How can you outperform your competitors when you don’t know them? Knowing your competitors is essential if you must win them and gain a better market share in your industry.
Sun Tzu said, “what is of supreme importance in war is to attack the enemy’s strategy.” Knowing your competitors as much as you know your customers will give you a competitive edge in your industry. During times of war, captains usually send spies to their opponents to understudy their strategies: this will help them plan a counter-strategy to win the battle.
Business is like wars; there’s a place for planning and strategy. The internet has simplified the spy-game; we can leverage some simple tools and analytics in understanding our competitors. In this post, we’ll be looking at 15 valuable things you can learn from your competitors.
1. Social Media
Let’s face it; social media is more than a place to meet and make friends. More than half of internet users use social media to share moments with their loved ones and reach their favorite businesses. There’s a high likelihood that your competitors are social media to connect with their customers.
Looking and analyzing your competitor’s social media handles will give you valuable insight into how they operate and serve their customers. Like their pages, views their comments and responses, you could learn a necessary ingredient you’ve been missing in your marketing.
Websites have transformed over the years from a one-page online document to a beautiful suite of pages online with strategic content. Interestingly, they can be a valuable tool in learning about your competitor’s strategies, brand positioning, value proposition, and customer service.
Try not to assume that you are following best practices and you have nothing more to learn that can enhance your market share. This type of confidence had ruined some startups. Instead, occasionally visit your competitor’s website, check their latest features and updates to see how you can improve on yours.
3. Local Searches
A recent study conducted by Google shows that “Near me” or “close by” type searches grew by more than 900% over two years. This is huge; local searches are beginning to gain more traction recently. Google has a free tool called “Google My Business” that enables local businesses to add their business information and products for free so that local shoppers can discover them.
If you’re not using Google My Business already, now is the best time to start. If you’re already using Google My Business, it’s time to improve. Head over to Google and search for similar businesses on Google to see how their local rankings are. Not only will you learn the local SEO strategies of your competitors, but you’ll also know your website’s position on Google and how to improve.
4. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is similar to local searches, although it’s more generic than local searches. Search engine optimization is simply a set of practices that enhances your website’s position on search engine rankings. Google ranks a website based on some key metrics such as relevance, authority, importance.
You can learn a lot about an organization’s digital strategy by looking at its search engine position. The best part is that you don’t need to be a techie to know your competitor’s search engine ranking position; there are ample SEO tools you can use to achieve it. Ahrefs, SEMrush, and Spyfu are examples of SEO tools you can use.
5. Adopting A Schedule
There’s an adage that says, “if you fail to plan, you are invariably planning to fail.” Putting a schedule to every task helps your team to stay on track and focused as well. Most digital-centric organizations usually schedule all digital platforms like social media plans, content marketing plans, posting schedules, and the likes.
You can learn a thing or two by looking at the frequency at which your competitors post on their digital platforms. It can be an indicator of their website and content objectives. Social listening tools and SEO tools can help you in monitoring your competitor’s schedule.
6. Paid Ads
Organizations are investing heavily in ads, partly because most social media platforms are killing page posts and updates’ organic reach. Besides the limited reach of organic posts, organizations constantly seek visibility for their products and services, hence paying ads.
You can get insights into their offers, promotional strategies, and graphics orientation by looking at their paid ads online. So when planning your digital campaigns, you can be better informed and capitalize on your competitor’s weakness in crafting a better offer.
You can so much from your competitors that could give you an edge in your industry, take advantage of it. Even as you compete, be an avid learner and researcher. Learn, improve and implement, and repeat the circle.