Like most small business owners, you likely do not have the market cornered for your particular product or service. In fact, there is probably a slew of other companies vying for the same target audience. So how do you stand out above your competition? The first step is to identify who your local competitors are and have a solid content marketing plan to outrank and outsell them. Do not be intimidated by businesses who are established and seem to have it all together. Even as the new kid on the block, you can still outwit your rivals with search engine marketing. The best way to do this is by hiring an SEO writer or digital marketing agency. Read below for our top seven tips on how to identify and outsmart your competition and you will be at the top of the charts in no time.
Get to Know Your Industry
Before you begin search engine marketing, get to know your business industry. Researching your competition is essential to a strong marketing strategy. Think about it this way, if you don’t know who your competitors are or what marketing tactics they use, you’ll have a hard time standing out in a crowd. Knowing your industry is vital to finding your local competitors. In order to familiarize yourself with the industry, involve yourself with various channels of engagement. This includes reading blogs, following social media groups, participating in online forums, subscribing to a local magazine or even joining local clubs and associations. Staying active in these groups will help you to identify key players and influencers in your industry as well as the kinds of businesses dominating the market.
Conduct Market Research
You do not need to be an expert to conduct market research. Start by looking at the market for your products or services and determine which companies are selling similar ones. If you have a sales team, ask them which competitors they notice coming up often in their sales approach. This will allow you to look closely at the marketing strategies of those companies. As a result of this research, you will be able to plan strategies that beat your competition.
Perform Competitive SEO Analysis
Keyword research is one of the best ways to identify your competition. Conduct a competitive SEO analysis so you can determine which businesses are competing for space on Google. Think about the keywords from the clients’ perspective and what search terms they would use. Most of your customers will look for products and solutions by typing into search engines. In today’s age of digital marketing, you’re in competition not only with direct competitors but also a slew of other websites competing for the same keywords important for your business.
Check Local Directories
There are a variety of online lists and directories your business may show up in. This is because either from direct submission from your business or automatic aggregation. Search these lists to see who else in your area provides a similar or competitive service. If your page ranking is lower than your competitors, you may want to consider list optimization measures to help improve your visibility.
Talk to Customers
If you want to know who your main local competitors are, talk your customers to see where they previously shopped or if they’ve used other industry businesses in the past. You can also ask them why they decided to switch to your business. These are common questions in many industries. Learning to conduct your own market research is important to expanding your reach and satisfying your customers.
Take Advantage of Social Media
Regular engagement on social media is essential for advancing your brand with your online audience. You can also find out about your competitors on social media. Who do your customers interact with on social media? What information is relevant to your business and are they posting or sharing? Are there any new trends in your industry? You may be able to backtrack some of this engagement to a competitor’s content marketing campaign. Also, spending time reading your competitors’ social media platforms and websites will help you find new methods to adopt or avoid.
Facebook Groups you participate in for personal use can help you find local competitors, even if the groups are not relevant to your particular business. When people are looking for services, they’ll reach out to people who they are close to or similar to them. Keep your eye out for questions about services related to your business. You don’t want to just jump in and offer yours, but you’ll want to wait and see what other people come up with first. This way, you can not only find out who your competitors are but also who is at the top in your area.
Monitor Your Reputation
Positive online reviews are essential for the success and survival of your company. You need to be aware of what customers are saying. However, reputation monitoring can be hard to stay up to date with because of countless websites and applications which enable customers to search, review, and find businesses. Use Google alerts or other reputation monitoring tools to help with handling your audience relationships or to find new competition and trends in your industry. You can also engage a professional reputation management service to make sure your online reputation is sterling.
For help establishing who your real competition is and making the most of your digital marketing efforts, contact us. We want to be your in-house, outsourced marketing team.