Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Easy Ways to Monitor Your Competition

Researching your competitors is important as it becomes an integral part of your company’s business strategy. By being able to track the top players in your industry, you can use that information to help improve your own services, gain new customers and increase your market share.  When doing competitive research, companies need to:

·         Understand what their competition is doing and how successful they are.

·         Identify the strategies your main competitors are using to increase sales.

In these times, it’s not that hard to keep abreast on what’s going on in the industry and especially your competitors.  If you don’t know what they are up to, then you can’t position your brand differently and won’t be able to convince potential customers as to why they should do business with you. Here are a few simple ways to keep tabs on your closest competitors:

·         Analyze your competitors’ websites. Your competitors’ websites will tell you a lot in regards to their sales and marketing strategy. Using online tools, you can review what keywords or phrases they are getting found for and targeting, analyze their backlink strategy and take a look at their editorial content. Sign up for their newsletters, and create a news alert to get their press releases. Your competitors’ website is the best place to learn about any new products or services that are launched. 

·         Follow their social media accounts. By signing for their Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter accounts, you will be able to be follow any updates about your competitors in real-time. Don’t only sign up for the main company accounts, but also identify key employees and sign up to follow their personal accounts. For example: you can keep track of who is leaving or getting hired using LinkedIn.  Social media platforms have created some transparency, allowing you to be updated on all your competitors quickly.

·         Use Google Alerts. Google Alerts is a great tool for the entrepreneur. It allows you to scan the internet for you and emails you any updates related to keywords or phrases that you choose.  You can even enter common keywords for both your companies and see which website has the most reach. This is a great way to see what prospects and customers are saying about you or your competitors.   

The benefits of tracking and analyzing your competition can range from maintaining high search engine rankings, stealing market share or identifying weaknesses in your competitors’ services. This information helps your prepare strategically as to what your competitors are up to and how your industry is evolving. Remember, information is power, and doing competitive research can only help your company move ahead.