Are you following your competitors? I don’t mean visiting their website occasionally to see what changes they’ve made to their shopping cart, I mean REALLY following them. They’re no doubt doing the same to you, as they want your business for their own.
Here are five things you should keep an eye on if you want to compete with the big dogs in your field.
1. Their Aims and Goals
Why are they in business? What makes them tick? It may sound a bit dramatic, but consider Sun Tzu’s famous saying about your enemy during war: To be able to defeat them, you must understand them. It’s no different when you’re considering a rival business.
Learn exactly what drives your competition’s business. Is it their customers, the bottom line, or maybe the product they’re selling? More importantly, how does their business motivation relate and compare to your business model?
2. Their Online Presence
If you want to stay ahead, keep a keen eye on your competitors’ web presence. This can be beneficial in a few ways. For one, if you’re planning a big marketing effort, you may learn your opponents are already treading in the same direction. Also, looking at their ideas can give you a direction for your own web presence. If you see one store trying a strong Facebook presence for their product, and it’s not working, try a Twitter campaign instead!
3. Their Popularity
Perhaps your beloved rivals are doing particularly well with their business. Don’t get jealous – take notes. What are they doing differently that’s working so well? Are they focusing on a certain area you may have let slip?
Change is essential if you want to stay in business for the long run. Take note of what works and what doesn’t. This may make the difference between success and closing your doors. Don’t get mad when others do well, get even!
4. Their Future Plans
Keep an eye out for any future plans they announce. If they unveil a big change in their format and you’re not ready to capitalize you’re going to kick yourself later.
Watch their blog, their main website, and any social media pages for announcements. When you notice something coming up, consider how big an impact it’ll make on your business, and if you should alter your model to keep up, or simply ignore it.
5. Their Customers
Watch who visits their website to try and figure out how you can yank them over to your side! Your competitors are no doubt offering similar services or products to yours, so what can you do to undercut them and drive folks to your website or store? Lower the price? Alter the product to feature new technology or revolutionary ideas? Or perhaps the opposite: make it more user friendly, and simple to use? By knowing your rivals’ customers and their needs, you may find a niche they aren’t filling. Then you pounce.
This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (http://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Grab three ebooks, including My Facebook Formula, a free report on Facebook and why you should be using the largest social network for your business, here: http://www.ereleases.com/insider/freebooks.html