It’s easy to obsess over your competitors, driving yourself crazy trying to figure out how they’re doing so well while you struggle to book appointments, get leads, or bring people in to your store.
In an episode of The Office, manager Michael Scott sets out to discover the secrets to a main competitor’s success through an elaborate ruse he concocts with his loyal assistant, Dwight.
We definitely wouldn’t recommend taking the Michael Scott approach, but we do think he was onto something: after all, the first step to figuring out how to gain an advantage is to know what your competitors are doing in the first place.
In fact, we complete a competitive landscape analysis for all of our new clients. After assessing hundreds of competitors for dozens of clients, we’ve identified some of the most common ways competitors steal the spotlight:
They have better SEO
Search engine optimization is a contemporary take on that classic thought experiment: If your company builds a website and it doesn’t show up in a Google search, does it actually exist at all?
To be honest? Not really.
Whether you run an alterations shop, a therapy practice, a nonprofit, or your own law firm, your prospects won’t know anything about you if you don’t make yourself easy to find online. And the #1 way to do that is to optimize how you show up in search.
The world of SEO is wild, ranging from highly technical tactics that involve information architecture and code to more up-front tactics like researching what keywords people are using when they search for a product or service you offer, like content strategy consulting.
(See what we did there?)
Beyond weaving those keywords into your content on all platforms, you can also improve your SEO ranking by integrating all of your platforms (like social media and your blog) with your website and by creating useful, relevant content other people will link to on their sites.
Both of these tactics make it easier for the robots crawling the web to make connections between your website and better-established sites, making you legit-by-association.
They’re more consistent
Keeping fresh, dynamic content at the forefront of your digital presence is essential to engaging with prospects and customers. How can you avoid getting overwhelmed by the need to think of new content all the time when your day is filled with clients and customers? By planning ahead.
Think you don’t have anything to say? Think again.
When we work with clients, we use a project management framework where we start with core concepts that tie directly to their business and marketing objectives, building out messages we can layer and spread across time like a canvas. That canvas is then held up by tentpole moments—those once-in-a-while stories you’d want to tell, like an event you spoke at, a sale you’re having, or when you’ve reached a major milestone in growing your practice.
After you’ve got an idea of what you want your message to be, you can stay consistent by scheduling your content with tools like Buffer, Hootsuite, Mailchimp, or ConvertKit. By setting your content in motion in advance, you free yourself from having to remember to post in between appointments or on your way to your next client.
Typically, our clients find themselves overwhelmed by content because they’re working from a reactive communications process. When we evaluate the effectiveness of your communications, we measure where your team falls on the content strategy journey, with a goal of helping you move from a reactive state to one that’s truly strategic.
With strategic communications processes, you’re more effective and more efficient, helping you remain consistent and competitive within your market.
They engage their audiences
Thanks to the algorithms that sites like Facebook and Twitter use to determine who sees which posts, connecting with followers is more important than ever before. Likes, shares, and comments are all powerful tools for spreading your message and building relationships with members of your communities.
When your communications are more like advertisements than conversations, you miss out on the opportunity to build those valuable connections.
However, when you actually work with your audience—whether through replying to messages, practicing social listening, or managing a full branded community or advocacy program—they’ll recognize and appreciate the effort you put into keeping the conversation going.
For your most loyal customers, something as simple as an Instagram comment can make their day… and you just know they’ll be sharing a screenshot with their followers in their Stories.
We understand the challenge of managing all of these tasks yourself. That’s why we’ve launched a new six-week program to measure what your strengths are when compared to your competitors’, to assess your product/market fit, to evaluate the health of your online presence, and to build out systems for keeping your website and your social media platforms fresh without getting overwhelmed by the volume of content.
We only onboard a few new clients each month, so schedule a complimentary discovery session now for real-time feedback about what you can do to stop your competitors from stealing the spotlight.