…and why you shouldn’t make it the be-all and end-all for your business.
The world of business and advertising can, sometimes, feel like a dog eat dog world. It’s a constant war for prospects’ attention and your business needs to consistently come up trumps over and above your competitors to become an industry leader.
Often, this can be draining. But it needn’t be! Understanding your competition is one of the main ways to not only boost your own business but can help you clarify how your business is different.
Therein lies your strength.
So whether you’re running successful Facebook advertising but want to take it further, you want a leg up when it comes to Search Engine Optimisation, or you just want to have a good snoop at other businesses, here are our top tips for checking out the competition.
What Are Direct And Indirect Competitors?
Direct competitors are those that are offering or marketing for the same or similar products to yours. Customers will often compare these with yours during the conversion journey before making a purchase.
Indirect competitors are those that don’t necessarily offer the same products or services, but they compete with you digitally for visibility and for web space. These are the competitors that you would target with SEO strategies.
How Much Attention Should You Pay?
Of course, keeping an eye on your competition is beneficial; it can help fill any gaps in your advertising or highlight areas where you can improve how your products or services meet your customers’ needs.
But, it’s important not to get hung up on comparing the granular details.
Running your business and advertising your solutions to customers is a delicate balance between keeping an eye on what your direct competitors are doing while still focusing on the quality and individuality of your own business.
As a digital marketing agency, we know the importance of standing out from the crowd. Therefore, it’s critical that these insights are used to further your own USPs rather than as a guide for your business model.
Gather insights into how your competitors run their business, how they engage with their customers and the kinds of marketing efforts they’re making but use this to ensure that your business is competitive – not the same.
Modelling your business in the same way as your competitors is a sure-fire way to wind up losing visibility and impact.
Identifying Direct Competition
So, you know what direct competition is, now how do you keep track of what they’re up to?
Luckily, there are multiple ways to keep an eye on your competition and use these insights to strengthen your own business. Here are a few methods we recommend:
One of the best ways to identify your direct competition is through market research. This lets you look at other companies that offer similar products or services to yours and come up with USPs and marketing efforts to outperform them.
Whether this starts as a simple Google search or asking your sales team which brands they come across during their sales process, market research is invaluable.
This is another helpful tool for keeping an eye on what brands your customers are directly comparing during the conversion journey. Customers will (usually) always evaluate your business against a direct competitor before they make a purchase.
Once they’ve chosen your business, you can ask them which brands they were evaluating alongside yours and why.
Whether this is a simple customer survey requested after a purchase or a feedback form with an incentive – this is a key way to ensure you know exactly who you’re up against.
This feature on Facebook allows you to see whether your competitors are running paid ads on this social media platform. Here you can see their creative assets and what copy they’re running.
While it’s important to ensure you’re not running identical ads, this is a great way to compare direct competitors’ assets to yours and see how you can utilise your unique branding in a more-eye catching way.
Check Online Forums
A study in recent years found that nearly three quarters (73%) of Gen Zers and Millennials respondents value responses, reviews and opinions from online communities more than those from mainstream social media.
With reviews, community posts and forums weighing so heavily on buying intent, it’s essential to determine your competitors’ reputation and work to ensure that you can provide better experiences for your customers.
With influencer marketing growing at an unprecedented rate, social media is an undeniable powerhouse for making or breaking a brand. More so than ever, social media is being used for product research, online purchases and brand engagement.
This means that it’s invaluable to manage your own reputation online and check how your competitors use social media. Do they employ influencers? How often do they post organic content? What types of organic social content do they post?
Plus, it’s also important to understand where your competition is, where they’re visible, and what they’re doing to engage customers when it comes to social media advertising.
Of course, competitor analysis is also something that we’re familiar with as an experienced digital marketing agency. It’s a critical part of how we work to improve the efficiency of our campaigns.
If you’d like to know more about our innovative advertising strategies and how we can use market insights to boost your business, why not get in touch with our team?