Unlike most people who are trying to make their bread and butter online – I am not really scared of my competitors. Especially the direct ones. In fact, I am grateful for them. If nothing else, they provide me with proof of my concepts on a regular basis.
If you find yourself standing alone in any type of niche or market in 2017 – chances are, you’re probably digging for gold in the wrong places. The numbers say that your efforts will most likely go down the drain and you’ll end up with nothing in your pockets.
When there’s no actual demand for the products and services you’re selling, the chances of making an actual profit are almost non-existent.
Anyone who knows a thing or two about business and marketing will instantly tell you that raising awareness for something that nobody wants is nothing short of a complete nightmare. Of course, it can be done – but you’ll really have to put your back into it. This sort of thing is always a big risk that has a high potential of draining your resources dry.
That’s why I am not one of those people who are willing to gamble their life savings on inventing the next wheel. I think of myself as the guy who’s going to reinvent it, and make it even better!
When I was coming up with Dibz, my general idea was to improve the process of link prospecting.
Same goes for Reportz. I just wanted to make my everyday tasks more manageable, and it seems that I am not the only one who is looking for the same.
Even though most entrepreneurs dream of having a specific niche or market all to themselves, studies have shown that we’re all far better off with a bit of healthy competition.
Competition is important because it:
- Provides you with necessary validation;
- Keeps you on your A game;
- Stimulates innovation;
- Makes your customer service better;
- Identifies your strengths and weaknesses;
- Helps you acknowledge and work on potential threats;
- Stops complacency;
- Helps you grow your business and market.
The last point is probably the most important of them all. Have you ever tried investing in demand generation by yourself? It’s no easy task.
It’s in your best interest to keep a close eye on your competitors. Especially if you work online. Your goal shouldn’t be just to monitor their actions but to try your best to analyze their efforts and build your strategy on the things that work best/worst for them. If you run a small online business, your best game plan is to research what your competitors are doing to bring in traffic from Google and try to replicate, or better yet, improve their processes.
In order to replicate someone’s success online, you must first get to know everything there is to know about that specific company. This is one of the most important and powerful weapons in every digital marketer’s arsenal. By identifying your rivals and evaluating every aspect of their business, you’ll easily acknowledge some of their biggest strengths and weaknesses relative to your own brand, products, and services.
By conducting a proper competitor analysis, you can learn what makes your business unique – and therefore, what kinds of opportunities you need to pursue to rise above your competition and prove to their current customers that you’re a far better choice.
Conducting a proper competitor analysis is all about asking the right question:
- Who are your direct and indirect competitors? – in order to win big in business, you must first see who’s going up against you for those same customers. Once you locate your true rivals, you can start working on a strategy on how to rise above them in every aspect of your business.
What kinds of products and services do they offer? – Now that you know who they are, you should take some time to truly acquaint yourself with their products and services. The devil lies always in the details. Maybe your competitors are making/selling something that you can easily replicate and improve as well? Maybe even make it better? You’ll never know if you don’t actually look.
What’s their market share? – This is extremely important. If you don’t fully familiarize yourself with a leading competitor’s market share history, you cannot really get a clear picture of its actual competitiveness. The more information you have about a particular company’s market presence, the better the chances you’ll have of determining their actual strengths.
What are their past and current strategies? – Learning about your competitors history is of great importance for business. You need to know where they’ve been, what hasn’t worked for them, and where are they now. You don’t want to waste any of your precious time chasing scenarios that have already been exploited to the max by your rivals.
- What’s their unique selling proposition? – USP is basically the only thing that truly defines your offer on the market. It helps you develop a rational pricing strategy, and transform your company into a brand people will truly love. A solid USP lets you stand from the crowd and helps you constantly create something that caters to your ideal group of customers. Once you figure out your direct competitors USP, you can easily see where most of their revenue is coming from. From there, you can start working on your own strategy that revolves around an idea of covering all the holes your competitors have still failed to do so.
- What’s the best/worst part of their business? – Before you enter your competitor’s territory, you need to develop a proper plan of action. You need to choose your battles wisely. Don’t just charge everywhere. Find their soft spot and build on that.
- How and where do they advertise their business? – If you run a small business, you need to be careful where you advertise your brand and products. You cannot really afford to constantly push your brand name all over the Web. Nope. Most small businesses don’t have that much money to burn on marketing. You have to be smart with your budget. It’s in your best interest to find effective, low-cost solutions that have the potential of bringing you some significant ROI. That’s why it’s of great importance to track your rivals’ activity in this particular field. If they’ve been longer in this game, you can rest assure knowing that your competitors have already figured out where your potential customers hang out and what kind of advertisements usually work for them. Be smart, track their effort and look for ways on how you can build upon what they’re currently doing with their advertisements.
- How and where do they generate most of their sales and leads? – I’m talking about the process of making actual sales here. It’ important to know how do your rivals actually close deals, and what can you do in order to replicate or even add more value to their standard processes.
These are just some of the questions you need to answer if you want to have a clear picture in mind on how you can beat your rivals at their own game.
By locating and exploiting your rival’s weaknesses, and providing a solution for those who are still not fully satisfied with your competitors’ work – you can easily generate a lot of sales, without spending a fortune on fighting your rival in battles on their home court.
Acquaint Yourself with Your Competition and their Organic Search
Once you have learned who your real rivals are and what they do, the second step of your strategy should be to figure out what kind of traffic your competitors are chasing and where it’s coming from.
In order to do that, you’ll need a specific tool that has the power to provide you with a peek behind your competitors curtain. I use Ahrefs for such research. All you have to do is enter the competitor’s domain in search, and Ahrefs will feed you with a list of pages that send the most traffic to your targeted web address. Apart from that, this great piece of software will also feed you with a list of keywords for which they rank for.
Once you have the tool which provides you with that kind of information, your next step should be to focus on the top results and figure out if there’s anything you can do to beat them at their own game.
Do you have the necessary resources and knowledge to write 10x better content than your competitors?
Can you come up with relevant content that still hasn’t been covered on their site?
These are just some of the ideas that could help you get ahead of your direct competitors and provide your targeted customers with enough reasons to prefer your brand in search. The list of possibilities is actually endless. As long as you monitor your competitor’s actions online and think of ways to become a better resource in the eyes of your users – you’ll be ok.
Remember – a little bit of extra effort can get you far online.
Dig Through Their Backlink Portfolio
Link building is the lifeblood of SEO. Nothing influences a site’s rankings in the search like earning high-quality backlinks from authority domains. However, building quality links isn’t really an easy process. Especially for people who don’t already have that much experience in this field. In order to win big in this department, you cannot blindly chase links from all sorts of sites that have a respectable domain authority.
No. Context and relevancy play a very important role.
That’s why it’s always good to take a closer look at your competitor’s backlink profile. By following their strategy and techniques, you can earn more high-quality links, which will in the long-run help you in beating them in Google’s SERP for your most relevant keywords. Even though it’s impossible to get all the links that your competitors have, doing a proper backlink analysis can help you build a solid foundation for your own strategy.
If you really invest in this process, you’ll learn why your competitors are ranking for a particular search term and how can you replicate their efforts. You can also go a bit further and build an ultimate high-quality backlink opportunity list which you can re-use over and over again to pump up rankings for any of your future resources.
Again, I use Ahrefs for such a thing. It is by far the best and most relevant backlink checker out there. This tools will provide you with a list of domains linking back to a site and the targets they are pointing to. Apart from that, this software also gives you the opportunity to analyze your competitors’ most shared and linked content, set up various different alerts, track their new links and brand mentions, and – most important of all – find and fix their broken links.
Nobody likes a broken link. It doesn’t really matter who you are or what you do online – a broken link is always bad for your SEO. It’s a wasted opportunity that webmasters are more than happy to fix if you provide them with a good enough resource to replace the broken link with. This a great way to generate some serious, relevant traffic to your site and beat your competitors at their own game.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post from top to bottom. I hope it has provided enough reasons to welcome your competition and think of it more as a blessing rather than a curse for your business.
This post is part of our contributor series. It is written and published independently of TNW.