The online marketplace has a steep learning curve, one that is marred by a complicated trial and error process that punishes you each time you get something wrong. The easiest way to set yourself up for success is to study how your competitors launched their business and avoid the mistakes they made. Did you know that athletes analyse and study footage of their rivals to create a winning strategy?
The same practice, when applied within the context of businesses, is known as competitive analysis. If done right, you can always anticipate what your competitors are doing or plan to do and stay one step ahead. After all, you’ll need all the help you can get to stand out from the crowd.
Proper competitive research helps you identify industry trends and adapt your market campaigns and strategies to keep up with your competition or out-do them entirely.
1) Identify Your Main Competitors
There are many sources to help you identify your competition. Start with search engines. Use terms such as, “industry name” + “name of your location” on Google to see what turns up. The top results are likely going to be key players in the industry. They must be doing something right to feature on the front page of the internet.
Likewise, you can use Trustpilot, and even phonebooks such as Yellowpages to identify your immediate competition.
2) Research Their Customer Acquisition Process
Check out your competitors’ social media pages to see how frequently they respond to clients. Visit their websites to see if they use live chat or a similar feature to generate new leads. Try to interact with them on their social media pages. Pose as a customer to get an idea about how they interact with clients. Finally, try calling them over the phone to see if they redirect you to a real human or a bot.
Learn how your rivals acquire new customers and try to beat them at their own game.
3) Use SEMrush to Identify Backlinks
Tools like SEMrush and Ahrefs help you uncover third party websites that link back to your competitors. Prepare a list of around 10 such websites and send them emails to request for backlinks to your website. If your competitor could do it, so can you.
SEMrush also reveals what keywords your competitors are actively targeting to rank higher on search engines. Try to rank higher for these specific keywords using an appropriate SEO strategy.
4) Identify Their Strengths and Weaknesses
It helps to understand their strengths and weaknesses. Look at their website and try to identify the following metrics:
- Is the website user-friendly?
- Is navigating the website easy?
- How are the menus structured?
- How do the colour scheme and website theme stand out?
- Who is their payment processor and how does it integrate with their shopping car?
These and more questions will help you restructure your own business to improve customer service and enhance the bottom line.
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