-loyal and stick with you knowing that you can deliver your product or service on time and at a price they find comfortable. Continue doing what you do best and let the copycats fall by the wayside while your business grows!
[This article was originally published on the Canada Business Network blog]