The best way to get ahead is to identify the builders you need to beat
When it comes to setting yourself apart from other builders, it’s all about knowing your competition and building a marketing plan around what gives your company a competitive edge. We understand this gets tricky in the building industry, where friendly competition is the norm. We also understand that services offered by building professionals often overlap – and that exploiting your unique position is key to becoming a Louder Builder.
Before you can get to know your competition, you’ll need to identify your competition. This usually involves building a list of five to 10 companies who may be pilfering the projects or workers that should belong to you.
The next step should be analyzing the way you’re promoting your own business, and comparing it to strategies used by your main competitors. We suggest using a two-step approach: qualitative and quantitative research. Qualitative research centers on gathering quality insights from humans, while quantitative research consists of objective data and numbers. The goal is to collect enough of each to recognize the patterns and identify opportunities on which to capitalize.
One of the best places to start your qualitative research is by heading to the websites of each of your competitors. Don’t just concentrate on their project portfolio. Spend a little time studying their messaging, their capabilities, their service offerings, and their partners. Compare what they talk about and make a mental note of what the similarities are across the board.
After learning what you can from your competitors’ websites, you can take things a step further and get your hands on their proposals. While this might seem like a tedious process, it’s actually pretty easy. In fact, whenever government agencies put out a request for proposal (RFP), they’re obligated to release all the information they gather to anyone who submits a request.
Both the website and the proposal are snapshots of how your competitors are promoting themselves to your audience. Put yourself in the shoes of your audience and consider the following questions: What about the makeup and messaging is compelling? What is irrelevant? Does your competitor provide great expertise and make a good case on why they should go with them? Your main goal is to identify the patterns, notice what they aren’t talking about, and claim that as a position you can capitalize on.
You’ll next want to dive into quantitative research, and learn more about how keywords rule the competitive landscape online. Pro tip: Your business name is the first thing a prospective client is going to search online in order to learn more about what you do. Unfortunately, things gets a bit more complicated when you consider more than 5.6 billion searches are submitted to Google alone on a daily basis. If other companies appear higher on the search results list, it’s probably because they’ve set up a paid search plan, otherwise known as PPC (pay per click).
One of the easiest ways to find out where you are currently ranking online is to enter your company’s website address into an online keyword search tool like Moz, SEM Rush, or SpyFu. Each of those services will return a report on how your URL ranks in search results and will identify the most important keywords to utilize in your messaging and content. Those services will also let you know the biggest competitors for those words, aka your competition.
Now that you are armed with the proper data, you’ll want to organize and categorize all the information to formulate patterns, such as how they view customer service or how they use their longevity as a selling point. Once you’ve built patterns of highest concentration, compare your findings and ask yourself the following: What do my audiences really want? What really matters to them? And where are all these competitors missing the opportunity to address them?
The answers to those questions will help you determine your unique position and the true competitive advantage you have over your peers.
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