Beginners Guide to Competitive Landscape Research

Owning and running your own business can be quite a challenge. After achieving your goal of launching your brand comes the stressful part. How do you make sure that you stand out from the rest? The simple answer to that question is Competitive Landscape Research.

Wikipedia and the Business Dictionary defines it as a business strategy wherein you analyze direct and indirect competitors to manage your own business more efficiently. You use the strong and weak points of other businesses to improve how you run your own.

This guide will help you understand how to do competitive landscape research efficiently.

What to Look for?

When researching, it is important to get the right information. Below are some of the things that you want to make sure you pay close attention to,

  1. Products and Services – Despite the similarities between what you and they offer, it is essential that you take a close look at their products and services. Become their customer so you can understand what their customers experience.
  2. Workforce Size – You can evaluate your competitors more efficiently if you had an idea of how big (or small) their workforce is. This information helps you understand the different processes that they implement.
  3. Pricing – How much do your competitors charge their customers? You’ll be surprised at how useful this information is. It is so much more than being the lowest price in the market. If your competitors are selling at a much lower price, then you need to know how they can do so. If they are selling at a higher price, then you also want to understand why customers are willing to pay.
  4. Marketing and Branding Strategies (Website, social media, etc) – Check how your competitors are doing online. How are they ranking on search engine results pages (SERP)? What keywords are they targeting? What social media platforms are they focusing on? What online marketing strategies are they using to get the attention of customers.
  5. Operational Procedures (Shipping, Customer Service, Production, etc) – Consumers pick businesses based on the overall experience. If it’s an e-commerce site, this means from the moment they log on to the site to the time they use the product they bought. Check out how your competitors take care of their customers and compare it to what you are currently doing.

Online Research Tools

With the onset of technology, competitive landscape research has become so much more than just visiting your competitors’ stores and trying out their products and services. Consumers are now choosing to do their shopping and research online so, it is crucial that you find out how other businesses are promoting their brands in the World Wide Web. Below are some free tools that you can use,

  1. Quantcast – This free online tool shows you useful website demographics as well as traffic.
  2. Alexa – A free online tool that gives you the traffic trends of other sites
  3. Netpeak Checker – Gives you access to third party market research data
  4. Google Trends for Website – This Google tool provides information top 10 related keywords and websites as well as the visitor country location of high traffic sites.
  5. KeyCompete – This paid tool allows you to see the keywords that your competitors are buying.
  6. Majestic SEO – Allows you to access any site’s link profile
  7. Ahrefs – provides the same functions as Majestic but offers a much simpler and easier to use interface.
  8. Keyword Density Analysis Tool – Lets you view common keywords and phrases on both your site and your competitors’.

What to Measure?

With so much data available to you, it can be quite confusing to figure out which one you really should be measuring. When researching your competitors’ online reputation, you need to look out for their SEO strategies which means checking the following,

  1. Keywords 
  2. Backlinks
  3. Social Media Marketing
  4. Local SEO Strategies

The great thing about having competition is that you can use it to your advantage. By researching what others have done to be successful, you too can reach your goals. Learn from their failures and adapt their best practices, it’s a winning formula that you can certainly benefit from.