When you are devising a strong marketing strategy, competitive research is vital. By identifying your competitors and their marketing tactics, you will be able to differentiate yourself and your product and/or service from the crowd.
Easier said than done, right?
Don’t worry! We’ve got 6 easy steps on how you can identify your competitors in order to create a powerful marketing strategy that meets your customers’ needs.
Differentiate between direct and indirect competitors
Before we get into the 6 easy steps in identifying your competitors, we must first differentiate between direct and indirect competitors.
Direct competitors are businesses who sell or market the same products as your business. Your customers will often compare you and your direct competitors before making their purchasing decision.
On the other hand, indirect competitors are businesses who don’t sell or market the same products but are in competition with your business digitally. They may write the same type of content as you or be competing for the same keywords. You can think of indirect competitors are those who are competing for your target markets’ attention.
Identifying direct competitors:
- Undertake market research
Look at the market for your product and identify which other businesses are selling a product that would compete with yours. Once you have identified your competitors, analyse their product and marketing efforts, and create strategies to perform better than them.
- Encourage customer feedback
Your customers act as the door towards identifying your direct competitors. When they have decided on your business and product, you can ask them which other businesses/products that they have been considering.
- Check online communities on social media or community forums
With the rise of the internet and social media, your potential customers will often seek out advice and recommendations on social media sites, or on community forums.
Research the conversations your customers are having on these websites in order to identify your competitors. This is a great tactic to use as research has shown that recommendations from a friend or family member has a higher level of influence on consumer buying decisions than television ads.
Identifying Indirect Competitors:
- Use keyword research
The best strategy in identifying your indirect competitors is to conduct keyword search, also known as competitive SEO analysis. By doing this, you can determine which businesses are competing the same keywords on Google.
A great tool to use is Conductor Searchlight which can allow you to look at the keywords that your direct competition is targeting as well as telling you which websites are ranking for a keyword you are looking for.
- Analyse Google’s search engine results page
The value proposition of your product is a vital factor in determining keywords that are central to your product or offering.
Once you have found the keywords, type them into Google and identify who is competing with your content on search engines. This could be anyone from a person, blog, business, organisation or publication that is the indirect competition of your business.
- Look at paid data
With the keywords that you have identified, head into AdWords and see if there is a lot of competition. If there is, determine which businesses are purchasing ads for those keywords. If they are paying ads for a keyword, then they are competing with you for space on Google.
After you have identified your direct and indirect competitors, it is time to determine marketing opportunities, so you can start performing better than them.
Keyword research is extremely helpful in determining which areas you should focus your attention on.
Likewise, by looking at your competitor’s social media presence, you can determine where they are focusing their efforts. Then you can find opportunities to compete with them directly or find your differentiating point by looking for gaps in their content or new perspectives to approaching questions from your target audience.
It is evident that competitive analysis is key to building a strong marketing strategy. There are many tools that will assist you in developing a holistic understanding of your direct and indirect competition.
What is your experience in identifying your competition?