When did you last conduct a competitive analysis?
We have written before about the importance of identifying and communicating a unique value proposition for your business and web site.
Having a strong value proposition is usually the most important factor in determining the success of any web site. (See our research brief on value propositions.)
However, you’ll have a tough time identifying and articulating your value proposition unless you first conduct a formal competitive analysis.
How can you identify your own strengths and weaknesses without first finding and grading those of your competitors? Do you even know who all of your primary competitors are?
Conducting a competitive analysis shows you gaps in the market, and may also show you weak spots in your own strategy. For instance, you may be focusing too much on a topic or angle that is already well served by too many other companies. Or you may be missing potentially profitable gaps.
Keep in mind that while others may be serving the same customer needs as yourself, they may not be articulating the value of their solutions in a way that connects clearly with their prospects.
In other words, after conducting an in-depth competitive analysis, your most valuable findings may not be about actual gaps in the market…but about your competition’s failure to communicate value clearly.
You will find a great deal more information, and a free spreadsheet you can download, in our competitive analysis research brief.