They’re in your area, they’re trying to steal your customers – we’re talking about your local competition. Just like with a criminal on the run, you want to make sure you’ve got a spotlight on your competitors at all times. If you let them escape your sights, they can end up robbing you blind of all your hard earned customers.
As a business owner it is paramount you are always on top of your surroundings. You should always be tracking and taking note of your local competitors’ strategies. It helps keeps your business one step ahead of the curve.
In this article, we will take a look at 5 easy ways for you to monitor and stay on top of all your local competition.
1. Bookmark Their Company Website
This is an extremely simple yet effective way to monitor your local competition. According to the US Census Bureau about 3.5 million American businesses have their own company website. With that many businesses on the web, there’s a high chance your local competitors have websites. Search for your competition on the internet, and if you find their page make sure you bookmark it and view it frequently.
A company’s web page is flowered with a ton of useful information. You can get a quick feel of how your competition markets themselves, what their pricing strategy is, and any special promotions they might be currently running just by skimming through their website.
2. Follow Them on Social Media
Besides just familiarizing yourself with your local competition’s website it’s also a good idea to follow them on social media. Companies are now, more than ever, using social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn as marketing outlets.
Perhaps the most important reason why you should be following your competitors’ social media pages is because social media is interactive. Unlike a website, customers leave posts and comments. This is a great way for you to monitor not only how your local competition is marketing themselves, but also how people are responding to it.
3. Sign up with Their Newsletter
Even for companies who aren’t on the internet or social media savvy, it’s a safe bet that they produce newsletters, and you want to make sure you’re on their mailing list. Your local competition’s newsletter contains information on all their latest, greatest news and updates. This can be anything from new products they’re rolling out, to new services they’re looking to introduce, to even events they may be holding or attending. Signing up for your local competitor’s newsletter allows you to keep track of what they’re planning, and where they’re heading.
4. Monitor Company Review Sites
Review sites such as Yelp or Citysearch pose as another great avenue for you to monitor your local competition. These sites act as a platform for customers to voice how their experience was at a given business.
This presents the perfect opportunity for you to get a sense what your competition is actually offering. On top of that, monitoring your local competition on listing site grants you valuable insight into exactly what your competition is doing that works and what they’re doing that doesn’t based off clientele reviews.
5. Become a Secret Shopper
It’s important for you to fully understand the experience your local competition offers to customers. Monitoring your competition on review sites help to give you some second-hand insight, but nothing quite compares to the first-hand observations becoming a secret shopper grants you.
Go to their brick and mortar. Try out their services. Participate in the experience that they are offering customers first-hand. You’re not just a business owner, you’re also a consumer. So, channel your inner consumer and really contemplate what your competition does during your visit – what seem to be their strengths and what are they lacking? Then put back on your business owner thinking cap, and consider how you can revamp your own business strategies to effectively offset your local competition’s strengths and capitalize on all that they’re lacking.
Keeping tracking of the competition can be tough. How do you stay on top of the competition? Leave us a comment below!
About the Author
John Rigo is a content marketer with Booker. His areas of expertise are writing and market research. John brings a unique perspective to the blogosphere with his extensive background in publishing. He also has a love for small and local businesses – how they work, how they grow, and why they succeed.More Content by John Rigo