Sure, you have a fantastic product or service, your advertising is on point, and you’re slowly building a customer base. But what is your competition up to? In today’s fast-paced business market, it’s important to keep tabs on your competitors at all times. Here’s how to use competitor analysis to get ahead.
Intro to Competitor Analysis
Sure, staying ahead of the game means knowing your own strengths and weaknesses. It’s quintessential to any business’s success. However, knowing your rivals and understanding what they do – good or bad – is equally, if not even more useful. In fact, it’s so important there’s an entire process dedicated to it, and it’s referred to as ‘Competitor Analysis’.
This stage is imperative irrespective of the niche your business specializes in, but it’s probably all the more important if you’re a start-up entering an already cutthroat sector with already thriving brands. For instance, the online casino industry is renowned for having hundreds of successful brands, some of which boast of revenues reaching multi-million digits annually. Thus, any new no deposit casinos with bonus codes have strong competition to deal with.
Competitor analysis isn’t just a one-and-done activity, it’s something you need to keep fresh like your marketing efforts. Here’s how to do it.
Start at the beginning
Competitive analysis involves taking a close look at what other businesses with similar offerings to you are doing to observe what they’re doing well and what they are missing. For each competitor, you will do a full investigation, and it can be highly beneficial to use a template to fill out your answers. Try searching for templates on Google Sheets, Miro, Notion, or whichever knowledge capture software you prefer.
Find your competitors
It shouldn’t be too difficult to hunt down your competitors, that’s what searching is for! Your direct competitors are people who offer a very similar product or service to you in the same market as you. For instance, if you are selling workout clothes in Australia, you need to figure out which brands are doing the same thing.
Investigate what competitors are selling
Even direct competitors will usually have different products, price points, and sales channels. This all needs to be assessed to determine where you stand in regard to them – and other competitors. You can ask questions like:
- What is their range?
- Are their prices lower or higher?
- Is their quality higher or lower?
- Do they offer a storefront sales channel, Instagram shopping, and availability on a marketplace?
- How does the sales process work?
- Do they have regular discounts?
- What is their market share?
While you’re answering these questions, you can also take note of anything you see that is a glaring omission. If we return to the workout clothing example, you might note that a business doesn’t carry larger sizes, which are in demand.
How do competitors find their buyers?
Fantastic products and services that lack great marketing can flounder. Similarly, sub-par products and services that have great marketing can be a success. Examining your competitor’s marketing strategies will be able to give you a good idea of what’s working for them and what’s not. Take a look at:
- The breadth of their marketing channels (website, marketplaces, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.)
- Continuity between marketing channels
- Look, feel, and usability of each marketing channel
- Current campaigns they have running
- The amount of information they have available online
- Whether there is plenty of information about the company and offerings available
- Other marketing efforts (e.g. digital downloads, partner businesses, paid advertising, etc.)
- Content strategy (what channel and type of marketing do they concentrate on the most?)
- Level of engagement (likes, comments, subscribers, web mentions, etc.)
Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats
Not a SWAT team, a SWOT analysis! For each competitor, identify their stand out strengths and weaknesses in note form. From here, you can determine opportunities they haven’t captured (and perhaps try and think about why they haven’t tried it), as well as threats to their business. Threats may come in the form of other competitors or simply market interest.
Again, there are plenty of templates available to help with your SWOT analysis. Take a look at these examples from Project Management provider Asana to give you a helping hand.
An action plan
Now that you have the full run-down on what your competitors are doing, you can use it to help your own business. By taking the best bits from their strategies you can deploy your own, unique version. And by identifying their weaknesses, you can develop strategies to capitalize on them in your own business. Even when it’s a David vs Goliath situation, you will find there are certain edges a smaller business has when going up against a behemoth.