Tracking and monitoring competitors’ operations can help businesses develop their own successful marketing efforts and strategies.  It’s important to look at their clients, new products/services being offered, and keep up with price fluctuations and demands within a specific market.

1. Review How Your Competitors are Reaching Consumers
“Review… the media your competition is using to reach consumers… where they are advertising and what offers are being leveraged… [for] insight on how to plan your own marketing efforts.”   — Mike Tinz, VP-Money Mailer

2. Review Competitors’ Websites
Look on competitors’ websites to see what products/services they offer, which might be different  from those your own business offers.

3. Compare Your SEO Efforts
To move your company higher in search rankings and generate more business, make sure your website keywords are current. Search Google using the keywords your customers are likely to use and note where you and your competitors are ranking.

4. Check Out Customer Review Sites and Speak to Your Own Customers
Check what others are saying by looking at review sites in your industry.  Ask your customers what they like and don’t like to learn how to improve your own business.

5. Understand Pricing and Special Offers
“Understanding the pricing and special offers that your competition is advertising will… create a compelling proposition to drive traffic [to] your business [and] help you better understand if you are under-priced or… overpriced.” — Mike Tinz, VP-Money Mailer

6. Use Google Alerts¹ to Your Advantage
Setting up Google Alerts to arrive in your inbox for a specific company/industry will ensure you remain up-to-date on any news stories related to your business.

7. Learn How Internet and Social Media are Being Used to Communicate
Use the Internet to learn how competitors are communicating with consumers.
Follow your competitors on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc., to examine their strategies.

8. Buy From a Competitor
An old-fashioned way to track competition is to buy from them directly. Visit their store or website to learn about their products/services. Utilize this information to advance your business.

It’s important to stay abreast of changes in today’s competitive business landscape.Monitoring your competitors is an integral step to ensure your company progresses.

¹Google Alerts is a content change detection and notification service, offered by Google. The service sends emails to the user when it finds new results—such as web pages, articles, blogs, or scientific research—that match the user’s search terms.

Source:  Small Business Trends, Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead; Mike Tinz, VP-Money Mailer