There’s a lot of noise out there…in fact it’s down right deafening.
In a culture where businesses are constantly competing for customers’ attention both on and offline, it can be challenging for any business—big or small—to stand out from the crowd.
[source: Jennifer Miller, Colorado Biz] There are, however, a few strategies you and your team can execute today that will give your business a competitive edge.
This is the first step in understanding your market and your competition. It sounds obvious, but many businesses overlook this vital strategy. Start by identifying your top competitors both locally and nationally. Then, dig into their business virtually to understand how they operate, what services/products they offer, how they position themselves in the marketplace and how they describe their differentiators. Take copious notes of items like keywords that are popping up in your search and review all notes with your business partners.
Many businesses have a presence on a social media platform—Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Yelp. Peruse your competition’s social media pages to see what kinds of company news and industry information they are posting and what fan/follower feedback they are receiving from their efforts. This will give you an idea of what trends they are following and what “value” they are providing to their current and future customers. Doing this search will help you identify areas for improvement in your own social media efforts as well as garner inspiration for how you can make your business’ social media strategy stronger.
Check out a few industry trade shows to get a physical sense of your competition. See what types of digital and printed literature they offer and, if possible, pick up a brochure or flyer to gauge their visual identity. See what kinds of colors, designs and copy they are using in their marketing collateral to attract new business. Additionally, you will see how your competition interacts with potential customers so you can understand what to do and what not to do at your next trade show.
If the previously mentioned strategies seem daunting, the best and perhaps, most telling, strategy is to leverage your customer’s thoughts. Your customers and clients chose to do business with you for a reason—so find out what that reason is. Pick their brains about what specifically sold them to do business with you and get their feedback on what could be improved. You’ll gain valuable insight into what’s working well for your business, your differentiators and areas you can improve upon to boost leads and conversions.
These strategies alone or combined are certain to give you valuable insight into your competition and will arm you with the tools and resources you need to stay ahead.