Every business has competitors, it’s a fact of life, but you can transform yours into a business advantage by knowing more about their businesses. Watching their new products, marketing approach and sales tactics will give you an insight into how they run their businesses and maybe even some fresh ideas.
Remember, just because your competition is doing something doesn’t necessarily mean it works, so watch for patterns.
Newsletter: One of the easiest ways to keep an eye on the competition is to sign up for their mailing lists.
Watch for the newsletter frequency, the kind of content it includes and how it’s designed. What kinds of special offers and promos do they offer, like percentage discounts, buy one get one, free shipping, and how often they offer major sales?
Social media: Follow your competitors on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Look at the content they share with their and how engaged their fans are.
Pay special attention to how the competition responds to complaints or problems, which kinds of posts their fans interact with most, and how often they offer contests. Watch follower counts for any big movement up or down and try to discover what’s driving it, like links, contests with other websites or blog reviews.
If your competition spends a lot of time on a social network you’re not using, consider creating an account of your own.
Google: Set up a Google alert for your competitions’ names at. The alert will send you an email each time your competition is mentioned online. Look at the blogs writing about them, customers reviews and media articles. Use this info to find people writing on the web who might be interested in highlighting your products too.
Press page: If your competitor has a press page, scout it to see who’s writing about them and the types of coverage they get. Some of the publications who featured your competitors might be interested in your brand, just make sure that your product is a fit for the publication before adding it to your press list.
Website: Look at your competitor’s website layout. Think about which pages they highlight (the most accessible pages are near the top of the page, to the left), like the press page, testimonials or customer service pages. What items are most often in their sale or clearance section and what items do they feature prominently (this may give you a hint about what items are best sellers)?
Learn all you can from the sales copy (is it SEO, bullet points, narrative), product design and price points. And don’t forget to look for the wholesale customer page, to see what information they have available and how wholesale customers sign up.
Originally featured on Andreea Ayers. Republished with permission.