This 13-minutes you will spend reading this, will probably be the best investment you have made today! Why, because you will learn how to beat your competition, be better than them, and scale your business! 🙂
A few weeks before I will start writing this article, I wanted to make a better relationship with Gerard Compte from FindThatLead. In the first message I wrote to him, in the P.S. section I said:
“Good Luck in slaying your mortal enemies Gerard! ;)”
When he responded to me, from his first sentence I learned a valuable lesson:
“There are no enemies, just a good people called competitors who are helping us to understand our market and customers better. Competition is the best thing you will have in business.”
This is mind-blowing!
When I thought a little bit about it, I didn’t have another option except to agree with that.
In this article you will learn:
- Why the best product on the market doesn’t always win
- What you need to have to be respected among the customers
- How to beat your competition and create competitive strategies
- How to learn from your competitors good and bad decisions and moves
- How to copy your competitors and deliver their plans better on the market.
How customers make a decision about which brand they will follow and worship in a fight?
We all have our favourites. For the example, I picked Google except for the Yahoo, Google docs except the Microsoft office, FindThatLead for prospecting against UpLead or Hunter.io or even Mailshake and Autoklose except Mailchimp. Subconsciously, not just because they have better products. There are far more reasons why we have our favourite brands, which almost none of us notice.
Honestly, how often did you saw an entirely new product on the market? It’s very rare. Probably, the last unicorn entering a “blue ocean” we saw is Airbnb. Whether you are starting a new business or a new product in your company, you will unquestionably have some competitors. It’s always a bloody battle.
Let me tell you a little story about one of the biggest companies today – how they have started and how they won the battle against the company who had much more customers and almost the same product.
Facebook vs MySpace
We all watched that film where Mark Zuckerberg wrote that amazing piece of formula on the window. But, really, why Facebook won the battle against MySpace, even if they had a similar software?
MySpace probably had a better software at that time, since its a much older than Facebook, but Facebook had a better story and mission.
MySpace introduced to people the World of Social Media, but Facebook truly connected them among themselves.
Facebook had a better amplification and product distribution covered with their main mission: to connect people from various parts of the world.
The best product doesn’t always win. The best amplification, distribution and the stories around our brand we’re publishing, win in the most cases.
Great content with amazing distribution is what differs a reliable brand and product from bad one
For sure you heard on every corner a people who are speaking and convincing you that you must write content every day, you must provide value and other bullshit.
Yea, you must, but it’s not just enough to write it down or to record it.
You probably realized that best content marketers write less content than other people. Why? Because they have a good preparation and a distribution of the content itself.
One article with great distribution is worth more than 7 articles with a poor distribution.
This is a golden rule.
For a shorter time, you will get bigger traffic and better results.
Here’s a little infographic we have created about a content distribution:
One piece of Content can be used in different ways. Writing content doesn’t only mean publishing it on your blog. It also means issuing it on your Social Media and distributing on other platforms like Quora, Reddit, Medium, etc.
Also, one content can be re-fragment into different types of smaller stories, how-to’s, surveys, playbooks, exclusive offers, etc.
You can play with it however you want.
Your customers want you to take care of them
Be real for a second. How much do you love when your favourite companies take care of you? When they reach out and ask you:
“Hi Ben, how are you going these days? Did you knew that when you track your competitors your chances for beating them are 86% more likely?”
“Hi Ben, here is our ultimate Competitor Analysis Spreadsheet to help you find your competitors better?”
Or only, when they have exceptional customer support who are solving your problems in a matter of minutes, instead of waiting for two or three days.
Your customers appreciate when you take care of them. It gives them a feeling that they are especially important to you. Slowly, you will become their friend.
Let me tell you a story about one of the fastest growing online communities on the Internet.
When Josh started building Badass Marketing and Founders he had zero members. Several months later the community reached 20.000 members, who love BAMF and engage with their content every single day.
So, what’s the secret sauce?
Josh and his BAMF team cared about us. They were creating an interesting content, solving our problems, detailed guides with videos about how to get things done and they gave us their full support.
It’s remarkably simple!
So, here’s the tip:
Be the loyal and reliable friend to your potential customers. Show them with tangible evidences that you are better than your competitors.
You can do this in a few steps:
- Identify your target audience biggest problems and find the solution.
- Solution convert to one immeasurable piece of content
- Reach out to your potential customers via Social Media (Not Emails. We create real and closer relationships via Social Media channels like Facebook or LinkedIn).
- Offer them a help
- Offer them a help again
- Offer them a help again
- Convert them to your trial customers.
- Take care of them even more
- Convert them to your paying customers.
How can you actually spy on your competitors?
A lot of people find this very problematic topic.
“Is it legal?”, they’re asking me. Of course, it is! There’s nothing bad. They are your competition, and it’s your duty to learn bad and good things from them.
But, how can you actually do this? It’s not too much complex, but, first things first.
Before you even start monitoring and spying on your competitors, first you need to know who are they, right?
Probably, when you already are reading this article, you know who they are. But there are huge chances that you missed someone very important.
When I and my friends started my first business, I developed a platform which will help people to find the best bars and restaurants in one place. I never imagined that my biggest competitors are actually Facebook and Google.
We spent several hours finding similar websites. In the end, I found 10. When we have celebrated our semi-anniversary, we realized that we have at least 20 competitors more.
Lesson: If we found out this number of good and established competitors, we probably wouldn’t start our business at all. Always do your homework and research at the beginning. Later can be late.
A few months after – we have failed.
So, no matter did you or did you not done your competitor research, before you continue with this article, read this first:
Of course, nothing isn’t really good without good old spreadsheets, right? 🙂
There are plenty of ways to spy on your competitors, but, what’s the best?
Indeed, you can do that in numerous ways. Here are some of them:
- Obligate your employee to follow and watch your competitors’ Social Media every day.
- Sign-up to your competitors’ newsletters
- Check your competitors’ content and Page Sources of their website to see on which keywords are they paying attention and what content are they producing.
- Request a Demo account from Competitors App already filled with your competitors, and save 97 minutes of you and your team every day.
Yes, guys, it’s our software. But even if it isn’t, we will suggest you try Competitors App. It really rocks!
Knowing who are your competitors is good, but knowing what are they doing and what are their strategies is even better.
With Competitors App, you can:
- Monitor your competitors website changes
- Track their keywords and SEO campaigns
- Monitor their Social Media and PPC Campaigns
- Track Newsletters
Monitoring your competitors with Competitors App is very easy. Here is the step-by-step guide to how you can do it.
- Create your free 30-day trial Competitors App account here.
- Add your competitor.
After you created your free account, on the left side of your dashboard, you will see a button called “Edit domain and competitors” (illustration below).
After you clicked there, on the up-right corner of your dashboard you will see a button called “Add Competitor”. Go there, and fill in your competitor domain.
After you finished entering competitor domain, click “Next” and Competitors App will find all relevant URLs for your competitor you can monitor.
Scroll at the bottom of your dashboard and you will see the following alert:
Click “Finish” first, and later subscribe to your competitor newsletters with the emails they said in the alert.
In this way, you will start tracking their newsletter campaigns (Don’t forget to adjust this. It can be really helpful).
From the moment you add your competitors, the software will automatically start tracking them non-stop, and you can see your notifications on your timeline.
Voilaa! After you finished everything, you can see your competitors’ online activity in your dashboard, it’s time to do some monitoring!
Here you can find a more detailed guide for monitoring your competitor keywords.
Now when you know what are your competitors doing, it’s time to jump on the next step
Grab your competitors’ customers attention
Here’s one quick advice:
Spying on your competitors and stealing their customers isn’t illegal. Isn’t forbidden. It’s desirable.
You already know how to spy on them, monitor and track their online activity. But, how can we actually recapture their customers?
Understand your customers better
Yea you heard this for a hundred times. But don’t skip on this. I’m giving you advice on how to do this.
At the end of the day, it’s all about the customers. They are your bosses. They’re saying you what to do. You just need to find better ways from your competition on how to do it.
First thing – find your customers biggest pains and solution on their problems.
Research a market and do a customer development. On the piece of paper, write 7 to 12 questions:
- What are your biggest pains about the [problem]?
- How often do you face this problem and how much the solution is important for you?
- What’s your solution for a [problem]?
- Are you already using some software which helps you to [problem solution]?
- Are you using [your competitors’ products] and what’s your opinion of them? Pros and Cons?
- What do you think about the product which will [your solution]?
- How much would you pay for it?
Mindstorm for one hour and write down all the good questions you can ask them. Select 7 to 12 best questions which will give you consistent answers.
Now it’s time for customer interviewing! 🙂
You can do it in several ways, but I will select just two of them which are best (for my opinion):
- Interview in person 5 to 15 of your competitors’ customers. If you live in a big city, try to find their meetups or some other things where they are gathering (Do your research!).
- Create an online survey and interview 20 to 30 of your competitors’ customers.
For the surveys, here are some quick tips:
- For creating the surveys offer your potential customers some rewards for completing them. It can be some content, branded spreadsheets, giveaways, your product extended trial or discount, etc. Feedier is good software for this. Check it out!
- Make your surveys engaging and entertaining.
For the distribution of your survey – I suggest the following things:
- Scrape your competitors’ online community members data, and reach out to them (Send 50 to 100 messages, because you will for sure have some bounce rate).
- Find your competitors’ product on Product Hunt, AppSummo or some other platform, and message to the commentators. They are very likely (or they were) customers of your competitors (You can even find there some pros and cons their customers already mentioned).
Show to your Competitors’ Customers the “Light Side of the Force!”
Here’s the hard truth, no matter how boring it is:
We need to create a real relationship with our potential customers.
If you want to be really better than your competitors, then ignore almost the everything you learned before. Emails are not too good for that. They are too much cold. You need to create a warmer engagement with them.
Use your LinkedIn and Facebook instead.
Again, scrape your competitors’ online community members – Their names, Facebook or LinkedIn URLs and emails (they will be useful later).
Auto connect or send friend requests to your potential customers. Make personalized messages as much as you can. Mention something you have in similar or mention the problem.
Don’t forget to offer your help (never underestimate this. It’s one of the most important things I learned in my life – Help someone for free and It will get you back – with hundred times bigger value).
Start creating and publishing relevant, engaging and problem-solving content on your LinkedIn and Facebook, based on your research about the market and your customers’ problems.
Every one to two weeks reach out to them with messages, and ask them:
How are you going these days?
Since the last day we spoked together, I have done a little research about [the problem]
I hope [content name] can solve your biggest pains!
Wish you all the best,
I hope you are going well!
Is there anything I can help you with?
I researched a little bit about your biggest problems with [the problem],
and I think that I have a solution for you! 🙂
Would you like more to speak via video chat or to send you on your email some detailed instructions?
I can write you a thousand copies for your messages. But for all of them – one thing is similar:
The final goal is to create a warm relationship between you and your potential customers. Your customers should become your front-line soldiers when it comes to the battle (Or even better if you can convert them to your Jedi, it would be great!) 🙂
The most important thing is to just follow up and retarget your competitors’ customers with relevant content. Show them who is the boss! 🙂
How to create killer competitive strategies
By now, you already know who your competitors are, how you can monitor them, and you know your customers very well.
But, it’s that enough to win the bloody battle against your competition?
No, it isn’t.
We will need to develop powerful competitive strategies. Think about the following case study:
You just founded a new store in your neighbourhood. But, just several weeks since you began working, straight behind your door, it’s opened a big supermarket.
What can you do to keep your customers? What can you do to find new ones?
The process and a strategy for the IT and Tech companies are the same as for the retailer stores. For example:
You are building a SaaS tool for monitoring websites backlinks. You are ready for your initial outreach. You found your potential leads with FindThatLead, and now you are prepared for sending cold emails!
You have just sent your first campaign to 1000 potential customers. But, wait! Your open rate is 3%! The second campaign – your open rate is 3,5%!
You are struggling with your outreach. Now, you have a few solutions:
- Pay an expert with money you don’t have.
- You can try with a lot of “Trial-and-error” methods
- See how your competitor is rolling the stones.
Option 1 can be powerful but expensive. Option 2 is a good thing to do but it’s too slow, and you will spend a lot of time figuring out what’s working and what’s not.
But, option 3 will save you both time and money (In the business, time and money are equally important resources).
Inside your Competitors App dashboard, you can track your competitors’ newsletter and email campaigns. They already have successful copies and templates.
Edit a template a little bit with your previous knowledge of potential customers behaviours and problems, and you will have a good email copy ready for the outreach!
This is an example of a successful competitor monitoring and creating competitive strategies.
Here are other examples of how you can combine tracking your competitors and using their bad and good moves to outmanoeuvre your competition:
Improve your products or features
This is a classic example of the competitive strategy. Quality is almost always better than quantity.
You have done your competitors’ customers research. They have filled your surveys and now you have the valuable feedback. Use it best as you can.
Your competitor has a big customer base. It’s successful, but, you found out that its’ customers use only two to four features instead of fifteen. Their dashboards are slow and crowded with unnecessary things.
What should you do?
Build a simple dashboard with just the features they are using.
Offer bigger value
It’s not a secret that the business who love and care about its customers is always the first choice in the peoples’ eyes.
As I mentioned above, show them that you think about them every day and night. They will appreciate it.
From your customers’ survey, you know what are their biggest problems. Create content which will suit them best!
For the example:
If your ideal customer persona the biggest problems is how to onboard the first clients or customers, think about the following articles:
“How to onboard your very first client”
“How to create a successful client network”
“10 Tips & Tricks on how to find the first customers”
Find the best places on the internet to distribute your content, so you will have a big reach of your most ideal customers.
At the end of the article (or at the beginning), offer them some free templates, spreadsheets or maybe outreach templates to catch their attention even more.
Customer Support is what sometimes matter the most. Be available for your customers 24/7. What most people hate, is when they need to wait for the response for several hours or even days. Respond them in minutes – literally.
Maintain your value and competitive edge.
The last step but not the least important. Always keep the same (or even better) quality of your services or your product.
Maintain your competitive edge, and always monitor your competitors every day, so you can find new opportunities to beat them.
In the end, let’s resume everything above in few short sentences:
- The best product doesn’t always win in the market.
- Define your ideal customer persona as much as you can. Find their problems and biggest pains, so you can find the best solution.
- Monitor your competitor every day, so you can find the best opportunities for the outmanoeuvring your competition.
- Create the competitive edge based on your knowledge from monitoring your competitors.
- Always maintain the same or even a better value.