Many small business owners ignore their competitors. They like to think that their services are so unique and passion is so clear, that competition shouldn't be a factor. Notice I say "like to", because deep inside most business owners know they have to think about competitors. Believe me, customers are certainly aware of the competitors to your product or service. One of the bedrocks of an effective marketing strategy is differentiating yourself from your competition. And in order to do that, you have to have a clear idea of what are your competitors are doing. How are they positioning their products? What are they charging? What is their social media presence? When I work with companies on their value propositions and positioning, an important part of the process is competitive analysis. Analyzing the competition is the only way to differentiate your company and provide a unique value that the customer can't get anywhere else. So let's dive in. How do you find and analyze your competition?
Do a google search on the terms your customers use to find you. Do you know all the businesses that come up when you enter the search terms customers use to find you? For instance, if you're an accountant in Connecticut, what comes up when you Google: "accountants in CT"? This is a simple way to take a look at the companies that your customers are seeing. Use DNB.com for information on your competitors. DNB.com is a business directory that includes the number of employees, revenue, SIC codes, and other information about companies. It's a great resource for a quick overview of the structure of companies in your competitive set. Websites that analyze online presence. In order to see the online presence of your competitors, there are several websites you can use. They include SEMrush, SpyFu, BuzzSumo and Owletter. They're an easy and effective way to see online traffic, key words and search engine characteristics of companies. By using these, you can see how you compare to your competition. Also, see this article in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce web site - How to conduct market research. It provides links to websites and many helpful tips. Remember, after you've gathered all this information on the competition, then work on how you can differentiate your business. What do you provide that's different and compelling? Is there a gap in what your customers want and what other companies provide? This is the most important step in this process. In differentiating your company, provide something that your competitors don't, or position yourself in a different and compelling way. Please reach out if you need help analyzing your competition and differentiating your business. I specialize in working with small businesses to help them grow and thrive.