The capability to find out your business competitors, analyse their weaknesses and strengths and then determine how your business measures up while comparing, is a vital strategy for the success of your business. However, the initial part to this strategy i.e. finding out the right competition is the one where most of the companies fail.
You can actually invest money in order to beat another business but they might NOT be your actual competition.
So, it’s highly crucial to get your initial step right prior to making any competitive strategies for your company.
After all, the core pillar of a strong marketing strategy lies in how you conduct your competitive research.
So, here are some sure-shot ways that’ll assist you to identify your competitors online:
Your company has two types of business rivals i.e. direct and indirect competitors. Hence, the first step in identifying your right competitors is knowing the difference between both of them.
The companies and business organisation that stand in direct competition with you are the ones that are offering the same services as you are or are in the same business field. You might know most of your direct competitors so finding them isn’t a hectic task.
While identifying your direct competitors, you need to start with your service or product. Suppose, you are running a sneaker brand. You are not just dealing with the other brands of sneakers but you are also competing with the other footwear brands including the large shoe retailers.
You can identify your direct competitors in two ways:
#1 Social media
In the present times, customers look for recommendations and advice on social media sites. Thus, investigating the conversations which your customers are having on these sites will help you find out your competitors.
#2 Consumer feedback
Consumers are the key to unlock the rivals that are directly competing with your business. You can ask them which products or businesses they were evaluating prior to landing on your product. Often consumers reveal competitors that you did not even expect.
Well, this one requires specialised skills. Your indirect competitors are the companies that don’t have similar services as you have but they are digitally creating obstacles in the way of your business. They may have the same content as yours and might be emulating the same keyword. To be precise, they are in competition with you for your consumer’s attention.
Learning about your indirect competition incorporates “Keyword research” and “SER (Search Engine Results)”. You can conduct a competitive analysis for identifying the businesses competing with you for Google space.
A brilliant digital marketing agency can help you do this. They can help you amplify your SEO while making your website better and getting you better rankings.
How to Identify Your Competition Online
As a business owner, you might think that you are better aware of your competitors than anybody else. This is certain, especially when you are into a brick-and-mortar business. You simply have to look around you for the establishments.
However, unfortunately, these things don’t work if you are an online competition.
Unlike conventional businesses, you cannot use your physical consideration to discover your online rivals. So, here are some sure-shot ways that will help you identify the real competitors in the digital world.
#1 Simple online research
Companies trading publicly are required to have public records such as financial data and reports. Searching on Google will give you the required information.
However, if you are competing with firms in the private space, it will make things quite hard for you. Still, you can search for their sites for gaining valuable insights. Also look online for industry publications, marketing materials, media coverage that can give you information about their failures or successes.
Quick tip: You can also buzz them pretending to be their potential client. Ask whatever questions you have and ensure that you are talking from the perspective of a client.
#2 Use the right technology
You might have heard about Google Trends. It tells you the data about trending searches, videos, and topics. It is also an excellent website for discovering your rivals as you can see that your potential customers are searching for someone else’s business or yours. You can even search for the products and find out what users are communicating about.
Similarly, you can use Google Alerts to monitor the internet for fresh content. You have to type the topic of your interest, generate an alert and you will receive a notification whenever anything new and fresh pops up. It is great for business owners like you as you can set product alerts that are similar to yours and stay updated about the latest happenings in the industry.
Similarly, SEMrush and others can be used to gain valuable insights on your online competitors. Again, a digital marketing agency will do a better job at it as you can be busy with running your business.
They have the tools to determine your competitors and find out what they are doing to flourish. Therefore, one can seek assistance from such firms for better output.
#3 Do not forget Social Media
Since this is a digital era, it is rare for an organisation to not to use social media for marketing. Whether it is Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook or any other trending social platform, it is likely that your rival is out there!
Therefore, you should use social media to get some core facts about the ones you are competing with.
Find out their most used social media platforms and always keep a look at their activities. Sign up for their newsletters, go through their reviews and even you can join their email lists to make sure that you do not miss out on any significant developments which could affect your business.
If you are not good with technology and cannot figure out your rival with these methods, you can take the old school route.
Ask your customers about from whom they purchase their products. Word of mouth is still effective and is a cheap method to gain information regarding your business competitors.
Now that you know how to determine your online competitors, let us have a look at the ways to beat them.
How to Beat Your Competition Online
Every organisation is striving to be on the top of search results. For this, many businesses rely on PPC ads, SEO firms or consultants to get placement among the right audiences.
Here are some of the tactics to go for influencing buying decisions and reaching audiences online, before your competitors.
#1 Influence decisions with YouTube
Advertising and video content are rapidly emerging to be on the top of the toolkit of a local business. A video is amongst the leading ways to influence the buying decisions of your potential customers and tell your story. And YouTube is the best platform for this. Advertising on YouTube is cost-effective and you reach a targeted audience.
#2 Generate Social Ads for New Audience
Advertising on social platforms such as Facebook is among the most affordable and the most accessible ways to organically reach and connect with the potential consumers. Whether you desire to encourage visits to your website, generate leads or build engagement, Facebook ads can be targeted to the ideal customers based on factors such as interests, geographic area, demographics, etc.
#3 Create a significant presence for closing the deal
To win online, you are required to have more than a powerful advertisement strategy. For your complete online presence, a groundwork needs to be laid, from your social media pages to your local listings to your website.
By ensuring that your company shows up and reveals a continuous story over the internet, you will have a convincible presence which will encourage your prospects to go for your product/service over your competitors.
Your paid campaigns will work better when your online presence shines.
Consulting a digital agency for this will be a prudent choice as they have the right set of tools and techniques that will help you to beat your competition and enhance your business presence online.
But, we like said earlier, doing all this along with running a successful business can be a bit overwhelming. When you have to deal with new and existing customers on daily basis, running after your competition can be a huge task.
So, hire a digital marketing agency or build an in-house team – whatever suits you. But, don’t take your competitors for granted.