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Get Ahead & Stay Ahead: How to Conduct a Competitor Analysis for Your Small Business

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Every small business feels the pressure of competition, no matter what industry or market sector they cater to — and now more than ever.

As a small business owner competing against other independent shops, as well as large enterprises for market share, it can be hard to paint competition in a positive light. It’s probably never brought you anything but stress and frustration, right? Wrong!

Competition is healthy for business because it fosters innovation, encourages better customer service, and wards off complacency.

In fact, you could probably learn a lot from your competitors! Identifying their competitive advantage, strengths, and weaknesses can help you improve your business and marketing strategies, ultimately giving you an edge.

This is called a competitor analysis, and it’s an important part of every digital marketing campaign.

6 Steps to Conducting a Competitor Analysis

  1. Get to Know Yourself: First things first — having a clear idea of your business is crucial to effectively evaluate your marketing strategy against that of your competitors. Start by defining your goals and objectives, describing your target market, identifying relevant keywords, listing out your best and worst-performing products/services, defining your competitive advantage, and outlining all the metrics you use to measure your success.

    Don’t be afraid to look at your business with a critical eye. You have a lot of roles and responsibilities as a small business owner, so it’s only natural that some facets of your business outshine others. Pinpoint areas of improvement now, then pay careful attention to the successful strategies your competitors are utilizing and how you can incorporate them into your routine.

  2. List Your Competitors: Who are your competitors? For most small businesses, it’s other independent shops or large corporations in the same geographic area. Create a list of every nearby competitor that offers the same products/services as you and caters to your target market. These are your direct competitors, the people with whom you are constantly battling for market share.

    Direct competitors are a big focus on your competitor analysis… but not your only one. You also have indirect competitors and tertiary competitors.

    Indirect competitors sell similar products/services to a similar target market, while tertiary competitors sell different products/services to a similar target market. These companies don’t pose as big a threat to your business, so why are they important? Since you all cater to more or less the same audience, you can learn a lot from their marketing successes!

  3. Identify Their SEO Strategy: Search engine optimization is the backbone of a powerful digital marketing campaign. Just because you’re a small business doesn’t mean your digital marketing efforts can’t have a big impact. With the right SEO knowledge and tools, you can leave your competition in the dust!

    Start analyzing each competitor’s SEO strategy by determining which unbranded keywords bring in the most website traffic. To achieve this, you can use AHREFS and SEMRush, two of the best professional-grade tools that even beginners can navigate with ease. How are those same keywords performing for you? Take note and determine if you can naturally fit them into your website content.

    If you’re ready to get more advanced, you can search for your competitor’s top referring domains for backlinks. Do any of them stand out? Are the backlinks high-quality? What is their trust ratio? Can you identify any missed opportunities?

  4. Identify Their Social Strategy: Social media channels speak volumes about a company’s ability to engage with their consumers. With a little sleuthing, you can determine if and how your competitors are using social media to interact with their target market and what they’re up to! 

  5. Use Successes and Flaws for Your Gain: Now that you have a good understanding of your competition, how can you improve your own marketing efforts? You probably came across a myriad of successful tactics that may inspire you to try something new and different. On the other hand, even your fiercest competitor most likely doesn’t have a perfect digital marketing strategy. Use their flaws for your own gain — this is business, after all!

  6. Work With a Successful Digital Marketing Company: Don’t shy away from expert help. It takes years of hard work and dedication to learn the ins and outs of digital marketing. Experts know how to navigate this fast-paced and ever-evolving field to help you grow and succeed as a small business owner.

    1SEO is proud to support and work with small business owners across the country! We understand how difficult it is to get a start-up off the ground and maintain your success in the years to come — we can help! With your passion and our industry expertise, there are no limits to the heights we can reach together. Contact us today to get started!

    Contact us today to learn more!

About the Author: 

Kejsi Prifti is a Senior Content Creator at 1SEO by day and a rom-com junkie by night. She can often be found singing off-key in her car, baking just-about-edible desserts, spending time with her cats, and generally marching to the beat of her own drum.

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