Finding ways to drive your business ahead of the competition becomes all the more crucial for its survival in challenging economic times. When times are tough, your business’s continuing success depends on you finding ways to stand out from your competitors and gain a more significant share of the market. However, knowing that this is what you need to do and working out the best way to do it are two entirely different things. When you run a business, you are so involved in the day to day organization and have such a clear understanding of how your business works that it can be challenging to take an objective approach. Objectively viewing your business is essential to understand what your competitors are doing, but it is not always easy to do this from an unbiased perspective. Combining a firm understanding of competing brands and their digital marketing methods with a strong business strategy is vital to help propel your company to future success. Finding the best ways to measure your own business’ success against that of your competitors is something that will be explored in this blog post, along with practical tools to help you use this information in conjunction with a strategy. 

Identify Your Competitors

Before you attempt to leverage competitive advantage, you firstly need to understand exactly who your competitors are. Competitors come and go, so there may be some new kids on the block that have slipped under your radar. Another threat to be aware of during challenging times is unexpected competitors. When economic times are tough, many businesses look for ways to diversify their offering, including cherry-picking aspects of other industries. Therefore, it is essential to be aware of other established businesses becoming new competitors as they look for ways to expand their offerings. Familiarizing yourself with these companies and their competing brands will play a central role in helping you to keep a step ahead.

Understand Your Current Market Position

Once your competitors have been identified, you will need to begin identifying your current market position and how it relates to the competing brands. Understanding where your brand currently sits is essential for helping you plan your next steps and identifying exactly how much work you need to do. If you are going to have a lot of ground to makeup, it is better to know this in advance so that you can begin preparations for the challenges that lay ahead. In contrast, if your research shows that you are currently enjoying the top spot, you will need to look for ways to expand your position as a market leader to maintain your lead.

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Know Your Differences

While identifying your competitors is crucial, so is identifying how your offer differs from theirs. Are there similarities between your offerings? Does your brand style itself slightly differently to appeal to a very specific demographic, or are you all trying to reach the same audience?

Understanding the differences between your brand and your competitors is also vital to help you gain that all-important perspective to help you recognize how your brand compares with competing offerings. This is the perfect opportunity to re-visit your USP and to see if it still remains the best way for you to differentiate your products from your competitors. Through your research, you may find that there are other unique factors that your business offers that your competitors can’t, so exploring these as potential marketing opportunities is a great idea to help you gain a competitive advantage.

Take a Strategic Approach

During this challenging financial climate, business decisions cannot be left to chance as this is too much of a risk. Planning a strategic approach is crucial to help you drive your business ahead of your competitors, and this needs to be based on concrete evidence from your competitors. Gathering your research and thoroughly analyzing the results will help you form your strategy and compare your business’ strengths against the areas where your competitors achieve greater success. This information can then be used as the basis of your strategy.

Equip Yourself with the Right Tools for the Job

To arm yourself with the most up to date information and detailed data, you need to use the right tools for the job. For obvious reasons, competitors do not give away details of their marketing strategy or the results that they have achieved. Therefore, you need to equip yourself with the tools that will do this for you and enable you to further your understanding of their approach. In this situation, you need a tool that provides you with insight into your competitor’s marketing strategies and results, such as SEMrush. Before committing to a tool, you need to be sure that it offers the functionality that you need and provides you with the level of detail that you require. This is where the semrush trial comes in useful, as you will be able to test it and see if it is a good fit for your organization before committing to signing up to it for the long term. 

Make a Focussed Effort

Once you have completed your thorough research into your competitors and their marketing strategies, you will need to utilize this information to improve the performance of your website and online marketing activities. Making a focused effort to improve your online presence is the key to increasing your market share. Standing out from your competitors requires a targeted approach to improving brand awareness and recognition. Working on your keywords and optimizing your website with SEO-friendly content will help you to achieve this. Don’t forget to capitalize on the keywords that your competitors are missing and to work on including any keywords that your competitors use that you don’t at present to make sure you are not missing any opportunities.

Monitor Your Progress

Once your strategy is in place, don’t forget to keep monitoring your progress regularly to ensure that you gain your competitive advantage and continue to enjoy a healthy market share and successful future.

By Erica Buteau

Change Agent. Daydream Believer. Maker. Creative. Likes love, peace and Jeeping. Dislikes winter, paper cuts and war. She/Her/Hers.

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