Before starting your business, you should have intimate knowledge of your competitors. This requires that you conduct an in-depth analysis of their product and service offerings, strengths and weaknesses, and other aspects of their business. At the core of this analysis are some key competitive analysis questions that you need to answer.
#1 Who are my primary competitors?
Your primary competitors are businesses offering similar products or services as you and serving the same audience. Make a list of the top 5 to 10 competitors in your niche who are currently vying for your target audience’s attention.
#2 What products or services do they offer?
After you identify your primary competitors, the next step is to create a spreadsheet, and for each competitor list the products and services they offer. Also, include any standout features and note the customer benefit or value that these features provide.
#3 How does my product or service offering compare?
Once you have a list of the products and services provided by the competition, compare your offering to theirs. This will help you identify gaps in your offering where you need to improve and the areas where you’re better or different.
#4 Do they provide additional value?
Customers don’t make purchasing decisions solely on products and services. They also look at extra value adds. This might be 24/7 live customer support, a lifetime warranty, post-purchase consultations, or free educational content such as courses or blog content.
#5 What’s their unique value proposition?
Most businesses (the smart ones) have a unique value proposition (UVP). This is a type of positioning statement, usually displayed on a website homepage, that highlights the differentiating benefit (value) a business provides to customers over the competition. To stand out from your competitors, you will need UVP that set’s your business apart.
#6 What are their primary marketing channels?
Where are your competitors focusing their marketing efforts? Answering this question will help you devise your own marketing plan and strategy. It will also help you uncover marketing opportunities that your competitors are not leveraging. You can use tools like SEMRUSH to research competitors marketing channels and strategies.
#7 What are customers saying about them?
Today it’s easy to know what customers are saying about your competition by reading reviews. From reviews, you will see what customers love and hate about your competitors and their products and services. You can then use this information to improve or differentiate your product or service offering.
#8 How do they price their products or services?
Knowing your competitors’ price points will help you position your pricing strategy to ensure you’re competitive and profitable. When reviewing price points, take note of the services, features, and extras in their packages.
#9 What are their strengths and weaknesses?
Now that you have answers to all of your competitor analysis questions, you can map your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses across each of the above areas – pricing, product offering, marketing channels, etc. Once mapped, you will have the knowledge to answer the final and most important question.
#10 Where can I differentiate?
Look at each of your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses and ask what you can do better or differently in each area. The goal is to determine where in your business, product, or service, you can add extra audience value and benefit that will help you stand out from the competition.
Over to you
The better you know your competitor, the greater the chance you have of being able to get ahead of them and stake your claim in the market. Competitor analysis takes time. However, if you start by asking the above competitive analysis questions, you will be off to a good start.