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There’s a common saying that you should keep your friends close, but your enemies closer and this is never truer than in business. Knowing almost as much about your competitor’s business as your own is essential to survival in today’s marketplace, and knowing how to utilise this information will help keep you one step ahead of the game.

Fortunately there are several sneaky ways to find out what your competitors are up to with the intention of stealing all their best ideas, and ignoring the worst; performing an SEO competitive analysis can be very effective and will highlight ways in which you can steal some of their digital thunder.

Building a brand that engages and entertains its customers is essential, as is doing things against the grain. Just because your competitors have always done it a certain way, it doesn’t mean you have to – in fact, in order to gain a competitive advantage it’s probably better that you don’t!

Innovate and disrupt

True innovators will make decisions that the competition won’t. They discover new methods and ways of doing things and aren’t afraid to try them out. By finding new techniques they disrupt the market, open up new avenues and more options, thus giving themselves a greater chance of business success.

Create brand advocates

Brand advocates can be immeasurably important to a new business or start-up, and finding consumers who are ready to share their experience with others is a good value marketing ploy that wields a very high return on the investment. This is even more greatly enhanced if the brand advocate is someone well connected within your niche and likely to bring more like-minded people along with them.

Grow your networks

In business it’s very often not what you know, but who you know that can make a difference, and networking with the big players in your industry will keep you on people’s radars. Social media is a great place to meet and engage with influential folk who may or may not be in direct competition with you. They may even be willing to share some of their knowledge with you!

Tie brand with your business values

By keeping your business values at the very heart of what you do, your brand will immediately differentiate itself from the competition. Concentrate on the things you do well and regularly shout about the products or services that make your company unique. Create a unique voice and make sure this voice is present in every single piece of content you create – whether for internal or external use.

Have the best website

If competition is rife within your digital space make sure you offer the very best virtual shopping experience for your visitors. Minor issues like slower connection speeds, small and difficult to find calls to action and limited numbers of ways to pay will all affect your customers’ experience with you, and they won’t be afraid to show their displeasure by simply abandoning you and going elsewhere.

Make sure your website looks the best, is easy to navigate and offers the same quality shopping experience whichever device they choose to use.  

 

Originally posted by Dane Carlson on May 21, 2014 in You Don't Say.

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