One of the strategy for winning in business based on “Sunzi Art of War” is the use of spies. In ancient times, spies are used to collect information from enemy camps such as the behavior of the generals, the amount of food and supply, the strengths and weaknesses of the soldiers and the level of loyalty of the citizens to the enemy king. Spies in those days, will usually risk their lives for obtaining such information for their lords. While obtaining such confidential information from the spies, commanders can create defensive or attacking strategies easily and having a better chance in winning the war by attacking the enemy’s weakest link. Hence, understanding your competition is equally important in today world of businesses.
Then how do we obtain information of our competition? Do we need to endanger ourselves by being a spy? Don’t worry, you don’t have to. All you need is a computer and internet connection. Here are the ways to analyse your competition online:
1) Google Keyword Tool:
The most basic and essential thing is to understand the level of competition based on the level of keywords people used when they are looking for your particular service online. From the data, you can see your potential customers trend and how intense your competition are in terms of getting to that group of customers. If competition is very saturated, try to target less competitive markets by targeting long tail keywords.
2. Study Your Competitors’ Websites
You need to understand that your competitors including you have its own strengths and weaknesses. You need to study your competitors’ websites to look for their weaknesses such as the usability of their websites, the tonality of their websites, the graphics used in the websites and the contents used. One common example you will see in most of your competitors’ websites is signs of Ego marketing and uses of marketing gimmicks. By noticing this, you will know simply how to ‘defeat’ these competitors by tweaking your website contents.
3. Google Alert
This is one of the best services so far. Key in your competitors’ names and their brands with Google Alert. This is an useful and free tool in which you will get first hand information whenever there is any mentioning about your competitors on the internet. Says if there is a number of customers who are not satisfy with your competitors’ products, services or a particular employee, find out what is wrong with their products, services or employee and then create a slightly better product, provides a slightly better service, train your employees to not to commit the mistake your competitors’ employees made recently. As an ethical professional, please do not slander your competitors online, it will never look good on you. Win the war like a gentleman.
Competition analysis, across time and space, is an essential need requirement for any businesses. With the advent of internet technology, information about the strengths and weaknesses of your competition can be obtained in seconds. By knowing your competition, you will definitely know how to win them eventually. Please always note that your competitors will change to make themselves better than you too; you may not know when they will do that. Hence, you will need to constantly analyse your competition every now and then. This is the way of a performing marketer.