It seems like competitor or competition are both such a dirty sounding words sometimes. If you are on one side, the other side is filled with the evil competitors who are taking aways your customers. They do anything to snag your innocent customers with their social media, display ads, SEO, content etc. What do you do? Your company wants to obviously win and be the triumphant savior; except, it doesn’t always play out like that, especially if you are clueless as to what they are doing. Maybe your competitors are a little grimy (No, judgement here), but there are always a consistent number of questions that arise with the discussion of business competitions. The guessing, wondering, and bewilderment are all fitting terms for your analysis on competitors. It’s almost a hard territory to map. Competitive intelligence is seemingly a bit murky and a lot frustrating because the frequently asked question go unanswered, but this is our attempt to answer them.
9 FAQs About Competitors
1. Who are my competitors?
What industry are you in? What kind of service are you providing? Is there a price range for your product — what is it? What is the value of your company? All questions are ones that could help you determine who your competitors are. Knowing who they are is essential in competitive intelligence and in defining how you act with certain marketing/business decisions. Whether you like it or not, everyone has competitors in their respective field, so if you are not sure who they are better start figuring that out. You could have 1 major competitor, 3 smaller ones or 50 large competitors; however, figuring them out begins your research on making sure you stay in front of the pack.
2. Which ones should I pay attention to?
Asking yourself the aforementioned questions — what the price of your own product is and the own value of your company could help you narrow which ones to track and also show maybe some of the larger competitors that you should also look at in order to have a nice balance. It can be overwhelming to look at every single one of your competitors; however, managing down to the narrow number of competitors to look at daily and the outliers to possibly look at weekly will help you cut the noise.
3. Why do my competitors matter?
Well… Remember that time you were in some type of competition, whether it be a dodgeball game, chess game or race? How did you win? By beating all of your opponents. The one winning in business is in fact the one also making the most money, so do you want your competitors to take that away from you. Maybe, you are not as competitive as me, but wanting to crush your competitors is a reason for them to matter. The person on top will get the most customers, money, fame, glory, bones, corgis, data…oops getting a little carried away. Don’t let them sneak up to take that away!
4. What are my competitors doing?
From Paid Advertising, SEO, Links, Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, News + Press Mentions and Content Marketing, are all just a number of things your competitors are doing. Sometimes it isn’t necessary to completely copy what your competitors are doing in every aspect; however, if your competitor is surpassing benchmarks in one field, why not give that outlet more of your attention. Keeping tabs on competitors’ different actions can give you the insight into what you should put more of your efforts in.
5. If my competitor does x, how do I know what I should do based on that?
The previous question and answer also touches on this. You do have to do what is best for your company, so always following your competitors’ lead isn’t the top priority; however, it is also dependent on the some of their successes. Let’s say they are running some top-notch SEO campaigns and are suddenly ranked on the entire first page of Google and you haven’t put any effort into SEO — Maybe it’s then time to work on some SEO. With your competitors’ successes and failures you can gain some valuable insight as to where to zoom in on your own marketing techniques. You can then close the gaps on the leads your competitors or you can keep crushing them on your own triumphs.
6. If my competitor does xyz on Social Media, then should I do xyz?
Keeping tabs on your competitors’ social media accounts can become frustrating, especially if they have multiple outlets. However, they may have a pattern you can discover on Facebook or on other outlets as well. Let’s say they tweet 15 times a day and gain 20 followers every day. Or they are posting only pictures on Facebook and get over 200 likes. Should you then do that? It also is a dependent factor on what works best for your company, but it never hurts to try. You can then competitively position yourself on social media by observing the patterns of your competitors and using that to your advantage.
7. If my competitors are sending all emails on (whatever day), should I send emails on that day?
Email is far from being dead. With open rates at their highest on Saturday and Sundays to it being a low-cost way to get qualifying leads, email marketing is one of the best resources a company can use. If you are subscribing to your competitors’ emails and notice a particular day they are sending out emails, you can always test with the same day. Maybe you begin seeing that you are getting higher open rates and more leads or it could be the complete opposite. It does matter what works for your company, so test it out. However, looking at what days your competitors are sending out emails could be an indicating factor on what you could do.
8. How do I monitor the earned media my competitors are getting?
News is updated constantly, so monitoring news and press mentions can get quite tiresome. Or the waiting for either of those things can be pretty frustrating as well. However, simply setting up Google Alerts or some type of alerts on your competitors can help ease the pain. Once that earned media goes up though, it probably isn’t in your best interest to immediately hunt down the source or writer who mentioned them. It would be preferable to note down what source it was and writer to possibly revisiting it in the near future. There are dozens of posts out there on proper outreach to journalists, in fact here’s one or another one how to cultivate these relationships on Twitter. However, your best bet in monitoring earned media is through Google Alerts or checking the industry news daily in your area. It never hurt anyone to read a little extra right?
9. How do I outplay my competitors?
And for the big finale of all the questions. To outplay or crush your competitors could take some time. It’s not always going to be an all out sprint because frankly, majority of the time it’s a marathon. Monitoring all of your competitors channels could take up some time and there are easy methods out there to do it. However, by monitoring your competition and testing out the insights from the actions they take part in will give you a leg-up to win the ultimate race of the most valuable company.