Study Your Competition and Improve Your Own Company in the Process

Mon, Jul 5, 2010

Business Tactics

After defining your target audience and doing keyword research, you need to evaluate your competition. You need to figure out what makes your company different and market accordingly. The only way you can do this effectively is by “spying” on your competitors to learn all you can about them and their strategies.

Now, you can’t just trash your rivals and brag about why your company is “so much better”. This will only turn consumers away from you. Instead, focus on finding their flaws and exposing them without making yourself appear to be the bad guy. You also need to learn why your competitors have the consumers they have and how they attract them.

So, what steps do you need to take in learning all about your competitors?

This research goes beyond comparing websites and tags. We’re talking about everything from product features to social media marketing strategies. What do your competitors do for linkbait? How do they respond to questions asked by consumers on forums and networking sites? What are the pros and cons of your rival’s products? What information can you gleam from reading reviews?

You need to not only research the details, but the overall picture as well. Visit their Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Myspace, and other social networking accounts and look over everything. Read user comments to find out why people are following them. Once you gain an idea of why rival companies are so popular, you can begin to create your own strategy.

All Internet businesses have pros and cons. Once you find out what consumers like about other companies, you can begin researching what they don’t like. Once again, you don’t want to outright trash your competitors. But what you can do is take their failures and use them as inspiration for your own products.

Whatever it is that consumers don’t like about your competitors’ products, you can create something more positive as an alternative. Consumers like knowing that there are other options available to them.

Other things you need to consider when doing your research on a competitor include:

  • The owner’s name and background
  • The history of the company
  • The names and histories of the products
  • The company’s business philosophy
  • Financial status
  • How popular the company is with certain keywords
  • Search engine rankings
  • Tags, content, and on page optimization
  • Backlinks and off page optimization
  • The quality of the customer service
  • Whether or not the company has a mailing list and, if so, the number of subscribers
  • Whether or not the company has ever been accused of spamming

If your Internet business is brand new, and your competitors have been around for years, it’s going to be a huge challenge for you to gain momentum. If nothing else, you can study their history and learn about the mistakes they’ve made in the past. You can learn which mistakes to avoid and which marketing tactics to follow.

You can also become a customer yourself and buy your competitors’ products. What do *you* like about them? What don’t you like about them? This is a great way to gain invaluable information about their pricing, strengths, and customer service. This is a free market we’re living in, after all, so take advantage of that fact and learn how to outdo your business rivals.

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This post was written by:

Anderson Lopes - who has written 6 posts on SEO Blog | SEO Marketing World.