Your New Job: Double Agent – Why You Should Spy on Your Competition

Spying on Your Competitors


Competing with Competitors

Let’s face it.  Unless you are Christopher Columbus and have discovered a whole new world, chances are that your product or service is marketed by someone else.  The online software and product war continues to rage, each company and brand claiming victory and precedence over each other.  So, how does this all go down?

The power and unlimited potential of the Internet has now given the average small business the specific tools needed when looking to compete with the big boys.  Whether you are a small business owner, marketer, or just a single entrepreneur, there is one common bond and threshold you share.  Everyone at some point in time is a consumer; this is a tremendous advantage when competing online.  By looking at your buying habits and preferences, as well as your prospects, you can do a very thorough competitive analysis.

Knowing your Competition Means Evaluating Their Followers

No one wakes up wanting to spend their money needlessly and irresponsibly.  Online shoppers surf the Web for a reason: they are looking for a product or service to satisfy a specific need or desire.  So how does this help you as the small business owner?  Factor in the following questions:

  • What are your competitors offering that is so irresistible?
  • What online marketing tools are your competitors using to engage their audience?
  • What are they blogging about?
  • What are their clients and prospects asking them?
  • More important, do you see anything missing or lacking in their product or service – giving you a competitive edge or a micro niche market?

Answering these questions will shine some light on your marketing strategies and objectives.

Spying on your Competition is Smart Marketing

Competitive Analysis and James Bond

What has James Bond to do with this?  Think back to the James Bond movies.  Remember the one mesmerizing feature they all sported?  No, not the beautiful women! I’m talking about the cool, hi-tech tools Bond possessed to spy on and, if necessary, obliterate the bad guys.

The same holds true for the small business owner needing to compete in a highly technical and fast-paced digital marketplace.  There is no way any business can stand a chance without using the right tools with which to research their competition and discover their secrets of success.

Know the Rules About the Tools

Used effectively, you can analyze your competition’s marketing methods and tactics, giving you the advantage and marketing edge you need, using:

  1. Google Trends: You can submit as many five subjects to determine how frequently those topics are researched on Google.   Google Trends also shows how many times your keyword topics have appeared  in Google News.  You will also discover the particular geographical locations where your subjects are searched for the most.
  2. The Wayback Machine: The Wayback machine is a website that lets you put in a website URL, revealing how far back the website goes in time, and what changes were made in each month of their existence.
  3. Google Alerts: One of the most widely used tools available. Set up your most important keywords, niche markets and interests with their customized settings.  You will immediately receive the latest news, blogs, tweets, and videos delivered to your news feed or mailbox, in real time, on an “as it happens” basis.
  4. Post Rank: Where people discuss and evaluate content and communicate with each other.   Post Rank boasts it’s the “largest aggregator of social engagement data in the industry.”
  5. Backlink Watch: Backlink Watch is a free tool that gives you all the backlinks to any website URL.  This will enable you to see where your competitors are linking to. Alternatively, you can use #6.
  6. LinkDiagnosis: Gives you a backlink report exportable in CSV format. (Firefox Plugin)
  7. Seobook – Free Search Engine Optimization Tools:  Seobook offers some of the best search engine optimization tools out there, along with a free, step by step SEO beginner’s guide and training.
  8.  How well are you doing? Put in your own website link, or Microsoft Word content, and find out if your text content is too complex or wordy. They will also give you the academic grade level that your message is reaching.

Be in It to Win It!

Small Business needs to Get Noticed

There are no shortcuts, no easy answers, and certainly no magic formulas to success.  Success comes through hard work, proper research, education, and, most important, perseverance. Knowledge is power, as they say. You cannot enter the online game of competition without first knowing your competitors.  What makes them successful? What attracts their audience? These are the two critical questions you must answer.  You need to know their strengths as well as their weaknesses, if you are to find the specific niche where you can best build and dominate.