Launching a business is always a challenging and time-consuming process, particularly if you are trying to make a breakthrough in a highly competitive niche. Studies reveal that 90% of new companies fail, most of which fall apart within a year. Why it is so hard to create a successful organization?
The answer lies in the sheer complexity of the process as you need to take care of everything from business plans and customer service to sales and online marketing. Besides that, almost 20% of new companies fail because they get outcompeted.
If you don’t want to fall into the same trap, you have to analyze the market and learn all you can about the closest niche rivals. In this post, we will discuss seven questions you should ask to squeeze the most out of your competitor research. Let’s take a look:
1. What Can I Learn About Competitors Online?
We live in the digital era and the only natural thing is to begin your research on the Internet. It is also the easiest way to start the quest. You need to conduct a full online analysis of your competitors and figure out how they look like in the eyes of digital searchers.
After all, almost 90% of shoppers now begin product searches online. Internet research consists of several segments:
Google: Do you know that 93% of the entire traffic comes from a search engine? It’s the basic source of information and you should see who pops up first in engine searches.
Website: Check out their content and posts they use to win over the audience.
Social media: Almost every brand is active on social networks these days, which gives you the chance to learn about competitors’ style of work and their interactions with the fans.
– Business directories: Websites like Yelp can help you to analyze companies and see their online reviews.
2. What Are Their Products and Services?
The next thing you need to know is what your biggest niche rivals sell. What are their products and/or services? The goal is to analyze portfolios and learn what you are dealing with here.
Do they offer something fresh and exciting? Are you able to offer the same or even better products and services? What about the prices? All of these features will strongly impact your market position and influence the profitability of the business. Take these agencies for example:
They work more or less the same things, but each company has something special to offer because they all want to distinguish themselves from their rivals.
Besides that, we strongly encourage you to research competitors’ distribution network and determine where and how they sell products or services. Are they online retailers? Perhaps they combine both sales channels, online and offline? Can you buy their products in every store or in specialized shops only? The way you answer these questions will probably show you the path you need to take, too.
3. Can I Attend Their Events?
Successful companies tend to organize a lot of events where they can meet potential clients. There are all sorts of product launches, corporate celebrations, holiday events, seminars, round tables, and other events to consider here, so the question you need to ask is: Can I join the party?
If the answer is yes, you should definitely apply and attend events organized by your competitors.
This is quite a big deal because it gives you a first-hand opportunity to analyze rivals. You can hear their lectures, listen to their speeches, and see all those little things that make them better or worse than you and your organization.
4. Are They Doing Business Professionally?
Here is another very important question you should think about: Are my competitors doing a good job serving customers? This is a critical part of the research because it should give you a lot of insights about your rivals’ business procedures, lead nurturing, customer service, and so on.
How can you learn all this? Our suggestion is simple – do business with your competitors!
The easiest option is to subscribe to their email newsletter or add a few products to the shopping cart. It will reveal many details about your competitors and show you how they treat their prospects. You can take an extra step and purchase a few products because it will help you to learn more about their shipping and payment options as well as delivery dates.
Of course, we also recommend you to contact these companies via phone, email, and live chat to see how quickly and accurately they can answer users’ inquiries.
5. Can I Learn What Customers Think About Competitors?
No matter how comprehensive and well-planned your research might be, you can never learn as much as you’d like to without the help of real-life consumers. After all, they are the ones who cooperate with your competitors on a regular basis and you should ask them to describe your rivals.
Jake Gardner, a CMO at the assignment writing service, says the first option is to ask your own customers to tell you more about their experiences with other brands: “You can do it face-to-face, but don’t force people to spend a lot of time answering your inquiries.”
The second option is to conduct online surveys via email or on your website. You can use a tool such as Survey Monkey to create a short opinion poll and let your audience answer competitor-related questions online. It’s a simple and cost-free solution, so don’t hesitate to take advantage of digital surveys.
6. What Are Their Marketing Strategies?
It’s hard to imagine a profitable company without a super-successful marketing department, so you should definitely spend some time thinking about competitors’ marketing strategies. We suggest researching several aspects of their marketing activities:
- Search engine optimization: What are they doing to rank higher in engine searches?
- Advertising: How and where are they placing digital ads?
- Content formats: Which content formats are they using most frequently?
- Style: Are they trying to build a unique style of communication? Is it authoritative, friendly, entertaining, or educational?
- Branding: What is their branding strategy?
7. Who Are They Trying to Hire?
The last question on our list is going to show you the professional strength of your niche rivals. Tools and equipment don’t make a business, so you better find out who are the people behind a given organization.
If you notice that some of your competitors are really doing their best to attract the most talented professionals, perhaps you should follow the same logic and hire the most promising industry figures. They could help you to refresh the organization and add new ideas to the business strategy.
Launching a business without thorough preparations and planning is never a good thing. As an entrepreneur, you need to learn everything about the targeted market and put a special emphasis on the closest rivals in your niche.
There are all sorts of details to discover here, but we wrote this article to discuss seven questions you should ask to squeeze the most out of your competitor research.
Have you already completed your competitor analysis? Which feature do you consider to be the most important in this process? Feel free to share your opinions in comments—our readers would love to see fresh ideas and suggestions from their peers.
Scott Mathews is a content creator at UK-dissertation.com and a proud member of the community of professional essay writers. If you are looking for assignment help in Adelaide or academic writing service to assist you in crafting excellent papers, he is the man to contact.