Marketing and strategy management processes are vital to business.
You should monitor your competition on a regular basis so that you can learn from your lessons, keep current and ahead of the game, and to progress your business on a number of levels.
What does competition mean to you?
Are you looking to steal clients or customers from your competition or are you looking to offer a better service or product than someone else? We all have our own thoughts on the word competition and if you were to ask numerous people what it meant to them the chances are they would all have a different outlook to them.
Competition – do you fear it or love it?
There is no getting away from the fact that competition is all around you. Even before you start your business you are subconsciously scoping out the competition and they will definitely be checking you out too.
You may be asking why you should be checking in on other businesses. The answer is simple. You need to make sure that your brand is great, that you learn from other people’s mistakes or losses before you make them yourself and by checking out your competition you will be able to take action and steps to find new opportunities and grow your empire.
The Internet is possibly the quickest and easiest way to spy on your competitors and there are a number of tools that can help you. You may feel like you want to come over all James Bond on us but you really don’t need to, sorry to take away your fun.
Kissmetrics have a great article which links through to a number of tools such as Google Alerts, Social Mention and 25 other sneaky tools.
Industry related tools are extremely important for small businesses and getting to know your audience. By tracking social media industry trends and those of your competitors you can gain knowledge of your audience and a really useful tool which is handy is and this tool will give you insights into Keyword Research and Competitive Analysis Tools, website health checks, SEO checker and so much more. SEOBook state that they work with “100’s of Proven Global SEO Experts”. Their community and video section will give you the training and know how to make your business stand out and be one step ahead.
BrandWatch also have Top 17 Competitor Analysis Tools that showcase some of the better apps on the market and you can read more here:
The simplest way to monitor your competitor is to follow them. Social media has grown in such a way that you can now understand exactly what they are doing when they are doing it and how you can track exactly what they are doing step by step. This will generate new and fresh ideas for your business.
Be sure to follow all of their accounts such as Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Google + and more. Dependent on the business they may have other lesser-known social media accounts such as Pinterest, Vine and BizSugar.
Sign up for their newsletter. This is the simplest way of understanding how your competitor is advancing. If you would rather they didn’t know you are monitoring their business then use a generic email address or a personal one. It is simple to set up and do. Newsletters are an effective communication tool and allow people to understand your business.
If you would like to understand how your competitor has changed then check out Way Back Machine.
The Way Back Machine allows you to explore over 310 billion web pages that have been saved over time. This will allow you to see how your competition has progressed and how they have made changes along the way.
This is a really useful tool for tracking change and ideas, especially if they are ones that you have not considered, which worked but was lost or was changed for a particular reason.
Subscribe to their blogs to understand the content they are producing and keep up to date with any news or launches. If you haven’t got a newsletter in place then now is the time to set one up and start updating your clients or customers today.
Use what you know
Now we don’t want to point out the obvious but we are going to do so in case you haven’t realised it but you are currently reading this blog on RankWatch
RankWatch is an online marketing software that takes care of business in a number of ways using tools such as:
- RankWatch offers free tools to help you monitor your website and algorithms.
- You can find those on their homepage and as it says on the tin over 100 countries use RankWatch.
Customer service is extremely important when dealing with your existing customers and clients. Do not make the mistake of being complacent and keeping your services or products static as the customer will not be loyal if a better deal can be found elsewhere. Watching other businesses ahead of change will give you an indication of how they are moving and what is working.
Loyal customers are just like a boomerang. They will always come back to you and even better they will talk about you, which brings in new business. Never take them for granted.
You may think that by monitoring your competitors that you are creating huge amounts of work for you or your workforce but in the long run this will, in fact, save you time and as previously mentioned possibly save errors from being made.
In the first initial set up of your business, you may find that by monitoring others you will find a successful strategy to move forward with.
Before the times of technology we would use the SWOT analysis to identify our weaknesses and strengths and although this is still used within business plans today we have advanced so much that we can no longer rely upon this alone.
You need to have a constant hand in the day-to-day running of your business and this means being in control, being in the know of how your competitor works and how you will compete with them.
When comparing your business to another you need to be benchmarking your business.
MarketingDonut have an extremely useful step-by-step process to consider when monitoring and benchmarking you can read more on their website.
Here at Supportal Services we actually work in close proximity with our competitors and even have associated work which gives us an understanding of how they are working, where they are advancing and the services that they are changing on a regular basis. Our concept of ‘spying’ is pretty open, direct and honest.
By keeping an eye on how their business is doing enables us to offer a support service that truly meets our client’s needs and keeps us ahead of the game.