Here's the reality: your clients have other buying options besides your products and services. But, don't let this intimidate you. As a business rockstar with an individual brand identity, you have an advantage; you can use your competitors to grow your business just by keeping tabs on their tactics and learning from them. Do you know what your competition is up to? If not, you've got some homework to do.
Today's buyers (your prospective clients) are conducting their own research and making purchase decisions based on the value of your product or service. In fact, 56% of purchasing decisions are driven by product quality . Closely watching your competition's marketing approach, sales tactics, and offers will help you gain more business strategy and a more competitive edge to your answer when a buyer asks, "why should I buy from you?" Here are some ways you can use your competitors to produce better business results for yourself.
Get An Eyeful Of Their Website
It's best to start with the nitty-gritty. Scope out their website to learn who they are, what they are offering, what type of customers they are targeting (make sure it's similar to yours), etc. Navigate through their website to examine the layout/design, site speed, and user-friendly features. See if their products can be found quickly, if their services are advertised clearly, what their price points are, and if check-out is easy. By carrying out a SWOT analysis - strength, weakness, opportunity, threat - you will be able to keep track of comparisons.
Next, you'd want to look for any special offers and promotions they are running, as well as any customer reviews they may have received. Perform a keyword search on Google; think SEO to check if they rank high in search engine results pages. Give it a try and see which name comes up first on Google - is it your company or your competitor?
If you want to take your research a little further, why not experience their services for yourself? Sort of like a secret shopper, call them up for a free consultation or pay them a visit. Studying their approach will allow you to leverage competitive prices and will help you develop a better brand identity.
Check Out Their Newsletter
Subscribing to their mailing lists will give you insight on a few revealing things about their marketing strategy that can be used to improve your own.
- Look out for frequency.
- Observe the kind of content it includes along with layout, design, and calls to action.
- Test it on your smartphone - check if they are using mobile marketing best practices.
- See if they offer special promos or discounts and track how often.
Social Media Pop In
Social media channels are such a practical tool for so many reasons, and in this case, it's an open book to the way your competition engages and deals with their audiences. By monitoring their social media accounts, not only will you be in the loop about their new product announcements, but you'll also see what kind of posts their followers interact with most. That means knowing which posts are causing them to win or lose followers - it could be a link, promo, blog post, etc. For example, 30% of people are more likely to engage with a brand when a post has been shared by a friend, according to HubSpot. You might also want to consider using a social media platform that your competition is not using (only if it's right for your organization). For example, Snapchat could be the next B2B marketing trend.
Tip: pay close attention to how your competition handles complaints and problems on social media. Do they do a good job at easing their clients' frustrations? Do you they offer their clients answers or solutions to their problems? And if so, assess the manner in which they do it.
The Price Is Right?
Setting competitive prices has more to do with value than cost. Whether your competitors can get the job done faster than you and for a lower price is not exactly in your client's best interest; what your clients really care about is the value you drive to their bottom line. Dharmesh Shah, Founder and CTO of HubSpot, writes, "Many entrepreneurs think that a competitor will come in and beat them on price. You may lose some customers, but in the long haul, a competitor can't be you by just being cheaper."
Sometimes, lowering your prices to compete with your rival can be more harmful than good. When it comes to selling the same goods, set yourself apart from your competitors by offering a competitive edge; provide valuable customer service, build your relationship with existing customers, deliver a personable approach and flexibility; these are some ways to make you memorable!