Stand Apart From The Rest, Start With This Competitive Analysis
Why You Should Care
Knowing where your business stands in comparison to its competition is an important first step in knowing why anyone should care about your business, let alone sign up to work with you.
When you know what the competition is, you can start to differentiate your business so you can stand apart, be more memorable, and more easily communicate with your ideal client.
What You Should Do
To help you get started with a competitive analysis, I have created a spreadsheet that you can fill in. As you do so, keep in mind that there are four main ways that you can memorably stand apart from your competition:
Introductory productized process
Main productized process
Finding Your Competition
You may know of people in your own professional network who are your direct competitors. Put all of these businesses on your spreadsheet. But don’t stop there. Make note of the competitors you don’t know by using the following strategies.
First, head over to Google. If you use Chrome, click on the three dots in the upper left hand corner, then click on “New Incognito Window”. This way you will be searching without your own cookies and customizations influencing your search.
Now put yourself in the shoes of your ideal clients. What problem do they have and desperately want to solve? With their knowledge, what combinations of words would they Google. Search all of these combinations of words and make note of the business that are at the top and middle of the search results. Then search for local listings. Then search for industries that you have expertise in.
Next, head over to Yelp. A combination of a social site and review site, Yelp is where you will find a lot of competition. If any of these businesses are different from what you Googled, list them one the spreadsheet.
Leveraging Business network international (BNI)
Finally, you can also visit the websites of your local BNI chapters. Each chapter will list their members and their respective industries. This is another source of your local competition.
Information To Look For
Write the name of the branded company. This may be a business entity or it may be a branded personality. You may be in a crowded market and find dozens of competitors. So you may wonder how many businesses to make note of. The idea is to analyze enough competitors so that you so that the data starts repeating. This is when you’ll know that further analysis will not be beneficial
Copy and paste their URL. This will help you find them later when you need to add information to the comparison. This will also help with a competitive analysis for SEO and content, if and when you are ready to do this.
Note what specific niche they work with. Every business will have a niche market. But some will be more niched-down than others. You will use this information to carve out your own specific niche.
Unique selling proposition (USP)
This is the message that aims to differentiate the product from the competition. For this look at the copy they use on their main pages. The USP should answer the question of why someone should care about working with this business, and what the business is known for.
What are the benefits that a client gets working with the business? These are often specific promised outcomes, and may sound like a BHAG goal that the business sets for themselves.
Pain point addressed
Embedded in copy, there is often language about what problem clients have that prompts them to work with the service provider.
These are the itemized or productized services offered. Here take note if the business talks using insider language (like SEO or Content Marketing) or if they talk to their potential client using emotional outcomes (Get out of the grind and get more clients calling you).
The layout of the website, the copy, the visual presentation, and the lead generation initiatives. Make note of what effect this has on you. Is it disruptive? Calming? Annoying? Boring? Eye-catching? Bold? This all matters and will allow you to present yourself in a way that sets your business apart.
This is an overall impression that you have after you’ve taken note on the eight aspects above. Make notes to yourself summarizing how you think this business gets clients and what you think the clients like about this business.
Could do better
This is also an overall impression that is where you take note of the opportunities that exist to differentiate your own business and be more memorable than your clients. Here think of what clients may be unhappy about and what you could do better.
What Comes Next
Now you need to analyze all of the data that you’ve gathered for areas where you can stand apart. Remember the 4 ways to differentiate your niche, personality, intro product and main product.
If you decide to work with me on a Website Workup, I’ll analyze the information in your competitive analysis and the knowledge I gain from you in a 2-hour interview about your business. Then I’ll overlay this with a rubric that I’ve designed over three years of researching best practices for lead generation for a small service business that sells intangible products.
Within a period of two weeks or less, I’ll deliver a complete strategy that will include a plan for you to set up a robust lead generating system. Then, if you want, I’ll implement my recommendation with one of my Supercharged Website packages.