Um, because they are your competition? Whew. Short post today.
Seriously, though. Unlike many things in life, business really is a zero-sum game. There are only so many customers to go around, and the ones that aren’t giving you business are giving it to your competition. If you’ve got 100% of the business you want and/or can handle already, then you probably don’t care. But for the rest of us, it’s vital to know what our competition is up to.
Rankings aren’t everything; in fact, they aren’t nearly as important as conversions/sales/revenue. But they are a good indicator of these more important factors. If you’re not on the first page of the SERPs (Search Engine Results Page), customers may not find you at all.
If your competition is ranking higher than you, figure out why. What keywords are they targeting? Can you use other keywords that they aren’t using? Do they have a recently redesigned website that is increasing their conversion rate? Does their site load faster than yours? Do they have easier, more intuitive navigation, or better, more informative/persuasive copy? Do they have a pleasing color palette, while your site is full of bright, garish colors and hard-to-read fonts?
All of these factors can influence how well a website works, both for the search engines, and for turning visitors into customers. See what your competition is doing right with their site, and how you can improve yours.
2. Social Media
Is your competition effectively using social media marketing on sites like Facebook and Twitter? If so, look at what they are doing with them, the kinds of things they post or tweet about. Is it working for them? You may not know, but if they are getting a lot of engagement and interaction, then they are probably using social media effectively.
If you’re not getting as much out of social media as you would like, see what’s working for your competition. It’s a great way to get some new ideas about the kinds of things you can be posting.
Is your competition offering specials, either directly from their website or via social media? The bottom line is, well, the bottom line: people like to save money. If your competition is giving 30% off, and you’re not, you will probably lose a lot of prospective customers to them, all other things being equal. Unless customers have some other compelling reasons to choose you, you might want to think about offering similar competing specials.
4. Online Reputation
It’s unscrupulous, but it certainly does happen. One business may be out there badmouthing their competition (you), damaging your online reputation. If you’re being talked about in this way, you definitely need to know about it, because you can take steps to combat it. If you’re not aware of it, you might be getting customers siphoned away and have no idea why.
We recommend keeping a handy list of your competitions’ websites and social media pages, and doing regular Google searches both for them and for your own company. The simple fact is that it’s called “competition” for a reason—and if you’re in it with your eyes closed, you’re at a big disadvantage.