Competitive Research Tips for Business Marketers

competitive research

Competition is everywhere. McDonald’s has Burger King. Walmart has Target. Chase has Wells Fargo. Whether you know it or not, your small business has competition, too. And it’s high time you got to know them.

Competitive research is the process of finding out everything you can about your competition so that you can effectively market against them, drawing their target audience to your business while retaining your existing customers.

Along the way, you’ll discover opportunities to enhance your business’s appeal, capitalize on industry trends, and gain a better understanding of your target audience’s wants and needs.

Here’s how to make it happen.

Identify Your Competitors

If you own an accounting firm, for instance, you’re probably already keeping tabs on the two other accounting firms in town. But what about the popular tax prep consultant in the next city or the HR Block down the street?

Knowing your direct competitors is important – but you need to know your indirect competitors, too. Keyword research, Google searches, and good old social listening are all great ways to find out exactly who you’re up against.

Act Like a Customer

Your competitors aren’t likely to hand over their marketing strategy, so if you want to know how they’re running their firms, you’ll need to do your research.

Sign up for their email lists. Visit their websites. Follow them on social media. You don’t need to be a client to get a feel for who they are and what they offer.

Need more help? These seven tools are great for “spying” on your competition.

Spot the Differences

Now that you know who your competitors are and how they run things, it’s time to look for differences in your strategies. Primarily, you’re looking for two things: What they offer that you don’t; and what they don’t offer that you do (or can).

For instance, if they offer complimentary consultations, that’s something you might want to consider offering your clients, as well. If they don’t offer a loyalty program, it might be time for you to expand (or create) your own and publicize it. Anything that can differentiate your business from theirs in a positive way gives your customers a reason to remain your customers – and their customers a reason to join your flock.

Check the Reviews

There’s no better way to learn about your competition than directly from the mouths of their existing customers. What are real people saying about them?

Take the time to read through your competition’s online reviews. Are they consistently getting praise for the value they offer? Are they lacking in customer service? Online reviews give you a window into the world of your competition, and provide opportunities for you to do better for your own audience and develop a competitive edge.

Better the Devil You Know Than the One You Don’t!

Whether you choose to acknowledge them or not, your competition is out there. Ignore them, and you risk losing your current (and future) clients. However, if you take time to learn all you can about your competitors, you’ll find plenty of ways to take your organization straight to the top.

Do you need some help winning over clients? Mischa Communications can tailor a strategy for your specific needs. We’re ready when you are!