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Few things in business are more important than researching your competition. When you know what they’re doing, why they’re doing it, how they’re doing it and the gaps in coverage that they have, you’ll be able to outshine and outlast them. Plus, it teaches you not to be afraid of competition. In fact, you want competition. As the saying goes, “If you want to open a successful coffee shop, open a coffee shop right across the street from a successful one.”

Let the Big Guys Do the Hard Work

Instead of you trying to find your audiences after you’ve created a product, let the big guys tell you which audiences are buying and then create a product for them. The way to know is this: if they’re running a lot of ads online, over a long period of time, they’re making good money.

Remember, what you offer is different and you can differentiate yourself by telling the audience how you’re different from the other guy. Let them show you what opportunities exist in your niche.

You Can Learn from Their Mistakes

Set up an alert using Google Alerts for the competitor’s name. Then read blog posts, read information and complaints about them. The more you know about them and their mistakes, the more you can avoid them. You can also use those mistakes to your advantage in your marketing. Not by naming names, but by bringing to light mistakes often made in your industry as a reason to hire you instead.

You Can Adapt What Works

No, this isn’t permission to plagiarize. That is wrong. But you can do the same things that they do. For example, if you notice that the super-profitable company which is your competition sends newsletters every month to their subscribers, or they have a lot of freebies, or they offer courses – whatever it is and it’s working for them, you can emulate it but with your twist and your own words and teaching techniques.

You Can Learn about Your Niche

When you follow, sign up for their info, and interact with your competition, you can learn a lot about your own niche without doing much of the research and digging yourself. Likely they’ll have data and information that you can use for your business. Not to mention, they may have already identified the movers and shakers within your niche that you need to follow and get to know.

You Can Get Known to Their Audience

If you interact with their audience on message boards, groups, comments on blog posts and so forth, they’ll come to know your name. This can be a boon when you start marketing to them your own version of solutions to their problems – especially now that Facebook ads and retargeting exist to help you narrow down your audience. Remember, their audience is your audience.

Learning about your competition and doing the research necessary before you get started can help you avoid a lot of mistakes and get closer to success faster. You don’t have to start without any knowledge or find your audience, or even figure out what they need, because someone has done the hard work for you. Now you just need to create your solutions and get the word out.

Do you have some questions about marketing your business online but don’t know who to ask? Why not ask me? I can help you with both strategy and implementation to make your business more profitable and more popular. We can do this together in 75 minutes; though my whiteboard session. Learn more about it!