If you’re reading this, I assume you’re already somewhat familiar with the idea of analyzing competitors. The most basic idea behind performing a competitive analysis is to examine what your competitors are doing and how they’re doing it in order to determine what would be the best fit for your own business. While there are plenty of resources available online for free, nothing beats actually getting a hold of a trade magazine or newspaper and spending a few hours reading through the articles. The key to doing this successfully is in the preparation, planning and method. Let’s examine each of these points in turn.
Do The Research
As mentioned above, one of the most important things to do before you begin analyzing your competitors is to do your research. You can’t begin to understand what your competitors are doing until you understand the market they’re in and how they’re doing whatever it is they’re doing. The good news is doing research doesn’t have to be difficult. There are plenty of free tools online that can make researching your competitors a simple task. For example, you can use Google Trends to easily find any trending topics related to your niche, product or service. You can also use Google Search to easily find the articles and reports your competitors have published along with their webpages. Sometimes all it takes is a little bit of Googling and some creativity.
Make A Plan
Just because you know what your competitors are doesn’t mean you’ll automatically know how to best compete with them. Make a plan before you begin analyzing your competitors. You don’t want to simply rush into executing a strategy that might not be the best fit for your business. Instead, make a list of everything you know about your competitors. This includes everything from their products and services to marketing and sales strategies. In addition to this, you should include any unique selling points or advantages your competitors might have over you. This will help you determine the strategy most fitting for your own business. Once you’ve made a list like this, it’s time to move to the next step.
Set Up A Measurement Plan
The next step is to set up a measurement plan. This is usually a simple process of simply keeping track of the competitors you’ve analyzed and what you’ve learned from your analysis. In some cases, you might want to take the time to set up some automated tracking systems to keep tabs on what’s working and what’s not. For example, you can use Google Analytics to track the results of your marketing campaigns and see the effectiveness of different strategies. The key to getting the most out of this step is to make sure you measure the correct things. In order to do this, you should focus on the aspects of your business that you can control and determine the impact of your competitors’ activity on these areas. For example, you can control the price of your products and services or the quality of your customer experience. Whatever aspects of your business you believe to be under your direct control, measure them and analyze the results of your competitors’ activities. This way, you’ll be able to determine the proper course of action for your business.
Determine The Differences Between You & Your Competitors
The last step in the process of analyzing your competitors is to determine the differences between you and your competitors. These are the things that set you apart from the rest and make you stand out above the rest. If you can identify these differences and articulate them clearly in a marketing plan, you’re well on your way to creating a truly unique business offering the market. To start with, try to think of everything you can about your competitors that makes them different from you. This can be anything from their pricing to the way they promote their products and services to the type of people they attract to their business. Once again, preparation is essential here. Make sure you’ve done your research and have a clear picture in mind of what makes your competitors different from you. Once you’ve listed these differences, it’s time to move to the next step.
Develop A Marketing Plan
The plan you develop will vary based on your business strategy and the type of product or service you offer. However, at the very least, you should have a rough idea of what you’ll do and when you’ll do it. For example, if you sell t-shirts, you might want to have a specific campaign planned for the next school holiday where you expose your products to as many school kids as possible. Alternatively, if you sell flowers, you might want to do something different and promote your business during a special event such as an anniversary or birthday. The key to developing a successful marketing plan is to be as creative as possible while still sticking to the fundamentals. You don’t want to rush the process and end up doing something that doesn’t work out as well as you’d hoped. Take your time here and make sure you have everything planned before you begin.
Doing a competitive analysis is a lot of hard work, but it’s also a lot of fun. You have to remember that everything you learn from this process will be valuable to you in the future. So, even if you’ve completed this process and determined what your competitors are doing, make sure you don’t stop there. Continue researching and analyzing the various competitors in your niche to see what else you can discover and what new opportunities present themselves.