Your competition isn't 'nobody'
I speak to A LOT of people about their brands and A LOT of those people are quick to answer “we don't have any” when I ask about competition – while I truly admire this confidence, pretending competition doesn’t exist won’t help you stand-out. Identifying your competition will not only help you understand their strengths and weaknesses, it helps you understand yours too. Find your competitive advantage, find the marketplace where you hold that advantage and be a badass in your field. Own it.
We all think our own business is fantastic and that we do stand out, but of course we are biased. Have you ever actually analysed your competition and validated what you believe about your competitive advantage? It's a difficult task to do well but if you can analyse your competition in-depth, you're onto a winner.
Knowing your competition will help you:
- Understand your competitive advantages in detail
- Understand the marketplaces where you hold those advantages and own them
- Target your marketing efforts and in-turn increase your return on marketing investments
- Keep your friends close, keep your... competition closer (gain clarity on who your competitors are and what they're up to)
How to identify your competition
First think about your direct and indirect competition. Your direct competition are those businesses that sell the same products or services that you do. Your indirect competition are those businesses that don't sell the exact same stuff you do, but compete with you to solve the same problems for your target audience.
Here's where to look to identify your competition:
Asses the market of your product or service and identify the key players selling similar products or services to you.
If you have a current customer base, don't be afraid to ask them which other businesses they considered before buying from you and why they chose to buy from you over your competition.
Social 'listening' is a great way to assess competition and keep up to date with what your customers are thinking. Monitor relevant social media channels for mentions of your brand, competitors, product, and any keywords relevant to your business. By listening to the conversations your customers are having on these channels, you’ll be able to identify additional competitors and analyse them.
Keyword research is a good way to identify your indirect competition - you can use it identify who is fighting for the same space on the web. Customers routinely look for solutions by searching online, this means that you could be in competition with a blog or other website using the same keywords that are relevant to your business - even if they're not selling a similar product. Google keyword planner is good place to start.
How to analyse your competition
Conduct a competitive analysis to identify what your competition is doing right and what they could be doing better, then use this information to improve your own competitive advantage. Here are the 6 simple steps to analysing your competition:
- Identify your competition
- Locate their content
- Evaluate the quality of their content
- Identify their strengths and competitive advantages
- Identify areas for improvement and weaknesses
- Do it better
So, who is your competition? How will you stand out?