After a lot of deliberation, you’ve discovered what makes your company truly special—your unique selling proposition (USP). You’re ready to start putting together a marketing strategy, right? Wait! First you need to learn about your competition and their USPs. If you skip this pre-marketing stage, you may realize too late that you’re focusing in the wrong area. Here are the steps you need to follow to make sure your small business marketing is effective and helps you stand out from the rest.
Understand Your Competitive Market
If you’re doing most of your research online, make sure you’re using your time wisely by sticking to the appropriate geographic parameters. While some industries or services require a nation-wide search for competition, many depend solely on local clientele. In that case, you need to focus on the competitors who are nearby.
For example, if you are a dentist in an urban area, you may have plenty of competitors in a search radius of five miles or less. In more rural areas, your area of interest may be up to 20 miles. It’s important to know how dense your competition is around you to help you distinguish your business to your target customer base.
Start by Googling Your Competitors
Where do you go when you want to learn more about any subject these days? Google, of course! But researching your competitors involves more than just perusing their website. Check out their Google My Business pages as well. You can also read their reviews on Google or Yelp for some insight.
What exactly are you looking for? You want to find what they do well and what they lack; in other words, you want to find the niche they fill so you can be certain that your USP doesn’t overlap with another company’s. Basically, you’re finding where gaps are in your local market, giving you a competitive advantage in your marketing efforts.
Follow Your Competitors
Unfortunately, there’s only so much you can find on a company’s website and on Google. If your competitors have the option to sign up for special offers, promotions, or newsletters with an email address, do it! This step allows you to get a more in-depth view of what they do to attract customers their way.
Be a Blind Shopper
In some instances, you may even want to take the next step and actually become a “customer.” Experiencing what customers go through with your competitors may provide valuable insight for how you may want your customers to experience with your company. Becoming a blind shopper is not always possible or reasonable, but you can still take some steps in the customer’s shoes. At minimum, you can call and ask questions or listen to their sales pitch, when they’ll be most anxious to show you how they are different.
If you do these things, you can get a clearer idea of ways you can reach out to your target customers, improve your systems and processes to be better, and make your company stand out from your competitors.
About Strategic Marketing Solutions
Strategic Marketing Solutions provides every marketing service small businesses need to succeed. From putting together custom mailing lists and custom websites to designing logos and call tracking, we specialize in serving small businesses and targeting the right customer. Unlike some other marketing companies, we back up our results with hard data, so you know exactly how our efforts are paying off. If you would like to learn more about Strategic Marketing Solutions, just click here.