Monica Piccininno Director of Operations

How to Be Better Than Your Competitors: A 6-Step Plan

Proper research is the key to getting ahead of the competition, but most businesses overlook the importance of research. That means that any company willing to put the time and effort into performing thorough analysis will have an instant advantage over the majority of their competition. Knowing what your competitors are doing enables you to tweak your marketing strategy and business activities to gain an advantage, boost your reputation and even steal customers. 

1. Identify the Competition

Most businesses know who their main competitors are, but it's easy to overlook the up-and-coming enterprises that may soon try to steal your customers. Check social media, search engine rankings and trade publications to see which companies are making a name for themselves in your industry. Never underestimate the power of social media; minor competitors that have a large following on sites like Facebook and Twitter can quickly become significant threats to your business.

2. Investigate Their Products and Services

Compare your products and services to those offered by your competitors. Is the quality and cost of their products similar to your own? Do they provide additional services that you don't, such as customization options for their products, other delivery choices, discounts for buying in bulk or voucher codes for new customers? Finding out who your competitor's suppliers are can also be extremely useful when comparing products and services.

3. Analyze Their SEO Tactics

Researching the SEO (search engine optimization) tactics used by other businesses can help to improve the effectiveness of your SEO. Look at the keywords and phrases your competitors use in their content and marketing material. Are they achieving high search engine rankings for their chosen keywords? Do they have high-quality backlinks to their website? Which keywords and phrases appear in the anchor text of their backlinks?

4. Assess Their Content Marketing

Study the content your competitors are using on their website, blog and social media accounts. What kind of topics are they writing about? What kind of language do they use when talking to their readers? Are they writing in a formal, professional style, or are they producing more friendly and personal content? Do they use a clear call to action (CTA) that directs users to subscribe to their mailing list, buy a product or take some other kind of action? Look at how the readers are responding to and engaging with the content. Are readers commenting and sharing the posts with their social media followers?

5. Examine Their Social Media Strategy

Social media can make or break a business's reputation, so you need to consider your strategy carefully. Compare your approach with those of your competitors. Look at which platforms they are using, how many followers or fans they have and the type of content they are posting. What kind of images do they use? Do they use their posts to drive traffic to their website, or simply to build relationships with their followers? Are social media users engaging with their content?

6. Make Time For Regular Research

Conducting the initial research on your competitors is only the first task. To stay ahead of the competition, you need to make research a regular part of your business strategy. Perform regular searches for the keywords and phrases connected to your industry, and keep an eye on how your main competitors are doing. Run social media searches and set up Google Alerts for the names of your competitors to see what people are saying about them.

Once you've gathered enough research, you can assess the effectiveness of the search engine optimization, content marketing and social media strategies of other businesses in your industry. You can then use your findings to adapt and improve your strategies. You can also look for ways to take advantage of your competitor's weaknesses and offer a better buying experience for potential customers.

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