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Leveraging online tools to stand out in a hyper-competitive market

Leveraging online tools to stand out in a hyper-competitive market

In today’s super competitive marketplace, leveraging competitor monitoring tools may well be the most effective way to stay ahead. But more than knowing what they do, it’s more important to know how to purposefully use them to achieve greater market share.

What competitive monitoring tools should you utilize for your small business? How can you use them to stand out in a heavily saturated market? Here’s what you need to know.

Have you ever wondered how far behind humanity would be if not for tools? As a species, it is our ability to craft and use tools to our advantage that set us apart. Through the years, from simple stone instruments to advanced smart technologies, we’ve always relied on tools to solve our problems.

How can small businesses use tools today to improve business development and become market leaders in their industries?

Competition has always existed in business. But it became even more pronounced during the COVID-19 pandemic. In recent reports, the United States recorded over 4.4 million new businesses created in 2020. This is the highest number ever recorded. Every year since then, more and more businesses are coming onto the scene, most of them based online. As a result, the competition has only gotten more intense further reducing your market share.

To stay afloat, businesses need to find new ways to gain a competitive edge and acquire new business online despite a crowded market.

How can you stand out against other companies?

It’s now more important to stand out than to fit in. And the best way to do that is to first establish your value in the marketplace. This means identifying your target market’s challenges and rolling out simple yet effective solutions to address them.

But isn’t that what your competitors are also doing?

Indeed. That’s why you’ll also need to take the extra step to differentiate your brand.

Ask yourself these questions to help you identify opportunities in your field and zero in on your unique value proposition.

  • Why should a client buy from my business and not my competitor(s)? — Think of your average consumer. Try to picture their buyer journey from awareness of your service or product to deciding to make a purchase. What can you do to make this buyer journey shorter, such that whenever they need your service, they immediately come to you? This is what makes your business unique in the face of other brands.
  • What is the one thing that my firm does differently? — Even if you and your competitors are offering similar solutions, there will often always be areas where you do things differently. It could be in your customer intake process, price changes, marketing, how the solution is packaged and delivered, and so on. These differences are what can help establish your brand identity and set you apart from the crowd.
  • What does my audience actually care about? — At its core, entrepreneurship is all about understanding what your target audience needs and then providing it to them. This requires extensive market research to properly understand not just what your audience cares about but also how to deliver it to them in the most efficient way.

Best practices to overcome competition online

Tracking your competition to see what they offer and optimizing your online presence gives you the best shot at staying ahead.

But this is a broad statement.

What competitor data should you track? What does it mean to optimize your online presence? Let’s break them down.

Tracking competitor information 

Your competitors are obviously doing some things right, or else they wouldn’t be in business. What you want to do is identify the value they bring to the marketplace. Find out why customers would rather go to them than to you or other competitors.

The good news is there are several online competitor tracking tools available that you can use to simplify your research. These tools can help provide valuable insight into what makes your competitor’s value offerings unique.

When conducting a competitive analysis, it should include data about their market share, pricing strategy, differentiators, strengths, and weaknesses. If you’ve got the bandwidth, you can expand it to include other important competitor information such as geography, culture, customer reviews, and more.

Optimizing your online presence for a competitive edge 

No matter the size of your business or the level of competition you’re facing, implementing these best practices can help you perform better online:

  • Have a professional online presence — This simply means having a kick-ass website design that attracts and builds trust with potential customers. A conversion-based, search engine-friendly website is the foundation of any meaningful online presence. More importantly, it can help you stay ahead of your competitors.
  • Emphasize what makes your business better — You’ve already established your business’s unique selling propositions. Now’s the time to make sure these values shine through in your online presence. For example, if your business offers remote consultations and your competitors do not, you can highlight it in your web design and content.
  • Deliver a seamless visitor experience that makes it easy to engage and work with you — While a good online presence is important for attracting prospects, it is ultimately their visitor experience that determines if they will become paying customers. A seamless user experience is a key differentiator between competitors in today’s markets. People expect to feel good about their decision to patronize your business over another, and it is your job to deliver on that expectation.

How to harness online tools to stand above your competitors

Regardless of your industry, if you cannot find a way to stay at least one step ahead of your competitors, don’t expect to stay in business very long.

The good news, though? With the right tools, you can automate certain aspects of your competitor analysis and even generate data points that help you make informed decisions in marketing.

Competition and marketing go hand in hand. Think about it. All your marketing efforts are aimed at competing for the attention of your target audience. That’s why to have any meaningful impact, the online tools you use must touch on both the competitive monitoring and marketing aspects of your business.

Competitor monitor tools

The best tools let you gain access to useful competitive intelligence data. For example, they should be able to provide insight into your competitor’s top-performing content and ad copies, what keywords they’re ranking for, their most shared content on social media, and so on.

By monitoring competitors, you can better understand what tactics/messaging they use, identify weaknesses in their marketing strategy that you can capitalize on, stay up to date on market trends, and learn how to differentiate your company. These are what help you gain a competitive edge in the market.

Some of the most popular competitor monitoring tools that you can use today include:

  • NetBase Quid — This is a robust monitoring tool that lets you track relevant competitor data and get a better idea of how they are perceived across social media and news channels.
  • SpyFu — A comprehensive platform that allows you to conduct competitor analysis and take the guesswork out of SEO by providing insight on search rankings, traffic statistics, search engine results page (SERP) analysis, and more.
  • Owler’s Financial Competitive Analysis — This competitor monitoring tool lets you track your competitor’s activity and access important information, such as their earnings, annual revenue, pricing strategies, location, and so on.
  • AccuRanker — This is a great tool for accurately tracking your competitors’ keyword rankings. You can get insights into the traffic potential of target keywords so you know which ones to optimize in your content marketing strategy.
  • Wappalyzer — Want to identify what technologies your competitors are using on their websites? The Wappalyzer browser extension is your go-to tool.
  • Semrush — Competitor monitoring is just one of many features on this platform. Here you can also access user-friendly tools that help with SEO, content marketing, market research, and social media.

Most of these competitor tracking tools offer a free version with limited features so your sales and marketing teams can still benefit without you spending a penny.

Not yet convinced to onboard online monitoring tools into your business arsenal? In a study published by Emerald Insight, over 90% of Fortune 500 Companies are already using competitive intelligence reports to​​ gain an advantage in their respective industries. Don’t get left behind.

Optimizing for SEO

Search engine optimization is all about making your business’s online presence searchable and accessible on the web. What use is a website if people can’t find or access it, right?

Competitor monitoring tools can help improve your overall marketing strategy by providing insight into what your competitors are doing right. For example, by tracking what particular keywords your competitors are ranking for, you can use SEO tools to identify related keywords and optimize them in your content.

You can gather useful data about your competitor’s content, such as the most engaging topics, main talking points, post length, etc., to make your content marketing more effective.

These insights are also valuable for other aspects of marketing, including paid search ads, email marketing, and social media marketing.

Optimizing for website conversion

This involves finding the best ways to get your visitors to interact with your website and become new customers. The idea is to make your website more action-oriented with clear messaging and straightforward calls to action to prompt website visitors to take that all-important next step.

Examples of online tools that can help improve your website’s conversion include appointment scheduling forms, pop-up banners, and chatbots.

Making client experiences frictionless

Analyze competitor websites. What features do they have that you think can make your website more user-friendly?

There are many factors to consider when creating a seamless client experience, such as mobile friendliness, loading speed, simple navigation, informative content, and easy-to-find contact information.

You can also take advantage of online tools that provide a measure of convenience to clients. These include secure payment processing, digital contracts & eSignatures, automated intake process, online scheduling, and more.

How to build a better online presence than your competitors

There’s no doubt that building a superior online presence over your competitors is time-consuming. The best way to go about it is to simply hire an expert to get it done for you. An expert knows what areas of your company’s online presence need the most attention and can provide the relevant expertise required to deliver quality results.

This is what working with B12 can do for your business

B12 is an all-in-one solutions platform for small businesses looking to stay ahead of the competition. By all-in-one solution, we mean everything you could possibly need to thrive in a saturated marketplace — professional website design, SEO, copywriting, conversion features, traffic analytics & reporting, seamless third-party Integrations, and much more.

We also offer a wide selection of online tools designed to improve client engagement and facilitate payments and invoicing directly on your website.

These help save you valuable time and effort, as well as provide a more complete picture of the market so you can make informed strategic decisions about your business.

Try an all-in-one online platform

Competitor monitoring is one of the most crucial business requirements in today’s hyper-competitive market. It’s important to take advantage of these tools to ensure that your brand stands apart from the crowd and has a stellar online presence.

That being said, while several online tools and tips will help you better understand what your competitors are up to, don’t make the mistake of trying to mimic everything they do. Stay true to what makes you unique and the things you offer that they don’t.

Ready to slug it out with your competitors to gain the upper hand? Sign up on B12 today to get started. Take advantage of our all-in-one platform that combines website, SEO, content, conversion, and other important tools to become a market leader in your niche.

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