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An Effective Competitive Analysis : Part 2 of 3

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By Debbie Gregory.

LinkedIN Debbie Gregory VAMBOA VAMBOA Facebook VAMBOA Twitter

 

In the first part of our competitive analysis series we covered the basics including what the analysis is, how it will benefit you and your business, as well as how to get started. In Part 2 of our series, we will cover more of the information you need to be collecting such as your competitor’s pricing, financial records, job postings, and what is on their website.

 

Pricing and Financial Records:

Knowing what your competition charges can help you make sure that your products and services are priced competitively in your overall market. If competitors do not list their prices on their website. You might want to make a call to obtain a sales quote or a sense of what they charge with their sales or marketing people.

 

If your competition is a publicly held company, it will be quite easy to obtain their financial records. Don’t become discouraged if your competition is privately held. Most companies will occasionally talk about their finances in press releases, interviews, blogs, and the like. Keep an eye out for any nuggets of information while you are conducting your search.

 

Check Competitors’ Job Postings:

Looking at who they are trying to hire can tell you a lot about what is going on inside of the company.

 

For example:

  • Hiring developers or engineers? Odds are good they have a new project in the works.
  • Hiring sales people? Odds are good they need more customers.
  • Lots of openings all over the board? Odds are good either they are in a growth mode or there is turmoil at the company causing high turnover rates.

 

We also recommend looking at websites such as Glass Door that allows ex- and current employees to leave reviews about their employers   This information can give you some very interesting insights into the company’s culture.

 

A Long Look At Their Website:

We all know how valuable a company’s website is. Websites remain the number one marketing tool for informing, selling, and gaining new leads. A website should be kept up-to-date with all of the current trends as well as useful content for prospective clients.

 

Website Items to Check Out:

  • Is their site utilizing up-to-date technology and is it easy to navigate?
  • What are they attempting to do and is really working?
  • What are they attempting that isn’t working?
  • Do they have a blog that is kept updated?
  • What types of content do they create and share?
  • Are they getting ahead or falling behind?
  • What gaps can you fill that they’re failing to?
  • Do they offer any valuable content such as eBooks, guides, or reports?
  • Who are they targeting?
  • How are they using their site to acquire leads or sell items?

 

In Part 3 of this series, we will go even deeper into the information you should be collecting. We will look at your competition’s social media channels, as well as their SEO performance, and provide you a few tips for sorting and utilizing the information.

An Effective Competitive Analysis : Part 1 of 3

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By Debbie Gregory.

LinkedIN Debbie Gregory VAMBOA VAMBOA Facebook VAMBOA Twitter

 

What is a competitive analysis?

A competitive analysis is defining and evaluating your major competitor’s strengths and weaknesses then comparing them with your own.

 

Why do a competitive analysis?

When you have a better understanding of your competition, the greater your chances are to outperform them.

 

A competitive analysis can be a very effective tool to help you grow your business. The more comprehensive and in-depth your analysis, the greater benefit to you and your business.

 

Types of competitors:

There are many types of competitors. You may have a fairly accurate sense of who your competition is but you might be surprised to learn that you overlooked some competitors.

  • Direct competition – These are the businesses that offer the same products and services that you do and service your target market.
  • Indirect competition – These are the businesses that offer the same or very similar products and services that you do but they target a little different market than you do.
  • Tertiary competition – These are the businesses that offer something that may vaguely link to your business but isn’t in direct competition with you.

 

Search for information about your competitors:

Begin your analysis by compiling a list of names of known competitors as well as keywords or phrases that are linked to your products and services. Once you have that list in hand, select your favorite search engine and use it to locate your competition.

 

Search engines are wonderful for helping you figure out who your competitors are as well as helping you to gather data on what they are doing. Don’t stop there! You will need to click on their sites, social channels, articles, and more to gain the information you need to do you analysis.

 

Ways to find out who your competitors are:

  • Look at the ads / sponsored listings when you do your searches
  • Use content analyzing tools to search blog posts and social media for company names
  • Ask your current customers, or prospective customers, who else they use or have used
  • Read trade publications
  • Check social media channels
  • Look at popular forums

 

Put the data in a spreadsheet:

Once you have your list compiled, you can begin your actual competitive analysis. It is a good idea to use a spreadsheet to keep all the information you collect together and in a format that is easy to read and access.

 

Obtain a basic overview of your competition:

 

Include information:

  • Number of employees
  • Noteworthy employees
  • Number of offices and locations
  • Number of clients
  • Annual Revenue
  • Products and services offered
  • Area(s) they operate I
  • Websites and social media channels they own
  • Company history and significant milestones
  • Message/Brand

 

Next, you want to take a close look at how the company sees itself. The easiest way to do this is to look at the content they put out under their brand. How do they talk about their own products and services?

 

Look closely at items such as:

  • Website copy (the text on the site)
  • Social media channels
  • Printed materials (flyers, brochures, trade materials, etc.)
  • Employees speaking at events
  • Press releases or appearances
  • Interviews given by employees or management

 

The messages they put out will provide valuable insight into what they feel is important, the key areas they focus on, and the type of customer they are targeting.

 

Ask yourself these types of questions while compiling the data:

  • What is their opening piece of copy on their homepage?
  • What features/products do they emphasize?
  • Who (what types of people or customers) are they specifically talking to?
  • How do they talk/what language do they use?
  • What are their main selling points?
  • What imagery (graphs, charts, cartoons, photos, etc.) do they use?
  • What competitors do they talk about, if any?
  • What clients do they highlight, if any?

 

Please stay tuned for Part 2 of this series will go into greater depth regarding the information you should be collecting such as pricing, financial records, job postings, and their website.

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