14 Ways to Track Your Competition
1. Sign up for news alerts. Google Alerts are helpful, easy to set up and free. For smaller, local businesses, you might also want to sign up with local newspapers for notifications.
2. Review websites. Fagan Finder will tell you about other sites linking to your competitors’, which can reveal alliances, networks, suppliers and customers. WatchThatPage.com will tell you when specific pages are changed so you can hear about new products, changing messaging, new target markets, personnel changes and more. Investigate the directories in which competitors are listed make sure you also listed.
3. Check their keywords. Use the Google keyword planner. Log in, go to Tools and analysis and search your desired keywords, plug in a URL and get ad group and keyword ideas, as well as find out how much in demand various keywords are.
4. Pay for financial information. Dun & Bradstreet and InfoUSA provide detailed company information including but the services are expensive. Instead, check local libraries to find out if they provide access to such subscriptions.
5. Become a client. If you can buy a product or use a service, you will have first-hand knowledge of what you are up against with competitors. Test the experience online and in-store. Experience the buying process and evaluate how products are sourced, merchandized and priced.
6. Visit trade show booths. Pick up competitors’ materials. You can view demos or new products in person and ask their teams questions (It’s easier if your company name isn’t on your badge!).
7. Call to inquire about products. You can get in-depth information about pricing and what is popular, which can also help you determine what your customers are willing to pay.
8. Follow their blog. Chances are you’ll find out about new features, partnership launches and hires, as well as insight into company culture.