What About the Competition?

Posted on Apr 17, 2015

Analysing your competitors can provide valuable information about what’s happening in the market and which marketing activities are working.

However, if you want to compete effectively with them you should focus on your clients instead. If you address the needs of your existing and potential clients then you won’t need to worry about what your competitors are doing.

Here are some tips for doing this:

Know your target market – Your clients are the people paying for your service or product so knowing their needs is key to being successful. Seek feedback directly from them, take note of what services and/or products they are buying and as much as possible anticipate their future needs by getting to know them better.

Remember: If you look after your clients they won’t go looking elsewhere.

Be your authentic self – Copying someone else’s approach never comes across as genuine and your clients will automatically sense this if you do. Learn from your competitors but always tailor it to yourself. For example, if your competitors are doing an email campaign that you’d like to do, avoid using the same format or language – use your own style and language instead so it sounds like you.

Remember: Your approach is unique and your competitors cannot effectively replicate it. It’s what your existing clients were drawn to in the first place and it will keep them coming back for more.

Share something about yourself – Sharing information about yourself helps create a trust relationship with your clients. As a result they will be more likely to share their valuable feedback with you (so that you can anticipate their needs). This doesn’t mean you should share everything about your life, but do consider sharing things like charity involvement, sporting achievements, some useful information you have come across, a personal milestone, your interests, etc

Remember: People like dealing with people they know and sharing something about yourself is key to achieving this. It is also an important part of successfully using social media platforms for your business.

Try your own ideas – Sometimes we don’t have a lot of faith in our own ideas, especially if they are untried. However, once you’ve assessed the feasibility of an idea, never be afraid to try something original – you can always change it if it doesn’t work.

Remember: Your ideas are original which means your competitors won’t have thought of them. And this also means you will be ahead of them when it comes to implementation – a double bonus if it turns out to be a very successful idea.

Stick to the successful strategies – There can be a tendency to switch strategies once a competitor copies you (and it makes good sense to have a point of difference with clients). However, if a strategy is working, make sure you stick to it. If you change it because your competitors have copied you, you are essentially giving away your good idea and the associated business you can generate from it.

Remember: The same strategy can have different results with different people. Just because it’s successful for you doesn’t mean it will be for your competitors (after all it could be your unique approach that’s making it work).

Be wary of competing only on price – Price is something that clients can be very sensitive to and it can be hard not to enter a pricing war with your competitors – especially when your clients are going elsewhere for this reason. However, be aware that this can ultimately be a losing strategy, as it narrows your profit margin and doesn’t necessarily create long term loyalty in your clients. Ideally your clients should keep coming back to you because they can’t get what you offer anywhere else, not because you’re the cheapest one at the moment.

Remember: People will buy where they perceive value, so focus your attention on creating that value and you will build a more sustainable business.

Reviewing your competitors can be a useful way to gain knowledge about your market, but never make them your focus. Your one focus should always be your clients and delivering what’s important to them. Do this and you won’t need to worry about your competitors.