How To Research Your CompetitionIf you want to stay on top of your competition, you need to know their products and services, and the only way you can get to know those things is by keeping tabs on them on an ongoing basis. If you monitor them continually, you’ll be able to assess what they will probably do next, and then you can plan your own activities so you can act accordingly and keep on top of your own business strategies. That can help you grow your own business in a positive way. Here are some ways to help you begin researching your competition to help keep you on top.

Start with a Google search, but don’t stop there. Use other online tools, such as Google Trends, Google Alerts, and SpyFu, along with visiting your competitor’s website. All these tools relate to Google’s search results, and they can give you interesting information into your competition and their wares. It also can show you what type of people are shopping on their site, and what they’re saying about your competition.

Look deeper into your competition. Check in with industry analyst firms such as Gartner to see if they’re talking about other companies in your industry. Look at trade associations and other membership groups, too. These groups are always evaluating your industry and the people in it, and looking at where your industry is going. This can help you keep on top of your industry and show you the latest trends, and that can help you keep on top of your game, and on top of your competition, as well.

If you’re not into the social network, you should be. Monitor your competition on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, and set up your own accounts. You should also monitor review sites, like Yelp and Citysearch, to see what locals are saying about you and your competition. You can offer deals and specials through these sites, or match competitors’ offers to keep on top of the social network.

Talk to your customers, and ask them about your competitors. This is one of the quickest and cheapest ways of getting information on your competitors. If you find a new customer, find out who they used before, and why they switched to you. Do the same thing if you lose a customer, and you’ll find out what you’re doing wrong, and what you’re doing right, so you can adjust your operations to retain as many customers as possible.

Go to conferences and trade shows, and visit your competitors’ booths. See how they interact with customers, look at the quality of their products, and view their brochures. Most importantly, see if they take the time to check you out, to see how they view their own competitors. Using these tips can help you build your business and make sure that your business is stronger than your competitors are.