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Are you the type to wonder what to do next when figuring out how to keep up with your competition? Entrepreneur has posted some great tips regarding not spending a lot of time figuring out what they are doing and how to track it.
The following are a few tips that I know you should find helpful!
1. Sign up for Google Alerts. A simple and easy way of getting updates on your competitions’ activity online is via Google Alerts, and it couldn’t be easier to set up and it is FREE! Just insert your competitors’ names into the search query and select what results you want to be notified of — including news, blogs, video and discussion. You can have those notifications sent to you as they happen, every day or weekly.
2. Connect on social media. “Like” and “follow” your competition on Facebook, Twitter and other social media channels. Make sure you track both the brand and its key leaders to get a sense of what they are doing. For example, as a fitness owner, you may want to follow the names of fitness centers you compete with as well as the instructors to get a full picture of their activity.
3. Enroll in your competition’s mailings and promotions. Sign up for your competitors’ e-mail and direct marketing campaigns, commonly known as Customer Relationship Marketing (CRM) programs. Become a regular “customer” and you’ll quickly see what kind of offers they provide and how they stack up to yours.
4. Become a secret shopper. Conduct shopping trips to try out your competitors’ customer experience, both online and in-store. Purchase your competitors’ products to see what the process feels like. Take notes on the customer service techniques you are seeing, as well as how the assortment of products are sourced, merchandised and priced.
5. Visit their trade show booths (stores). When you go to trade shows or their actual locations, be sure to pick up your competitor’s materials. For example, if you are in the martial arts industry, pick up some competitive brochures, pricing and schedule information so that you can stay current to industry trends.
6. Monitor your competitors’ websites. You can learn a lot about your competition by keeping an eye on their website. Keep up with the new functionalities they add and see what kind of traction they may be getting. If you are in the floral business, for example, being familiar with your competitors’ websites will allow you to track what information they are offering customers and what trends in floral design, party planning and flower selection they are following.
The goal here is to make sure all the marketing elements that form your brand experience are better than those of your competitors. If you see something that doesn’t seem to be working, could the same be said of your marketing? Adjust accordingly. Determine the most effective ways to engage your customers.
It’s very easy to identify those other brands that offer exactly what you do. Look beyond the obvious and follow your indirect competitors as well. Who are the competitors that can draw time, attention and money away from your brand?
For example, if you run a martial arts school, other martial arts are not your only competition. You are competing for shoppers at other sports and activities in the area. If you are a store, many small businesses see online brands as their biggest competition, regardless of location.