Taking the first steps into your new market can be daunting. It pays to make sure you know what you are getting into. Putting in the effort to get information about your likely competitors is a big part in ensuring your business can step out of their shadows and along its own path.
You may have a good idea of what you need to know about your rivals. If not, this Smarta guide may be a useful. Good competitor analysis is more than just comparing products and prices. If you can keep on top of what your competition is doing – if you know how they conduct their business – then you can shape your own venture to stand out from the rest and maybe even win customers from existing businesses. The tricks below will give you all you need to know to keep up with the competition.
1. Setting up online content alerts
Good research is as much about finding out what is coming as it is learning what is happening now. Business is an ever-changing world and keeping on top of the changes in your market is the only way to stay ahead. Google Alerts is a great tool for this purpose. It will keep you posted on any news involving your known competitors, as well as alerting you to new competition that might start up in your local area and market.
Alongside Google Alerts, make use of a content change alert like Change Detection to follow any changes a company makes to their website. If a rival adds a new product or changes their prices or business in some way, knowing about it sooner allows you to deal with these changes much quicker and, so, lose out less.
2. Make use of social media
Know your customers. Twitter is uniquely designed to show you the thoughts and experiences of your potential customers. Keeping tabs on key phrases and competitors in Twitter searches is a great place to start with social media research. Joining social media groups relevant to your market and industry should also be a priority in gaining a better insight.
To save time on searches, however, you can once again use alert services. Tweet Alarm allows you to set alerts for whenever you, your competitors or your industry as a whole are being tweeted about. This shows you just how customers are experiencing both your competition and your own company and allows you to capitalise on any emerging trends in your industry.
3. Find out how your competitors are promoting themselves
Finding out how a competitor runs their business is vital knowledge in setting up your own business to succeed. What better way to learn than by going straight to the source? A willing friend or family member contacting the competition and asking the right set of questions will provide you with vital information about their pricing, their sales techniques, and their full range of products and services.
If done right, this research can give you the best view of what it is like to be a customer in your particular market. Through learning what your competitor does, whether right or wrong, you will be able to shape your own service to offer what others do not and improve where others fall down.
4. Keep your customers close
For a complete picture from market and competitor analysis, you should always bear in mind what drives customers to choose their preferred company. After all, if you know what motivates your customers you can better market yourself around that. Finding out just what inspired your customers to choose your brand over the competition, or why they left your business to shop elsewhere, can be a cornerstone to successful growth. Working on building your brand in line with what motivates customers will ensure more business comes to your door rather than your competitors.
If you make the best use of these techniques and the information they provide, you will put yourself in the best possible position to take a strong hold of your market. Learn the shape of the existing market and you will easily see how your business can stand out and offer something to customers that your rivals may be missing. Manage that, and you may quickly find yourself setting the examples.