Competition research is looking up information, habits and success rates for your competition. Who is your competition exactly? That’s where social media comes in. You want to find out where else your consumers are going online. There are several ways go about researching what else is out there, but these are the key ideas behind competition research.
Do more than Google – Use tools like Google Anayltics, Google Trends, Google Alerts and SpyFu to find out where readers are coming from and where they’re going after visiting your site. This will give you an idea of what your target consumer is interested in and lead you right to the other companies they’re exploring while online. Google Alerts can be set for companies you know are competition, giving you insight on when and where they’re being talked about and for what reasons.
Go old school – When it comes to market research, don’t forget how things used to be done. Use analyst firms to track the current and upcoming trends in your industry. Reports are issues for every industry and Hoovers, Keyword Spy and Gartner are just a few of the companies that show reports for many companies. Even if you aren’t with the big wigs quite yet, you can learn from the holes and needs that aren’t currently being met by other companies in your field.
Check out a trade show – Every industry has trade shows where new products and collection are displayed before they hit store shelves. This gives you an opportunity to see what the competition has to offer. If you’re a small business and can’t afford a booth at a trade show, it is still worth the price of admission to see where the trends are headed for your industry.
Monitor social networking sites – Of other companies! That’s right. Besides keeping in the loop with your own followers, you want to keep close watch on all of the competitors that are doing the same thing you are. This keeps you posted on promotions, sales, price drops or perks a competitor is offering. If you’re a nail salon and spot a nearby competitor’s spring break promotion for a mani pedi, you can offer a similar promotion or beat the price to give consumers options.
Ask what went wrong – If you lose a customer, don’t be afraid to ask them where you went wrong. Surveys online can be short and easy for a consumer to fill out while perusing your site. Asking questions like what other sites in your niche area a person visits, where this person shops when they aren’t purchasing online and questions like these will help you identify your competition.