They say imitation is the greatest form of flattery. And when it comes to marketing, many small- and mid-sized businesses are all too happy to imitate what their competitors are doing … which means they often wind up copying the mistakes, too.
Copying a marketing idea simply because you see someone else doing it is not a smart way to run a business. Borrowing ideas makes sense. But you need to know they’re winners before moving ahead with something similar. And that calls for some diligent monitoring.
Start systematically monitoring your competitors
Choose five key competitors (maybe even choose a different group each year), then “Like” their Facebook pages, follow their tweets, sign up for their mailings, subscribe to their customer newsletters, and regularly check their websites. In other words, act like an interested customer.
There are also online services that can help:
Sign up with Google.com/Alerts, and you’ll be notified via email whenever something new about a competitor appears on the Internet.
With WhosMailingWhat.com, you can see actual samples of your competitors marketing mailers, marketing email and more.
Use Moat.com to see the ads your competitors are placing on the Internet.
Separating the hits from the misses