As a business owner, you’re probably always looking for the next best thing. This can be anything from new product development to new marketing tactics. In today’s overpopulated e-commerce world, it can be hard to stand out from the competition. Consumers today are constantly being pulled in different directions to spend their well earned money. And with the current economic situation, people are less likely to spend frivolously without doing their research.
Standing out from the competition means not only understanding your target audiences’ needs but also identifying them early. Creating demand is one way to gain interest as is creating a sense of urgency around your product or service. If consumers feel like they can’t live without your product, they are more likely to spread the word to their friends. And as you surely know, word of mouth is still one of the best marketing tactics around.
If you’re racking your brain trying to identify how to fill a market need and outperform your competition, keep reading. With the rise of digital marketing, research, and data, there are numerous tools available at your fingertips. Below are three business tools you can tap into today to surpass your competitors.
1. Predictive Content Impact Tools
With a quick Google search, you can often identify your main competitors. And if they pop up before you, it might be time to create a search engine optimization strategy. While the concept of SEO can be daunting, it’s actually quite simple, especially if you have the right tools. SEO is about optimizing your search results and improving content, so search engines will rank your content higher on their search engine results pages.
A large part of working on SEO is performing keyword research. Let’s say you’re a plant company and looking to expand your e-commerce business. With numerous other plant businesses online, you may need to find a niche to separate yourself. You can utilize personalized keyword difficulty tools to identify what keywords you need to focus on for your onsite content. These tools can also predict how well your content will do. For instance, you may find that “herb garden” is too competitive to rank for but “apartment herb garden” is easier.
After doing this research, your content team can write with these specific keywords in mind. This can be weekly blog posts or more evergreen content for the site. Knowing what keywords are the most difficult can inform your strategy. But remember that planning a SEO strategy isn’t a one and done task. You need to continually check on how you’re performing with your keywords and how you’re ranking against your competitors.
2. Customer Service Chatbot
The sooner you can answer a potential buyer’s question the better. While sending an email to a brand — or better yet, calling them — was common practice, that way of thinking is outdated. Consumers are looking for speedy, quick interactions. They want to get on with their day and not spend as long hemming and hawing over buying decisions.
One of today’s latest tools to provide excellent, on-demand customer service are chatbots. You’ve likely seen and used these tools yourself. Chatbots utilize artificial intelligence to predict and answer consumer questions immediately. They can point site users to the right direction, such as to a FAQ page. If additional information is requested by the consumer, then a customer service representative can step in.
While chatbots don’t replace real human interactions, they can eliminate unnecessary interactions. If someone is simply asking about shipping costs, they can be directed to the answer rather than wasting a service representative’s time. Also, utilizing chatbots is a great way to better understand your consumers’ needs. You can analyze the data to better understand their shopping habits and know what kind of requests they have.
3. Competitor Analysis Tools
Finally, standing out from the competition means knowing where you stand amongst your competitors. After all, you can’t outperform your competitors if you don’t know who they are or even how they are performing. Through the use of these analysis tools, you can better identify competitors while monitoring their offers, rates, and overall performance. Essentially, these tools keep a watchful eye on them without you physically monitoring their behaviors.
There are various competitor analysis tools on the market, each offering different benefits. When looking at which tool is best for your company, there are a few things to keep in mind. First of all, while these tools can be extremely helpful, you shouldn’t blow your budget on them! Next, think about how you are going to be using this tool. Getting in-depth analyses on a few key brands is different than getting a high-level overview of multiple brands.
Once you’ve selected the tool you want to use, the next step is actually using it and benefiting from it. While these tools will do the legwork for you, it’s up to you and your team to respond accordingly. For instance, if a main competitor just released a consumer-facing newsletter, it may be time for you to do the same. Or, if a competitor is starting their year end sale now, then you may want to bump your planned sale up to today as well. That said, avoid using this information as a means to copy your competitors, as that will only frustrate your loyal consumers.
It’s a fierce world out there. Whether you are a new business or have been around for a while, chances are you are fending off competitors. Standing out is tricky business, especially as you are looking to gain and capture consumers’ attention.
It’s important to remain true to your brand and your values as you navigate the competition. You want your consumers to trust you and know that you value their business. You never want to compromise your brand’s promise to consumers just for the sake of beating out another competitor. Consumers are more likely to go to brands that prioritize their users and remain aligned with their core beliefs.