CompetitorsHow your competitors are getting ahead.

Every business has its competitors. And while market analysis isn’t exactly a new practice, markets for any product or service are becoming increasingly competitive.  Today’s key players are constantly hunting for ways to fine-tune their intel.  If you’re already on top of knowing your competitors, great, but the thing is, instead of turning only to who you’re competing with, don’t forget to also focus on who you’re competing for.

As a small business owner, you are aware of the competitors in your local marketplace, but what about online? During the buyer’s journey (the marketing funnel), potential customers are looking to your website for education on your products or services. In fact, 97% of consumers use online media when researching their local market (1). Because of this situation, businesses no longer control the selling process — buyers do.

Your company’s website is a key factor to converting leads. In order to maximize its full potential, you’ll need to assess how your marketing efforts are stacking up against your competitors. Keep reading to learn the key steps to conducting a market analysis, putting you two moves ahead of your competitors.

Identifying multi-level competitors

When you’re a small business, you might consider the obvious multi-million company as your competitor. In this step, choose your top three competitors on a local level, a regional level, and a national scale. Also consider other alternatives your customers could buy instead, products from companies that are indirect competitors.  Acting as a starting point, this helps you narrow your audience, working your way outwards.

Drawing in your target audience

It’s one thing to speak loudly, it’s another for people to listen. Trends are showing that audiences are less likely to respond to salesy ads and traditional banners. Instead, opt for a genuine relationship with your customers, one that you nurture over time.  You can do this through high-value content, give away resources (such as how-to guides), and social media.  You have to give before you can get.

Assessing your website conversions

Your website is pretty, but is it bringing in numbers? Do you consistently look at your analytics data, do you see patterns? If your page loads too slowly, or your search terms are misleading, you may have a high bounce rate. If you’re providing great blogs, your click-through rate is fantastic, but are you asking them to take a specific action? The answers are all there in the stats. Next, you’ll want to take a look at the overall growth and measure it side-by-side with your revenue. Customers are actively looking for value, especially online. How well are you positioning them with the content you’re providing?

Considering industry trends

The world is changing every day, the same pertains to technology. With Google and Facebook accounting for 76% of internet advertising growth this past year, it’s wise to incorporate trending factors into your strategy. Mobile is exploding and visual engagement continues to excel. Opt for stunning visuals with value-rich content to gain the attention of customers.

Identifying areas of improvement

Are you blogging at least once a week? When was the last time you updated your website content? Always be looking for areas to improve. As you bring in customers, ask how they found you. If online, dig a little deeper and find out where. We highly recommend performing a quarterly marketing analysis to identify strengths and hurdles, project trends, and adapt your plan of action.

How do you use market analysis to steer your advertising efforts? Share your ideas with us.