How to Spy on Your Competition
Everyone watches and learns from the competition. The world’s best athletes all do it, and so do entrepreneurs and business people at all levels, from Mom-and-Pop shops to CEOs. There are benefits to be gained, pitfalls to avoid and powerful business practices that you could be copying, adapting, and refining. You may learn your lessons so well that you can beat the competition at their own game.
It may sound sneaky, but it’s just smart business to know your competition, and online media makes it even easier today than ever before.
1. Sign up for Google Alerts
This is a very simple, free beginning point. Not only should you be getting alerts on your own company name, leaders and industry, but you can also use your alerts to watch your competitors. Monitor their CEO and learn about leadership changes, property acquisitions, product changes and other big news items the minute the information becomes available online.
2. Monitor their Social Media Accounts
Social media matters. If you can learn what your competition is saying, you will have a good bit of insight into how they run their business. Are clients voicing discontent with a service or the usability of a product on Twitter? Make sure your products don’t have the same issues. Are people complaining about slow service response times on your competition’s Facebook page? Maybe your service team can beat them at that game. Is your competition getting huge numbers of positive comments on their YouTube videos? Maybe you should consider this marketing tactic as well.
3. Look at Customer Testimonials
When you hear what a client has to say (on a social account, or even on your competitor’s website) about a particular brand, you get direct insight into what your customers really want. This “spy” tactic works particularly well if you are launching a new business and don’t really have clients of your own to learn from yet. Watch what your competition’s clients have to say about their products and cater directly to those needs.
4. Determine what Keywords the Competition is Using
To get and idea of what keywords your competition is using, take a look at the source code of their website. You can do this by navigating to the website, then in your browser clicking “View Source”. Inspect the meta tags, then use the Google AdWords tool to generate keyword suggestions based on those keywords and your competitor’s URL. You can also type in a keyword you think they are using and see if they have sponsored ads that come up in the sidebar of the search page results.
What other tactics are you using to spy on your competition? Leave us a comment and let us know what’s working for you.