Hey, Nick Ponte here! I run a digital marketing agency on the island of Maui, and I love to help small business owners work through ground-breaking strategies and amp up their marketing game. Lately, I’ve shared several tips for local businesses to thrive in a competitive market.
Today, I want to emphasize a great strategy we use in our agency: competitive analysis. We dive into the details of our clients’ competition and evaluate their customers, offers, values, products, and the results they get.
By doing this, we get a thorough picture of where our clients fit into their market. How can they gain the lead against similar businesses? What can they do to drive more customers and increase revenue? How can they become the best, most recognized name in their industry?
If these questions pique your interest, consider having a competitive analysis performed for your business. Let me tell you why…
Why You Need Outside Eyes
Some business owners decide to perform their own competitor analysis. They look at similar business’s websites and social media pages, getting a feel for their product and marketing campaigns. I’m not here to tell you that you can’t do your own analysis, but if this description matches the extent of your research, you have only scratched the surface. You don’t have enough valid information based on a surface-level skim.
You need to know more about what those businesses do, what they offer, and how their strategies work for them. A rigorous study of similar businesses will help you to thoroughly understand industry standards. A professional competitor analysis will help you to know your competition like an old friend… that you really want to beat in your next chess match.
Do you know how your website measures up against others in the industry? Do your practices meet current industry standards? Does your brand catch the eyes of your potential customers, more so than your competition?
Asking questions like these will help you know what results you need to see from a good analysis.
I want to highlight three fundamental qualities of a good competitor analysis. These tips will help you to look for the most useful information about your competition and navigating strategic business moves.
Three Basics of a Competitive Analysis
Check out these essentials to a great analysis and determine the best next steps for your marketing strategy:
- Identify Your Competition
Who pops up first in search engine results when you type in your keywords? When you begin to look, you’ll recognize obvious competitors. If you own a burger joint, the drive-in down the road also markets to your ideal customers, but what about the chicken sandwich shop a few blocks over?
A furniture store competes with other furniture stores. But a furniture store ought to remember they also compete with the upholstery shop when a customer considers whether they should reupholster their current love seat or get a new one.
Secondary competitors might not always be as obvious as the businesses selling the same products and services. Consider all routes a customer might take to address their problem. A concrete pool merchant knows their competition also lies with fiberglass pool manufacturers. A smart business identifies merchants in the alternative market.
You should also have an awareness of which businesses not to compete with. If you market to locals and tourists on Maui, your competition does not exist on the coast of Florida. Especially as you start out, aim at local influence instead of trying to market to a broad internet audience. A specific focus gets better results, so keep that in mind as you look for competitors online. What does your audience search for? What is their pain point? How can you satisfy it? How can you gain visibility with this audience?
- Analyze Your Competitors’ Successes
You may not be able to look at all the behind-the-scenes details, but you can learn from a few key areas. Check out how your competitors’ on-page SEO contributes to their success. Evaluate their keywords and see where they may not be utilizing them to the full extent. Look at their content to see where gaps exist in the information they provide.
You can also do a technical analysis. Find out what kind of tools, software, and programs other companies use by looking at the expectations listed on job postings. Built With lets you look up the technology used to create and maintain websites and plugins. You may find some observed technology to boost your own business.
Where gaps exist in your competitors’ strategies, you have the opportunity to fill in for the customer. Missing elements of their structure can inform your own strategy and help you make decisions about where to focus next. Develop a thorough plan of action based on your knowledge of the other companies and where they fall short in reaching customers.
- Evaluate Competitors’ Offline and Off-page Activity
On-Page optimization has an important role, but don’t forget to evaluate your competition’s presence on other platforms. If used well, social media gives businesses the opportunity to connect directly and regularly with customers. Plus, they can show ads on websites and apps where ideal customers spend chunks of time. How do your competitors handle their social media presence? Do they have broken links in their posts and ads?
What kind of success does your competition have through marketing emails? What about other offline marketing efforts? These might include mailers, representatives, or exhibits. Do they help the company? Or do these efforts present a waste of resources?
Clearly, it takes time and effort to get a really thorough picture of how you measure up to your competition in your industry. Your broader understanding is worth the energy and resources you put into it. We perform exhaustive competitor analyses for clients, and we play to win. Our detailed reports help our clients build the best strategies and beat the competition.
If you want to learn more about our competitor analyses or want help getting started, reach out to us today!
Further Reading: 3 Ways for Hawaii Businesses to Develop Successful On-page SEO