During the research phase we built a list of competitors in our spreadsheet.
Here is what we do with this list.
- We need to learn how to differentiate ourselves from the competition
- We need to collect contact information for the purpose of prospecting and outreach
- We need to find different places where our ideal customer hangs out
1. Learn to Differentiate
Using our competitors list, one at a time, search for your competitors online. Pretend you’re a customer and view this business from a customers perspective. Particularly your ideal customers point of view.
Look for the things they are doing well from a customer perspective, and also look for the things they’re doing badly.
Simply, we steal the good things and we improve the poor things and try to set ourselves apart. Differentiate.
Start a spreadsheet for each competitor. Document the differentiation overview. The good points (we consider coping and improving), and the bad (which we use could as our angle).
Document the different monetisation strategies the competitor deploys and a list of products and services it uses to generate income.
2. Check for Back Links
The next is to search for your competitors back links. List all the website that have links pointing to your competitor’s website.
Go to Ubersuggest.com and get a free account and start entering your competitors websites. It has a lot of data, You can see competitors top traffic pages, best content, and we use it get a list of all the websites linking to them.
Make sure you enter all of this data into the spreadsheet. Back links, Referring Domains, Top Pages.
It is possible to get some good data with the free Ubersuggest account. Enough to get you started anyway.
Otherwise, the best tool is Ahrefs.com. You could pay for a month or two, do your research then cancel the subscription. I’ve done this many times over the years.
1. We are looking for places where we get a link to our website
2. Places where your ideal customer will hang out
We want to go look at who is linking to your competitors. Study these links.
Start a spreadsheet for these links.
Go to the websites that links to them. Try to understand how they got those links.
Often they are link directories. If so, then add your link.
Sometimes you will find interviews with the competitors. Try to get interviewed also and talk about the difference with dealing with you.
Some others might have articles that mention your competition and include a link. Reach out to the website owner and offer some better content as replacement or to include an additional link to your website.
Try to replicate the type of Back links they have.
3. Find Customer Hangs Outs
This means we are looking for places where your ideal customer will hang out.
Looking at the linking root domains of your competitors is a good place to find customer hang outs. Many of these will be either social, blogs and forums.
1. How big is their audience?
2. How relevant is that audience to your target person
3. Reach out to a relevant or related audience
We should start to target blog sites with a mid to low level audience size with high relevance to your market first.
Build up some communication skills with a smaller audience first. Reach out to these site owners.
Start commenting on their blog. Maybe introduce yourself, through email. Comment onTwitter and Facebook. Get your name out there. Offer them real value (for free). Start communicating. Start to build a relationship with the site owner.
WE DON’T WANT TO SPAM. OFFER REAL VALUE to the site owner RELEVANT to the target audience. Sometimes, even offering free work with no strings attached can be invaluable.
Forums are another great area, but you need to be careful with forums. If you do it wrong they can be a real disaster.
Just remember to add value to the conversation. Answers questions without mentioning your business, you just need the profile link that’s it.
Be helpful to the users and add value where ever you can. So, to start, you join the forum. Fill in the profile information.
Do a search in the forum for something you know really well or are passionate about.
Stay on topic. Get in there regularly and start to answer questions. If you do this well you will begin to be seen as an expert in the field.
Again, if you have solved a problem in the industry, put up your own thread to answer that problem.
Don’t just link to your website, write it in the forum. This helps the site owner and could be the beginning of a relationship.