When you are running a local small business, it’s important to stay on top of your game. For example, if one of your competitors is offering special deals and discounts that you aren’t aware of, this could be the difference between closing a sale and not making any money at all. To avoid this situation from happening to you, we advise performing a competitive audit every month so that you know exactly how your competition is doing and what they are up to.
What is a competitive audit?
A competitive audit is a way of analyzing your competitors to find ways you can improve your product, marketing strategy, and customer service efforts. It is a way of finding out how your competitors are doing and how you can improve your business in comparison.
You may ask yourself: Why do I need to look at my competition? There are many reasons for this, but perhaps the most important reason is that it helps you understand what the market wants from businesses like yours. When you know what those needs are, then you’ll be able to create products or services that appeal directly to them.
Why is a competitive audit important?
If you’re a small business owner, it’s important to know what your competitors are doing. You need to understand the strengths and weaknesses of your industry and its players.
Because if you don’t know what your competition is doing, then how can you compete with them? And if you don’t know how they’re doing right now, then how can you predict what changes will be necessary for them to keep up in the future?
How to perform a competitive audit for your local small business.
A competitive audit is a good way to understand the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors. It will help you figure out what your competitors are doing well and where they could improve. You can also use this information to develop strategies for improving your business.
A competitive audit is not the same thing as market analysis or marketing plan, though those may include certain aspects of a competitive audit as well. If you want more in-depth information about any subject related to your local business environment, read our blog post on market analysis or check out our other blog posts here!
Identify their target audience.
Google’s Keyword Planner helps you identify your target audience by showing you how many people are searching for certain terms in Google. You can also use it to see how many people are searching for your competitors’ names and then determine who their customers are.
To use the Keyword Planner, go to [insert URL here] and click “Get keyword ideas.”
You will be able to see data like:
- The number of searches per month that particular term gets (this is important because it tells you how much traffic potential there is in that niche)
- How much competition there is for a particular term (make sure the competition isn’t too high so it doesn’t become too expensive)
Find out who their customers are.
You want to know who your customers are because it helps you to tailor your marketing and customer service efforts. For example, if the majority of your customers are women or couples with children, then you should focus on promoting gender-neutral products and family-friendly policies. If most of your customers are in their twenties and thirties, then you should target that age group in your social media posts and marketing campaigns.
You may also want to consider researching which demographics use which channels for online shopping. For example, teenagers tend not to purchase products directly from a company’s website; they prefer shopping through Instagram or Twitter instead because this is where their friends are talking about these new items (and often posting videos of themselves using them!).
Research their marketing strategies.
The next step is to research their marketing strategies. What are their marketing efforts? Do they have a website? How much money do they spend on advertising, and what kind of ads do they run (radio, newspaper, TV, billboards)?
You can also look at their social media presence. Is it active? Does it look like they’re giving people content that’s helpful and easy to consume? Or maybe it’s just a bunch of clickbait headlines with very little substance behind them. Or maybe the company doesn’t even have an account because they think Facebook is dead now that everyone has moved over to Instagram and Snapchat.
Also, check out their physical locations—do they have any storefronts where customers could come in person if they wanted to talk about making an appointment or setting up an estimate for services rendered by the local business owner?
Research their pricing strategies and customer support strategies.
You should also research their pricing strategies and customer support strategies. You can find this information on company websites, social media profiles, online reviews or in the business directories of your local area (if they’re listed).
As a small business owner, you need to know how your competitors handle customer complaints. If you’re not sure how to do this research properly, I recommend using something like Google search or Bing for finding information about your competitors’ customer service policies – such as whether or not they offer refunds on certain items/services returned within a specified time period (usually 30 days). You should also look into any other ways that customers have voiced concerns with their products/services – such as negative reviews posted online by disgruntled users who felt mistreated by the company or made false promises regarding their services. By knowing these things up front, you’ll be able to avoid making similar mistakes yourself!
Track their rankings in the SERPs.
The first thing you should do is track your rankings in the SERPs. There are several ways to do this:
- Track your rankings on a regular basis with tools such as SEMrush or Google Search Console. You can also get these results by using a keyword planner or even SEO software like Ahrefs or Moz Pro.
- Track-specific keywords, websites, and locations (areas of town) if you know what they are beforehand and want to see how well they’re doing over time. This will help you determine if there’s anything “fishy” going on with your competition that could be affecting their performance in the SERPs (and yours).
Analyze why these businesses are ranking well in the search results.
The best way to start is by analyzing why these businesses are ranking well in the search results.
Here’s what you should look at:
- On-page SEO
- Off-page SEO (including backlinks)
- Social media presence (e.g., Facebook, Instagram, Twitter)
- Local citations and reviews
- Content marketing strategy
- Customer service
It’s also important to look at their website speed. This will give you an indication of whether or not they’re doing anything else wrong that could be impacting their performance in SERPs (search engine result pages).
Look for gaps you can leverage for your business’s growth.
The final step in the competitive audit process is to identify gaps in your competitors’ strategies and use them to grow your own business.
Here’s how it works:
- Look for gaps you can leverage for your business’s growth.
- Find out what your competitors are doing well.
- Find out what your competitors are doing poorly.
- Look for ways that you can capitalize on these observations using the same methods used in previous steps of this guide!
A competitive audit will help you find ways of improving your product, marketing strategy, and your customer service efforts.
A competitive audit will help you find ways of improving your product, marketing strategy, and your customer service efforts. This is a very helpful tool for businesses to utilize when they want to know their strengths and weaknesses in the industry.
It helps identify gaps in your business that you can leverage for your business’s growth. It also helps identify your target audience, which will help you increase sales through better targeting them with products or services that they would be interested in purchasing.
So there you have it, a basic competitive audit. It’s easy to do and the results can be valuable in helping you make better decisions for your business.