Why Knowing Your Competitors is Key to Creating a Successful Online Business
In previous website review episodes, we've talked a lot about improving various aspects of your online business, such as creating better landing pages, paying attention to design and visual communication, looking at how small details can make a big difference and much more.
Today, we're taking a different perspective. Your website doesn't exist in a bubble. Even if you don't know your competitors very well, you can bet that many of your visitors do!
So, in today's video, we're taking a look at how you can see your website in the context of the "competitive landscape" that it sits in and how you can use this perspective to create a better business.
You and Your Competitors
The site featured in today's review is FlexShop.
As you can see from the video, understanding how your website fits into the competitive landscape with its competitors is quite a complex thing. In other words, it's another one of those "marketing soft skills".
Here are a few steps you can follow, to gain a better understanding of your competitors:
Good 'ol Google
Search for all your most important keywords and take a close look at the sites ranking at the top. Especially if you see the same sites featured again and again, for different keywords, you can assume that they are well established and are an important competitor.
It's important to make your searches specific enough to find your real competitors.
Seek out discussion boards and social media to see which brands and competitors people tend to talk about. Taking today's review site as an example, I'd look for community answers to questions like:
"What's the best place to order supplements online?"
Find the USP
After some searching, you should have a good idea of who your competitors are. The next step is to visit their websites and look for the unique selling point of each one.
- What do they do differently from anyone else?
- What do they emphasize and brag about most?
Find the Gap(s)
Now comes the tricky part: ideally, you can find a gap in the marketplace. Something your competitors aren't serving, but for which there is demand.
As in the example in the video, this doesn't necessarily mean that you completely change your business or your offer. Often, it's simply a matter of how you frame your offer. In the case of an e-commerce store, the products may stay the same, but you emphasize different products or different aspects of them, to set yourself apart from competitors.
Over to You
Try applying this approach to your own business, to see where you fit into the competitive landscape. If you have difficulties with this, or any questions about how this approach applies to your specific business, please let us know by leaving a comment!