When most people hear the word stalker, a bitter ex-lover comes to mind. But when it comes to business, knowing your competition well is important to success in today’s competitive market. So, in this case, it’s okay to be a stalker. The more data you have on your industry and the businesses around you, the better position you’ll be in to more effectively communicate with your target audience, stand out from your competition, and face challenges. Here are some helpful hints to help you get your “stalker” on.
Go on a Fact-Finding Mission
Begin by collecting data and examining your competition. Having this information at your side will help you identify trends quickly and keep on top of their campaigns and efforts to stay one step ahead of them. To conduct a study of your competitors, you’ll want to:
- Read: Read everything you can get your hands on. Look at the competitions’ websites, marketing literature, online reviews, social media posts and their annual report if they’re a public company. Sign up for their newsletter, emails and blogs.
- Observe: Approach the competition as an online customer and examine their sales funnel. Look at their overall customer experience from beginning to end, including how they treat their customers, what discounts and deals they offer, their follow up messaging and the look of their branding, design and photography.
- Examine: Dig deeper by looking at their products/services. Take notes on how they distribute and deliver them, as well as their pricing strategy.
- Talk: Visit their location and buy one of their products to get the customer experience from that perspective. Make sure to talk up anyone you come in contact with. Also consider reaching out to former employees. You can go to LinkedIn and look up people who used to work there.
- Test: Using free analytics testing tools—like SimilarWeb or SEMrush—you can discover several clues as to what’s working for your competition. These sites provide information such as where your competition’s traffic is coming from, which ads are successful, which platforms are helping them achieve that success, and which keywords they rank for.
Analyze Your Findings
When you’re done stalking, it’s time to analyze all your opposition research. First, break your competition up into strength categories, so you can focus on your primary competition. Then, looking at the data, consider the following:
- Determine your competition’s strengths and weaknesses. If it’s a strength, what can you learn from it? How can you do it better or add more value? If it’s a weakness, capitalize on that and work to make it a strength of yours.
- Compare your pricing. You don’t necessarily have to be priced lower but if you are, then highlight it in your marketing. If you’re priced higher, then you need to be able to effectively convey to your customers why you offer a better value.
- Review their marketing. Look at their messaging and consider how and where do they market themselves. Also hunt for gaps in the market or less competitive areas that you can exploit.
- Consider the customer experience. What are customers looking for when they come to them—are they looking for price, experience, quality? Why might a customer choose them over you?
Stalking your competition is not a one-time exercise, but something that needs to be done regularly. Direct Opinions can help you keep an eye on your competition and stay ahead of the pack.