Competition Research And Analysis Free Worksheet

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How to Do a Competitor Analysis with Free Competition Research Template

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How To Do A Competitor Analysis: 17 Tips + Template (2022) Competitor Analysis

Creating a competitor analysis can feel like you’re staring down a bulldozer: it’s intimidating and you feel like you’re not ready. But it’s essential to understand why people are buying the product before you sell it, what you’ll be competing against (and who your direct competitors will be), and how you’ll stand out. And the best part about it is that it doesn’t have to be complicated!

You don’t want to find out that nobody wants or needs your product after you’ve spent countless hours and dollars on development.

One of the first decisions a small business owner makes is whether to follow in someone else’s footsteps or blaze their own trail. Doing market research is a great way to see what your success might look like.

When I started my company, one of the first things I did was perform a competitor analysis. I wanted to take an educated guess at how much opportunity was available in my niche, what risks were involved, and how I could stand out and create a unique offering among my business competitors.

Competitor Research Template And Workbook

Let me assure you that doing a competitor analysis before launching your own business is not only the responsible thing to do but also a huge step in the right direction.

So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to take it slow, wear your mouthguard, and get ready to rumble. Here are some tips to help you out with your competitor research…

Tip #1: Write down your website’s reason for being

It can be tough to know what makes your website special compared to the competition.

You might feel like you’re not ready to take on the competition, but it’s essential to understand why people are buying the product before you sell it.

By writing down your website’s reason for being, you’ll have a better understanding of what makes your site unique and how you can use that to your advantage.

This sounds like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people haven’t given it a second thought.

Having trouble coming up with ideas? Here are some prompts to get you writing…

  • What would cause someone to visit your website instead of using the competition’s tools?
  • What could your website do for them that makes them feel special or gives them a competitive edge?  
  • What will make your website special?
Free Competitor Analysis Research Tool

Keep in mind, this doesn’t need to be a list that you share with the whole wide world. You can and should use this information to better understand what makes your website different than the competition.

Tip #2: Map out the competition’s user experience

Starting a business can be really hard, and it’s even harder when you don’t know what your competition is doing.

It’s important to do some research before launching an online business because if you’re not aware of the competition, then you might end up making mistakes that they’ve already made. You’ll also want to make sure that your product or service is different enough from theirs so people will choose yours over theirs.

The best way to get started with this research is by mapping out the user experience on competing websites. This will give you a good idea of how they deliver their goods or services and what works well for them in terms of marketing and design. Don’t skip this step – these competitors might have a strategy that you can use for your own business!

Here are some questions you should ask yourself…

  • How do prospects learn about my competition?
  • What is your competition’s end goal with its website?
  • What services or products does your competition offer?
  • How does the competitor market its products or services?
  • Who does your competition target as a demographic?
  • What do they offer that you could improve?
Business Market Assessment And Research Template

Whether you love it or hate it, looking at what works and doesn’t work for competing websites will give you a good idea of how to run your own business.

These competitors have been around for quite some time now so they seem to know what they’re doing.

Your product doesn’t need to be exactly like theirs as long as you keep improving on it and differentiate yourself from them in subtle ways that make your product more appealing than theirs.

Tip #3: Stand up to the negative voice inside your head

It’s hard to stay motivated and focused on your goals when there are so many distractions.

You might be afraid of the competition, or not having enough time, or even that you’re just not good enough.

The best way to combat these fears is by understanding them. Take a look at what other people in your niche are doing and find out how they’re succeeding where you may be struggling. Once you know what it takes to succeed, you’ll have more confidence in yourself and less fear of failure!

If you just focus on what you’re afraid of, that’s all you’ll see.

Do your best to understand the competition and come up with a workable plan to face those fears head-on.

So, what are you so afraid of?

If someone already has a website in your niche, it means they have an established customer base. You may be afraid of having too much competition, but truly there is no such thing (you could fill a whole stadium with your competitors and still have room for more!).

Fear Of Failure Business Launch And Research

Just remember that it takes time to build up revenue and if someone else has already laid the groundwork so will you—just faster and better than your competition can!

To truly see your potential just look at the forest, not the trees.  And remember this little acronym:

WHY?

  • WHY are you doing this?
  • WHY is it important for people to know about your online business?
  • WHY will they choose you over someone else?

Your WHY should be so strong that nothing can sway it.

Tip #4: Research, Research, Research

Be thorough and diligent with your competitor research so you don’t miss anything important. It’s better to find problems before you launch than after all your hard work has been put into creating your website!

Your product is going to be amazing so you should feel confident about it. Spend a few days learning as much as you can about your competition and watch how the pieces fall into place.

You don’t want competitor analysis to become a procrastination tool, so you need to set a deadline for yourself and stick with it!

If you keep pushing back the deadline for your competitor research, you’ll never launch your website…or even start working on it.

Tip #5: Get to know the competition’s target audience

Have you ever watched two businesses duke it out on Shark Tank? You’ll notice that not everyone competes in the same space, so if you want to be successful, you need to know who your competitors are targeting and what they’re offering.

If there’s a competitor who has a competing product to yours, you need to know if their target audience is the same as your target audience.

If they are, it might be fun to create some healthy (or not) competition by offering something different or better than what they’re offering.

Competitor Analysis How To Template Free

If their target audience is entirely different from yours, move on! There’s no need to worry about competition if you’re not even trying to target the same people.

Tip #6: Look at what works and doesn’t work for your competition

Whether its name, logo, website layout, or color scheme… make note of what you like and dislike about the competitor’s websites. And don’t be afraid to try new things like their approaches.

If your competition is always on social media, make sure you’re on social media too! If they rely on blogging to get their message across, consider starting a blog.

It’s also good to see what kind of marketing works for them and what doesn’t because if it’s not working for them then it may not be working for you either…which means you have the chance to out-market them!

Tip #7: Evaluate your competitor’s price points and pricing models

Your competition should be a driving force behind most of your business decisions.

Whether you’re studying their pricing model, customer reviews, or target demographic…look at everything.

  • Are they charging for their service or product as a flat fee, a sliding scale, or a subscription model?
  • What are the price points for services or products that are similar to what you have to offer?
  • Are they using sales funnels, offering a low price point offer that leads to upsells?

By studying your competition, you can figure out how to position yourself in the market and what price points you need to hit.

Evaluate Competitor Pricing And Pricing Models

You may even come across a business model that inspires you to change the way you market and position yourself in the market.

Tip #8: Figure out where your competitors are getting their traffic from

Traffic is the lifeblood of any website.

  • Where are they getting their customers?
  • Are they keeping up with search engine standards and updates, do they have social media pages that people can follow them on?
  • Do they offer an email list or send out newsletters? (Sign up for their newsletter, if they have one.)

If your competitors are getting their traffic from paid advertising, you could do paid advertising as well. If they’re using a free method, then maybe that would work for you too.

If they have a huge email list and send out newsletters all the time, then consider starting an email list of your own and sending out newsletters.

The only way you can become a success is by finding out where your competitors are getting their customers from and then doing it better than them. (Or at least equally as well.)

Tip #9: Make your website better than what they offer

Don’t just create a website that’s equally as good as all of your competitors’ websites – make yours better!

Use the information you’ve learned from surveying your competition to improve upon their services or products and do something they can’t.

Analyze Competitor Website And User Experience

If you’re not sure what makes your website better, think about it in terms of converting.

  • What aspects will make people want to convert (sign up for a free trial, purchase a service) and which parts won’t?
  • Where could you add value that they don’t offer?

Tip #10: Don’t copy your competition: find what works for them and do it better

Don’t copy your competition – instead, focus on what works for them and do it better.

Chances are you’ve already come up with some great ideas for improvement that go beyond what your competitors are doing. Keep an eye out for opportunities in the marketplace and work hard to provide what your target audience needs.

You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you’re reinventing the wheel by doing something that’s already being done. Instead, get creative with how you approach the market so you can stand out from their offerings!

As an example, your competitor might offer a free 7 day trial for their service but you could offer a free 14-day trial or even create a “freemium” plan for your service.

Tip #11: What are other people saying about your competition?  

Social media is an excellent way to get to know your competition. Search hashtags related to the industry you’re in and join conversations on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.

If you spend a few hours casually browsing through posts related to your business niche, it’ll help you grow a strong sense of direction for your business.

  • What are people saying about your competitors?
  • What kind of responses are people giving them and why?
  • What types of posts are getting the most attention?

Online reviews are another great way to find out what your competition is up to.

See if you can find reviews of your competitors by customers on websites like Trustpilot, Yelp, Google Reviews, etc.

Competitor Review Research For Competition Analysis

You can also try searching on Facebook for pages related to your niche and see what kind of feedback their customers are giving them.

Pay attention to 1-star reviews – these can be the most informative! One customer may have had a bad experience with their service and you can use this information to improve upon the aspects of your business that they didn’t like.

The 5-star glowing reviews are important too – they highlight what people are loving about what your competition has to offer. Take note of what aspects of their business are working well and see if you can emulate them on your own.

It’s a great idea to get a clearer picture of your competition by using Google Alerts. You can easily see what people are saying about your competitors and their business, plus you’ll know when they start creating new content because you’ll receive updates.

Tip #12: Identify your online business opportunity zone

As a small business owner, you can take advantage of gaps in the marketplace that big corporations may have skimmed past. Understanding what these opportunities are will help you get ahead early on and give you a competitive advantage.

To identify your opportunity zone, try thinking of the following:

  • What’s everyone else doing?  
  • What’s missing from what they’re doing?
  • How can your business provide an enhanced version of its current offering?
  • How could you customize your solution to fit the needs of a specific group or market?

Think about leveraging underused resources. For example, if there aren’t many companies in your industry that have a strong social media presence, surprise everyone and build one up!

Find Business Opportunities Research Template

There’s also an opportunity to fill in gaps that exist in the marketing strategies of your competitors.

For example, you could create an online marketing plan full of unique ideas that haven’t been attempted by other companies in the industry before.

Is there an unmet need in the marketplace that hasn’t been filled yet that you could fulfill?

Then you may have just found a gap in the marketplace!

Tip #13: Keep up with competitors after you launch your business

Just because most of your competitor research is done when you’re in the process of launching doesn’t mean you should stop once your website is up and running!

Look for new competitors in the same business as you, check out what they’re doing to stay visible, and keep tracking how their traffic compares to yours.

You might find that something they’re doing better or worse than you could help catapult your business beyond where you are today.

Tip #14: Look at the back end of the product as well as the front end

  • Are their analytics as good as you want yours to be?
  • Is their user interface intuitive and easy-to-use?
  • If they have a call to action button on their website, is it obvious what will happen when someone clicks on it?
  • And most importantly, are their products easy to find?

Take note of the little details that will make your website more user-friendly. You can learn a lot just by watching how people interact with your competition’s website!

You may not yet be able to launch your website or even start working on it right now but when you’re done with your competitor research, you’ll feel more confident and ready to get started.

Tip #15: Identify your competitors USPs and brainstorm your own

A USP stands for unique selling proposition or point. As you evaluate your key competitors, you’ll start to see how they are positioning themselves with your niche:

  • Are they trying to be the best option for the price point?
  • Are they offering a unique design?
  • Are they focusing on a specific type of customer?
  • Is their advertising more widespread than the rest, or are they promoting themselves with less frequency and in fewer places?

By taking note of the key ways your competitors have differentiated themselves from the pack, it will help you identify where your opportunities for differentiation lie.

Just because you’re not the only company in the industry doesn’t mean that there aren’t ways for you to stand out!

Identify Your Unique Selling Point Usp Template And Workbook

Once you’ve made these observations about your competitors, it’s time to come up with your own USPs. In other words, how will you differentiate yourself from the rest of the pack?

Here’s how to brainstorm your USP:

  • Start with your product or service
  • What makes your offering different than what’s already on the market?
  • Describe it in detail and list any unifying factors, like the material it’s made out of or the way you make it.
  • If there are specific things that set you apart from other companies (like better customer support), explain that!

Next, think about your unique selling proposition outside of the actual product or service

You may not be able to innovate on the front end but you can do it with your marketing strategy.

  • Do you have a particularly strong social media presence?
  • Are you offering freebies like customer loyalty programs or coupons?

Perhaps you offer a service that has never been done before and is unlike anything your customers have ever experienced.

You’ll still want to focus on specifics, like the number of coupons you send out or how often you post on social media.

The more specific you get, the easier it will be for readers to understand what makes you different from everyone else!

Tip #16: Bring everything together in a simple competitor analysis worksheet

Now that’s you’ve done the hard part of the research, now it’s time to put everything together!

Gather your notes and I’ve created an easy-to-use competitor analysis worksheet.

All you have to do is download it here and start filling out what you’ve discovered about your key competitors so you can develop a plan for turning your business from good to great!

This worksheet will become the foundation for creating your business plan and will also make it easier to prioritize which of your competitors you’re going to focus on. Plus, this worksheet will also be a gold mine for when you’re ready to plan out your website content, your social media approach, and more!

Now it’s time to take that sigh of relief that you’ve finally figured out what your competition is up to, take a deep breath, and get ready to start writing your business plan!

You’ve done all the hard work already, now it’s time to start executing.

How To Do A Competitor Analysis: 17 Tips + Template (2022) Competitor Analysis

Tip #17: Be confident!  

You should be proud of what you’re offering. Be confident in your product or service and know that it’s different from anything else out there.

At the end of the day, if you have a product or service that is genuinely valuable to your target audience then you don’t have anything to worry about when it comes to competition.

Don’t be afraid! Be bold and go out there, ready to launch your business as no one else can.

Competitor Analysis Template Free Download

Conclusion

While it takes time to do competitor analysis, the priceless information you’ll find in your research will make it all worth it.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, that’s completely normal and it’s okay!

We’ve all been there. Even the most successful entrepreneurs get discouraged or overwhelmed when they look at what everyone else is doing in their market.

If some of these tips above are confusing or you feel like they don’t pertain to your industry, it’s OK to skip a few – these tips are here to help guide you through the process and give you a starting point.

But here’s the thing… When you take the time to do your research and start thinking about differentiation, you’ll be able to go out there with confidence.

This is the first step towards creating a successful business that will stand out from the crowd.

Competition Research And Analysis Free Worksheet

That’s why you’re doing it, right? Because you want to do something different than everyone else!

So go ahead and start writing your business plan so you can finally quit your day job and work on your business idea full-time!

If you can find a way to blend all of these tips into your online business, I guarantee that you’ll be ready to take on the world and serve your customers better than your competition ever could.

And there you have it: 17 tips to doing a competitor analysis before launching an online business that will not only help you see things from a different perspective but also improve your chances of success.

I know, I know… now it’s time to face that bulldozer head-on! Take deep breaths, pick yourself up and get ready to be amazing!

Good luck with your business competition analysis – I’m rooting for you!

Did you download your free competitor analysis workbook?

LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENTS HOW YOUR RESEARCH WENT AND ANY SUGGESTIONS ON HOW TO IMPROVE THE WORKBOOK.

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How To Do A Competitor Analysis: 17 Tips + Template (2022) Competitor Analysis
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3 Replies to “How to Do a Competitor Analysis: 17 Tips + Template (2022)”

  1. Huey Lefevre says:

    Nice post. I learn something totally new and challenging on blogs I stumbl eupon on a daily basis.

    It will always be helpful to read through articles from other writers and practice something from other websites.

    • Erica Nall says:

      Glad you liked the post! Thanks for dropping by! 🙂

    • Erica Nall says:

      Glad you enjoyed the post! I agree, there’s always great things to learn from others. Hope to see you back soon!

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