In this day and age, everything’s been done before at least once. So the chances of you coming up with a completely unique business idea with little-to-no competition are pretty slim. So rather than fret about all the competition, why not capitalize on it? In fact, with so many ideas floating around out there, chances are you can take a page or two out of someone’s book. So in that spirit, here are a few ways to capitalize on what your rival companies are doing well (or not).
Monitor Their Social Outreach
If I had to choose, the number one way to take advantage of other companies’ success is to monitor how they operate in the social space. This is an extremely public forum so it’s easy to keep tabs on different companies. What do they post every day? How often do they post? But even beyond this, you can actually monitor how well their social campaigns are doing. This isn’t because you’re hacking into their numbers. It’s because their numbers are already public (likes, shares, comments, retweets, pins, etc.).
So rather than try all kinds of new post types yourself and potentially lose followers, watch for your competitors’ posts and see which ones don’t perform well. That way, you don’t need to try (and fail) yourself.
Take Cues from Their Site Structures
Another piece of information that is already more than available from other websites is how someone else’s site is actually laid out. Take a look and see what the hierarchy is. How many touch points are on their navigation bar? How many ads do they have on a single page? If they stick to a certain site structure (and if you like it), then it might work really well on your site, too.
As an example, take a look at the website for Odyssey Assets. What do you see? It has a pretty robust drop-down link structure on the main navigation bar. This allows the main navigation of the site to take up minimal room, and leaves more space for the site’s header logo. This can be a good technique for nearly any site because it establishes the main, branded graphic but also provides users with links to all of the pages they may be interested in. Now check out your competition and see what is working for them. Can you improve on what they’re already doing?
See What Content Works in Your Industry
Arguably the most obvious way to apply what you learn from a competitor is to take a specific look at their content strategy. What sort of information are they offering? Is it simply their core business model or do they add a lot of supplementary material? If their site offers tons of accompanying editorial content, then it might be worth launching your own weekly newsletter or alternate informational content.
Focusing on content also applies to blogging. A company’s blog is one of its best tools for establishing a brand. So much like you monitored social presence, keeping an eye on what types of blog posts your competition is pushing out (and what kinds of interaction their getting) can help you to gauge what sorts of posts you should be using and if it’s even worth having a blog.
Bottom Line: Keep an Eye Out
There’s no exact science here, but in the Internet age, information is your friend. And let’s be honest, if you aren’t snooping on your competition’s strategy then you’re missing out on some huge opportunities. So pay attention and use what you see to your advantage.