Before you start a business, you will need to determine who your competition will be and what they’re doing in their business. If you jump into any business, without first having a clear understanding of what the competition is doing, you could be setting yourself up for failure. Even if you’ve been in business for years and just haven’t taken the time to research your competitors, you can easily research your competition.
Here are some steps you can take to research what other similar businesses are up to:
Social media works well for both identifying current competitors and researching them. Just start typing in the keyword that relates to your business niche, and business names are easily searchable.
Unlike the competition’s company website, social media sites like Facebook and Twitter can give you an insight into what a company does on a daily basis. You can check out the offers they use. You can also possibly see how they engage their own customers and which conversations lead to the most engagement.
Shop Their location
If you happen to be in close distance to your competitors, you can visit their location, and even buy from them. While you are in their location, observe other customers and their reactions to the service.
If your competitor doesn’t live close by, or if you just don’t feel comfortable stopping by their location, you can always call them and ask questions about their services or products. Lay out some objections to their reps, and see how their customer service reps respond.
Attend an Industry Trade Show
Attending an industry trade show or conference is a great way to learn who competitors are and what they are offering. You can visit the competition’s booth, observe their interactions with customers, and check out the quality of their products. Look at their promotional activities and note how busy they are and who visits them.
Read Online Reviews
Reviews and testimonials can be very helpful in giving you an insight to the competition. Sites like Yelp, Angie’s List, and Trustpilot are all good websites to read company reviews. Whether they’re getting good or average reviews, see if there’s a common theme to what people experience. If the same complaint pops up repeatedly, then you’ve just found a competitive advantage.
Research Their Online Marketing Strategies
There are an endless amount of tools and websites online that can let you see keywords and PPC terms your competitors are targeting. Some services are free while others charge for a more in-depth analysis. It can take months to rank in search, and hundreds and thousands of dollars to make your PPC efforts profitable. A little research ahead of time is well worth the effort.
These are just a few tips to help you determine who your competitors are. After researching what other similar businesses are up to, you will be able to make your business stand out from the rest.