Terms like “competitive market analysis” can be intimidating, but it’s a simple concept that is about as complex as stalking your ex’s new boyfriend on Facebook. Here’s a better way to spend your drunken midnight hours that may actually help improve your business and not land you a restraining order. I know, I know, but you “loved her, man.” Read on.
First off, you must identify your competitors. Had you known that Amanda liked blondes, you could have kept a better eye on your surfer pal, Trip, and this would have been a different article altogether. Keep it simple by hitting Google and picking the top 10 search results – that’s a good start. Use the terms you want to be identified by and you’re bound to get some hits. You may even discover search term ideas you didn’t know you should be focusing on.
Next, you can start to spend some time dissecting their advertising. Keep these questions in mind: What does their advertising look like? Think colors and tone. Maybe Trip wears a lot of blue and that’s Amanda’s favorite color. You should have known that! She couldn’t help being drawn to him. What information is included in their ads? Is it getting printed, emailed or dragged across the sky behind a plane? You want to know what they are using to try and convey their message and try to understand why it’s appealing to the customers they seek.
Lastly, you’ve done it before and you can do it again (with pride this time)– stalk them. Delete Trip’s lame profile with a hundred pictures of the sunset and follow your competitors on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, wherever. Figure out what kind of content they are posting and what the message is. Are they offering giveaways or participating in charity events? How often are they sending out press releases or getting other publicity? You can find this out by setting up a Google Alert with the business’s name or service and waiting to see what kind of hits come back. This is an excellent and effective tool that I use everyday.
Admitting you have a problem is the first step – Using it to your advantage is the next.