Your competitors want your customers, so competitive intelligence is crucial.
Knowing as much as you can about the playing field is imperative to your business’s competitive advantage. This includes keeping tabs on other players. Your competitors want your customers, so in addition to everything else you do as a small business owner, you need to include competitive intelligence. You already know and understand your own company inside and out. Applying the same due diligence to your competitors is necessary to outperform them.
To Start, Go Google
Reviewing competitors’ web pages or conducting a Google search is basic. Don’t just glance at their web page, take time to read carefully the messages and services your competitors outline. Also, Google searches can be enhanced by employing Google Trends and Google Alerts. Google Alerts help find out who is looking at you. There may be new competitors on the horizon that you did not know about. Always keep your eyes open and search for competition.
Look at What Analysts Are Saying
Make it a habit to look at industry analyst firms such as Gartner. Also stay connected with your industry groups. Go to, or send your employees to conferences and trade shows. These conferences and trade shows are an opportunity to put a face to a company and connect with the other players on the field. The more information you can gather, the better.
Go Undercover on Social
More and more companies are using social networking sites like Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter as marketing outlets so you can also pick up information here. Monitor Tweets, Facebook posts, blogs and other media mentions. This is really an easy and low-cost way to find out what your competitors are up to. You can also search review sites such as Yelp and Citysearch to find out about new products, pricing and discounts. Spend time looking through various sites and see what consumers are saying about your competitors. Notice critiques and absolve your own business of those problems. See what customers like about your competitors and apply those practices to your business. Sign up for competitors’ emails and newsletters, have them tell you exactly what they are doing.
Don’t Forget About Your Customers!
Last but not least, ask your customers what they think or know about your competition. In order to maximize your company’s potential, you need to understand what your customers want – and what your competitors may be giving to them. A competitor’s customer might also be searching for a replacement and that replacement could be you if you offer the right services.
Competitive intelligence doesn’t have to be complicated, but it’s something that you cannot afford to ignore.
This article was originally published on donnadecarolis.com.