Posted: Wed 28th Jun 2023
It doesn't matter whether you're a start-up, a micro business or an established venture, you must always keep a close eye on your competitors.
A fundamental rule of all business is that you must not reinvent the wheel. By keeping a close eye on your competitors at all times, regardless of what stage your business is at, you'll future-proof your business.
In the same way that wolves keep caribou on their toes, in a good way your competitors do the same for you. And as an added bonus, you won't get eaten!
Try looking at a successful competitor's website. Chances are you'll be fascinated as you try to understand their business model, the different products and services they sell, and the way they present and package them. It should give you food for thought and a few ideas about things you could do in your business.
Analysing your competitors: Four things to consider
There's a certain politeness around not being upfront about business owners keeping a close eye on their competition. But you must know as much as possible about your five closest competitors.
Competitor analysis is not about copying other businesses, but deeply understanding what your competitors are doing. You'll also use it to see:
what range of products and services your competitors offer
how they've packaged their different products and services
how they've priced their different products and services
what language, style of writing and marketing and sales copy they use to explain what they do
Learn from your competitors' online marketing
Well-written website copy really sings and has a certain type of elegance. If you're a start-up, your competitors can really give you a head-start about how you should be promoting and marketing your business.
If you've developed a website from scratch, you'll know the process of working out the navigation and content for every page is a time-consuming and intense process. Take advantage of the many hours and creative disagreements that your competitors have had and see how they've structured their own websites.
It's recommended that you join your competitors' email marketing lists so you can see how they market themselves. Looking at their email marketing is a golden opportunity to understand their entire marketing strategy.
Almost all email marketing will involve some form of promotion of a competitor's product or service, and by receiving your competitors' email marketing regularly you very quickly get to understand what type of special offers they're making, what product or service they're trying to push, and their overall strategy.
If you're intending to create some form of content yourself for social media and email marketing in the future, one of the best places to get ideas for content is from your competitors' regular emails. One of the advantages of analysing competitors who have been in business for a while is that if they're successful they're probably doing a lot of things right.
By seeing what they're doing, and doing your own version of it, you can speed up your own business success and make fewer mistakes. Marketing is a huge field and picking the wrong methods of marketing wastes time and resources, which are always in short supply in small businesses.
If you see that your competitors are doing a lot of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising over a period of time, it's likely that it will be working for them and that PPC advertising is something you should seriously consider.
You will, of course, have to learn how to do it or find an experienced person to do it for you. However, because you've done your research and you can see that your competitors are using online advertising successfully, the investment of your time and resources is justified.