One of the most wonderful things about the Internet is that there is an incredibly low barrier to entry. Not only can anyone set up a business online but for many businesses there are no longer any geographical restrictions. However, this low barrier to entry means a significant rise in competition and it is up to you to differentiate and outperform your competitors.

Outperforming your competitors is truly the key to online success. Luckily there are many ways in which you can outperform your competition online. In the “Online Competitive Analysis” course we will do a deep dive into gathering competitive intelligence so that you can quickly obtain a full picture of your competitors web strategies including their website, content, link building, social engagement and paid advertising. Literally, every aspect of any competitors web strategy can be laid bare with a few tricks and a handful of handy tools.

However, that is not what this lesson is about. We are still in the early stages of planning your web strategy. At this stage we want to just look at some of the big picture items so that we can continue to solidify the foundation of your marketing strategy.

Before we take the time to dive deep into the digital strategies of your biggest online competitors in the Competitive Analysis course, let’s just clarify these basics.

1. Who are your biggest direct competitors?

Your direct competitors would be those that are attempting to sell the same goods or services to the same customers.

2. Who are your indirect competitors?

Indirect competitors are those that are selling different products or services, but that are filling the same basic needs for your customers.

3. What competitive advantages do you have over your competition?

Competitive advantages are typically things that your competitors could not easily replicate. Do you own intellectual property? Do you have some special equipment or expertise? Do you have strategic relationships that will give you an edge?

4. What added value do you offer your customers?

Differentiation is a key factor for any company that is seeking to not just exist within a space but to excel within that space. What sets your business apart? How do you go that extra mile?

5. What potential advantages do your competitors have over you?

The only thing worse than not knowing what advantages you could possibly have over your competition, is not knowing what advantages your competitors have over you. Like a good fighter, your key to victory may be turning your competitors greatest strengths into their biggest weakness. If your competitors are much bigger, than you need to be quick. If your competitors can spend more money on advertising, then you have to understand how to better use SEO, social media and content marketing.

It may be the case that you cannot immediately overcome your competitors strengths, but by knowing what they are you can at least understand what battles you are not going to win and spend your time and energy fighting the battles you can win.

Have you finished entering your answers to the above questions in the Business Blueprint Workbook? Fantastic!

Next Let’s go ahead and jump into the next lesson and take a look at your