11 ways to research your competition



by LYNDA KAVANAGH

 

Most business people conduct a SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) on their business at least once a year. Yes, I said once a year, not just every now and then!

 

 

However, to be successful in business, it’s also wise to conduct a SWOT Analysis on your top three competitors.

 

 

It just makes sense to understand what the purchase journey is for your potential customers in deciding whether to buy from you or other businesses. The only way to get that understanding is to see what your competitors offer, and to look at them not from your point of view, but from your potential customers’ points of view. That means being objective and honest about you and your competition.

So, I want you to become Johnny or Jill the Journalist — put on your investigative hat, and do some sleuthing. Below are 11 research tips that you should conduct at least once a year on your top three competitors:

 

1

Create a folder or file for each of your competitors and ask your staff to be on the lookout for any advertisements or Marketing these businesses do. Store them in your folder and analyze their messaging and the media used.

2

Talk to your competitions’ current customers. Are they happy? What do they like or dislike about these businesses?

3

If possible, walk by their storefront – what does the entrance portray? If you can, go into the store. What is your immediate impression? How are you treated by the employees? What do you like, what do you dislike? If you can’t do this, hire a secret shopper.

4

Google your competitions’ business names and the names of the owners or managers. What searches are displayed under All, News, Images, Maps, Videos, More?

5

Visit their websites. Is it easy to find what you were looking for? Are the sites inviting? Are they quick to load? Make a list of all the areas that you like and dislike about their websites.

6

Do their websites provide visitors with an opportunity to connect with newsletter sign ups, free content to download, coupons, etc.?

7

Do their websites list testimonials and, if so, what are people saying about them?

8

What other online activity are they doing? Do they blog? Are they on social media platforms and, if so, what are they posting on each platform and how often do they post? Do they have a hashtag (#)? If they do, Google that hashtag and analyze the results.

9

Are people reviewing them? Do they have reviews in Google My Business or Facebook and, if so, what are people saying about them? How do they respond to positive and negative reviews?

10

10. Go to indeed.com and see if they have any reviews from past employees.

11

After doing these tasks, can you determine what their Brand is? Are they consistent with their Brand? Can you analyze what their key message is?

TAG, YOU'RE IT!

Now, be brave and do the above 11 research activities on your business using the same criteria.

 

 


 

I'm here

 

 

Hey! Don’t forget to come and see me on the Seminar stage. Come armed with pen and paper and an idea who your top two competitors are and a good idea who your customers are. I will walk you through a mini-workshop to help you find your competitive edge. And, don’t forget to visit the Round Table Stage where I’ll be talking about a variety of Marketing techniques.

Why stop there? Come listen in when I give a talk on Delivering on Your Brand Promise and make sure to set up a one-on-one appointment with me for personalized advice.