In order to create a better service based business you really need to know who your audience is and what they are all about. One of the easiest ways to find that out is by studying your competition since they deliver the same or similar services as you do. This due diligence on your part can really give your business the upper hand.
How Are They Different from You?
No competition is going to be exactly the same as you. You are uniquely you and they are, too. Identify the ways in which your products and/or services differ. Note exactly what is different so that you can see whether or not you need to make changes, or whether or not your product is different enough to make your business stand out.
How Do They Market to Their Audience?
In what ways does your competition market to their audience? Do they use social media, freebies, blog content and/or other means to get the word out about their products and services? Plus, how successful are they in their efforts?
How Is Their Service the Same as Yours?
In what ways are your service (or products) the same? Is there something about their service that could be confused with yours? If so, how can you make yours stand out better and how can you improve yours so that you are one step ahead of them in terms of the quality of service that you deliver?
How Do Their Prices Compare to Yours?
Are they less expensive or more expensive than you? Why? Is there anything you can do in order to change your own price to make your services stand out better? If they are cheaper, can you make your services better in order to not be the low-cost leader? Maybe you could put your services into packages that would entice prospects to buy from you?
How Do They Use Their Website to Market Their Services?
Check out every aspect of their website, from the colors to the words on the page. Do they have a newsletter sign-up? Do they offer a freebie giveaway? How are they using their website on the whole to market their business?
How Do They Use Social Media?
Do they have sign-ups on their website for social media? Do they use share buttons on their blog posts? Are they answering questions on social media and engaging with their audience? Knowing how your competition uses and misuses social media can help you become better at using it.
What Type of Content Is on Their Website?
Is your competition using content on their website that is keyword rich? Do you think it’s private label rights articles, ghostwritten, or written by the website owner? Do they use a variety of different forms of content such as text, video, infographics and so forth?
How Often Do They Update Content?
Is the content updated often? What days and what time? Is the audience commenting on, liking and sharing their website content regularly? Does your competition share their content updates via social media, email newsletter and other means?
Researching your competition can help you discover so much about your own business and your audience. Studying the competition takes you out of your comfort zone and puts you into their territory. By studying your competition it will help you learn many things that can help you in your own business to improve your profits and products.
Here’s a few ideas to get you started:
Keywords to Use
When you find your competition, figure out what keywords they rank high for. Then determine whether or not these are keywords you want to compete directly on, or if you can identify better keywords to use to attract the same audience.
Watching how your competition engages with their audience can teach you ways in which to improve your own engagement. Identify mistakes and successes in your competition to ensure that you’re covering all bases.
Ways in Which to Differentiate Yourself
By seeing how you and your competition are the same, you can identify more ways to make your business stand out. The more ways that you can differentiate your business from theirs, the better and the higher your profit will be.
Weak Points to Exploit
By completely studying all that your competition has to offer, you can identify gaps in services or products for your audience in which you can fill. This is yet another way to make your business stand out over theirs.
The Best Topics That Elicit Engagement
When watching your competition, which topics of discussion on social media and blog posts get the most engagement from the audience? Is the engagement productive or counter-productive?
Identify Important Niche Influencers
Do they promote affiliates and others within your niche that you can promote too? Will it help if you start offering these products and promoting the same gurus? If so, how; if not, why not?
How Much They Charge for Their Services
Knowing what your competition charges, and how they process the payments as well as deliver the products and/or services they offer, can go a long way to making good decisions for your own business.
Identify Your Own Product Gaps
Line up what you offer service/product for service/product with what your competition offers and see if you have gaps in your coverage. If you do, fill them with your own complementary products and/or service.
What Software Works Best
When you try out your competitions’ products or services you can find out what software they use to process orders. Does it work well, do you like it, or does it have issues that can be fixed using a better service?
Using your competition to learn how to run your own profitable business is simple. If you are already part of a niche, or already have a particular audience, find out where your audience goes to get their information and actually order from your competition. Don’t steal or plagiarize but do get ideas on how to make your products better than theirs.
Don’t study your competition once and then rest on your laurels. Instead, take the time to regularly look for new competition and check out your old competition. You never know what you can learn from the information you collected. In fact, it’s probably a good idea to continue following and observing your competition at all times in order to stay abreast of your industry.