8 Ways to Get to Know Your Competition

8 Ways to Get to Know Your Competition

Do you know what your competition is doing? If you want to stay competitive, you should! Many business owners think that competition research is either too hard or just not worth it. However, understanding your competition is key to keeping your edge. While it may seem sneaky, there are plenty of perfectly legal, readily accessible ways to keep tabs on the other companies in your space.

Read the Local Papers
Subscribe to the local paper and business weekly in the city in which your competition is based. Typically when reporting on industry trends or new ventures, these publications will interview local businesses related to the topic. You’d be surprised to learn what your competitor might reveal when they think they are only being read by a small local market. Even if you are in the same local area as your competitor, what they say when interviewed can give you major insight to the their PR strategy and what their future plans might be.

Talk to your Vendors
If you and your competition share vendors, having a good rapport with them can help you glean some information about them. While you certainly do not want to be pushy, general questions to a vendor about what the “average” customer for them looks like, could lead to some specific examples.

Go to Trade Shows
Busy tradeshows can be chaotic. This is a great opportunity to eavesdrop on what your competitor is saying to their prospects. Also, new programs and initiatives are often revealed at tradeshows so paying special attention to your competitors during these events can help give you insight on what’s next for their company.

Play Secret Shopper
If you’re competition has a physical space like a retail store, why not drop by and observe the environment and personnel? What in-store processes are working for them and what isn’t? If your competition is more of a service-based or online business, try filling out their contact form (use your personal email or phone number!) and find out what their response is like. How similar or different is it from yours?

Ask your customers
For retail and online stores, you can bet your customers are familiar with your competition as they likely shop there too. For larger product and service-based companies, it is likely that your customers also evaluated your competition. A feedback survey or just a casual conversation with a customer about their experience with you versus your competitor can give you valuable insight to what you are doing right and what you can do better.

Google your Competitor’s Website
Don’t just visit your competitor’s site – Google them! Google can reveal pages that aren’t live or linked from their website that might include internal documents, presentations, or new initiatives and landing pages. In addition, you can view their page source code to reveal what keywords they may be using to get high search engine rankings.

Pay Attention to their Social Media Pages
Like or follow your competitor on social media. This can help you learn more about their clients and their brand messaging. It can also help you gain insight about their employees and their involvement in the community or industry that may be bringing them some visibility.

Check Out the Competition’s Job Openings
This is a great way to see what a company is hiring for and use it to get an image of what they might be planning. For instance, if you own a video production company and your competitor is hiring an online marketing strategist, you might suspect that they are going to begin offering a video marketing package as a new service. You may want to consider doing the same to keep up!


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