Your online business plan will cover several areas and in the last article – 3 Foundations To An Online Business Plan – we discussed goals, budget, and time. Now we are going to talk a little about your competition (but no trash talk here).
When you are building your business or starting a new campaign their are probably times when you are not sure of how an idea, that sounds great to you, might go-over with your target audience. The great thing is that with the help of the internet you can see if others in your industry, or maybe even your local competition, are promoting that strategy.
Get Your PI Hat On
You can use your favorite search engine to gather competition information on several topics:
- Domain names chosen (URL’s – http://www.ThisIsTheDomainName.com)
- Keywords websites are targeting
- Ideas on website design
- Content that is getting attention (and not)
- Strategies for marketing
- Social network strategies
The information you gather from seeing what others are doing is a great starting point to creating your own website or campaign. We are not talking about copying what others have done, we’re talking about capturing the the concept and putting your own spin on it – making it yours!
You have probably shopped for many items on the internet and in that process came across two or more sites that advertised the same exact item in completely different ways. These differences in approach are great details to make note of for later.
In The Future…
When you find yourself shopping and researching start paying attention to the different layouts, verbiage, colors, etc.
Start thinking about what draws you to an advertisement and also make note of the ads that are ho-hum.
Now Go Do Some Investigating
Go to the website of your major competition and think about what you like and don’t like. What colors are they using? Is the website easy to read and navigate? What are the articles about and what other content do they have.
Another item to note is, are they involved in any type of social media – Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, etc.
OK we will stop here, I wanted today’s homework for your online business plan to be more fun and give you a chance to play “Internet PI”.
To recap, get your pad and your favorite pen and start making some general observations on your competition.
Make notes on:
- Domain names – www.WhatDidTheyChooseForTheirName.com
- Is the website easy to read – the type (font) is “easy” on your eyes
- Website design – do they use pictures, is it too busy, does it scare you away
- Can you move through the website easily – go from page to page to find information
- Colors used – does the website use dark colors, lighter colors, what colors, etc.
- Verbiage – do their words make you want to take some action
- Social media associations – Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, etc.
All of these items will help you build a website that you will be proud of and one that will be a resource for your target market.
As before, if you have any comments, questions, or good-natured tidbits, share them below.
Next time, we are going to start putting your online business plan together.