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Ethical Spying? Oh My!

The other day we talked about knowing your competition. You do this by what some people like to call ‘ethical spying’. Whether or not it’s really ethical, or whether or not it’s really ‘spying’ or just market research continues to be a hot debate.

Personally, I just consider it market research and see it as doing everything you can to gain an advantage. That doesn’t mean I promote stealing other peoples content or product ideas, in fact I don’t.

It just means that I feel knowing everything you can about your competition will only make YOU a stronger business in the long run.

It’s long been an accepted business practice, and in fact many businesses subscribe to that old adage ‘Let your competition spend the time and the money.’ This leads to a faster ROI for you and saves you from months of trial and error.

But how do you DO this exactly

You first need to open yourself up to learning from them in every way you can. That means you have to join them. Read their newsletters, become a part of their community, scrutinize their website, peruse their blog, etc.

Then you need to evaluate their strategy. How are they communicating with their customers, what type of advertising they’re using that is working for them, who their target market is, etc. And don’t just limit yourself to your local competition either. To be great you need to expand your horizons beyond that of your own back yard.

You also need to look at their online presence and analyze the data. How are they ranking in the search engines, what terms they are ranking for, and how they are going about doing it so successfully!

Then you simply analyze all the information you gather, and work out action plans for your own business. Be careful of information overload though and remember to break the data into manageable chunks so that you don’t end up stuck in inaction.

You can also keep an eye on things like their ad spend, job posting and who they may be hiring, their social profiles, etc. There is literally a ton of information to be found in this day and age on any company, if you do the digging required. And all of that info can help you and your business outshine your competition by a mile when applied correctly.

To your success!

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