So this week is “Competition Week”.
These three episodes are dedicated to discussing the ins and outs of competition…
…specifically, the 3 types of competition, what they are, how to recognize them and…..what to do about them.
Whether they recognize them or not, there’s 3 types of competition that every entrepreneur and business owner battle from day one…
- Entropic Competition
- Physical Competition – and –
- Present Competition
The prior episode, episode 20 was dedicated to discussing Entropic Competition. Entropic Competition is the reality that life and business naturally erodes life and business.
I explained exactly how the Law of Entropy is constantly at work against us. I provided examples of how the greatest business growth killer may be self sabotage.
This episode, episode 21 is dedicated to the type of competition that the world normally associates with the word competition, that of the physical sense, meaning that if you own a shoe company you probably view your competition as other shoe companies. These are the companies that you compete with in the market place, the ones that have similar booths at similar tradeshows.
My next episode, episode 22 will be on “Present Competition”. “Present” Competition are the competing forces that are present during and after your products buying cycle. It’s been said that sometimes your biggest competitor is the business next store with the larger, fancier outdoor electric sign or the website that’s always outranking you that is not even in your industry.
In the following episode, I’m going to dive into how to notice the competition that is present to your clients but not necessarily present to you.
Lets talk Physical Competition
I remember a day a couple years ago when I called my attorney…
Here’s how it went…”Mike, I can’t believe it. I’m a sucker. We had a couple guys call in pretending to be interested in partnering on a number of websites. They were talking pretty big numbers so I went ahead and even showed them our tax returns thinking it would give them an idea as to how our company was structured.
Mike said, “Ken, I’m confused, why are you calling me?”
Because they weren’t interested in partnering up on a few sites…they just wanted to find out everything they could about us so they could start a company that does a small piece of what we do…to say I was angry was an understatement. I truly felt stupid. I still can’t believe that I exposed myself to people that eventually opened up a company modeled after part of what we do.
They were so bold as to not only try and copy part of our business, they even set up a website that offers products at the exact same price points as ours, and worse, they even used the same paragraphs of text from our website.
Mike calmed me down and asked me a couple questions that I’ve never forgotten.
Ken: prior to this happening would it be fair to say that you were the only game in town?
I said, We still are. They don’t actually do anything close to what we do.
Ken: then why the heck did you call me?
Because now, when people look up our common search terms, this new company also comes up in search. Mike then said, very dramatically, Oooohh, so you are viewing them as competition? I told Mike, there not actually Physical Competition because they don’t stay with the site once its bought, in that way they are more of just a broker, but the world is not going to know that.
Here’s Mike’s response that I’ve never forgotten and I now share this every where I go. Ken, here’s the deal, and you have to trust me on this…up to this point…You have no idea how much business you’ve lost because you guys created this industry and you are the only players. This new company, whether they are any good or not, just helped you in a major way.
No chance I said.
He said, Ken, they just made what you do an actual industry. When one company is doing something it’s viewed as temporary or risky. When other companies start popping up, the view changes from risky to established, safe and even long-term. I think these guys just made you a fortune. Up until a couple years ago I had always viewed competition as Competitive. Today, competition is the anchor diagnostic for every digital footprint we create for every one of our 680 revenue generating websites.
As a matter of fact, we won’t build or buy a website if we can’t find competitive data that we can model or replicate.
In a prior episode, episode 18, I used a video cast to explain how we use two free tools to do competitive diagnostics on our websites. Not only do these tools show you the competitive landscape, they expose the paths to walk down to pass your competition. Having physical competitors is one of the greatest blessings to a business.
Competitors provide vision to a company that previously could not have been seen.
Here’s where this gets fun
Did you know that every start up, from day one, has a 100 million dollar research and development budget.
All of them.
Most don’t know it, but they do.
Would you agree that if we got together to start a hat company this Monday, that this coming Tuesday we could open the tool SemRush.com and type in the phrase “Best Selling Hats” and press enter?
Of course we could.
The information that comes up on that page is literally priceless. Prior to 1995 the biggest companies in the world would pay millions of dollars to aggregate all the data that comes up on that page. That page shows many things, one of which is the top 100 companies that rank for the phrase “Best Selling Hats”. This alone gives the upstart HAT company tremendous information. Would it be interesting to know that of the top 50 companies that rank for “Best Selling Hats”, 15 of those companies are less than two years old. What does that tell us? It tells us that it is clearly possible that an upstart can compete very quickly in this space.
I live by the mantra…if another person can do, I can do it.
Lets go down this rabbit hole for a minute.
If we see a page that shows 50 companies that are making money because they rank for the phrase “Best Selling Hats” should we study the 35 large, historically trenched companies on the list, or the 15 new companies? We should study both actually, but for different reasons.…but if we are starting a brand new company I would split out the 15 new companies and run a digital footprint on exactly how they were able to compete with the larger hat companiesin less than 24 months.
Right away I want to know the following:
Most of what I’m about to mention was displayed in great detail in episode 18.
How many pages of over all content does each site have so far?
How long has it been around?
**When we divide the # of posts into the
# of weeks
we get what is known as “cadence”, ***cadence is the pace or amount of content that comes in weekly or monthly.
Then I want to know…
How many overall links and referring domains are coming in…
This Shows us their “credibility”
(covered in the episode “How Google Rnks)
Finally, we want to know how many social signals they have
This Shows their popularity –
buzzsumo, put top pieces in and add scores
If we do all the above, which is time consuming, we will clearly see the path ahead.
What we do if we were managing your site at income store is the following:
- Average the scores for each of the 15.
- Set goal to Increase the average by 20% to 50%
we don’t get good, we get done,
This is Huge, so I want to repeat it. We screw up EVERY website. We NEVER get them right the first time.
We have to launch something and then let the world tell us what to change. To see evidence that all large companies do this, put your favorite company’s website into archive.org’s wayback machine and then go back every 3 years and look at how they continually respond to the marketing and overhaul their websites CONTINUOUSLY.
So let’s do a mock scenario:
So, if you see from site:____________ that the average of the 15 hat sites has 100 posts, we will build a site with 120 to 150. If we see the average site is adding 2 new pieces of content per week, we will add 3 new pieces per week.
So far, this digital footprint clearly shows us a site build of 150 pieces of content in 2 years, continuing at 3 new pieces per week. We know right now that if we don’t do this, we can’t expect to compete and beat this industry.
Now lets move on to Google’s algorithm…
If we see that after 2 years, the average site has 50 backlinks from 30 different websites, we will go after 75 backlinks from 45 different websites, again, just adding 50% more than the aggregate of the 15 new companies.
Here’s the beauty of competition. If we truly started a hat company, We just let those 15 companies go before us and be our research and development. We let them go into the market place with their hard earned money and do all the trial and error and, not realizing it, they left us a nice map of data points for us to walk along, increase their KPI’s, which are Key Performance Indicators, and literally, pass them like they are standing still.
We’ve used this technique on hundreds of websites. This technique works 100% of the time, here’s why…Google is a program. It’s just software designed to count things. Google’s spiders are sent out every day to crawl every site that regularly adds content. They come into a site and count how many posts there are and how many were recently added.Why they are inside the site they crawl for any new links that are now pointing to the site. They then back crawl those links to find the originating source of the back link. Once they land on the site that was linking to our hat site they add that back link to their scorecard for the website that was crawled, our hat site!
Google is an inanimate object they can’t play favorites. If you have a business that has a website as its front facing brand, which most people do, and your website has more content coming in than its physical neighboring competitors…Google’s going to know that.
If your business deserves to get 50% more mentions than its competitors, Google’s going to know that and record that. If, when the day is over your business has more content, a faster cadence and more mentions or backlinks, you are most likely going to be quickly selling hats with the big boys that have been in the market for 100 years.
Another, Key Digital Footprint that can usually be done for free or nearly free, is to sign up for your physical competitors email list or news letter. Most great companies have some form of online campaign, sometimes multiple campaigns. Larger companies have been schooled on how to engage and romance potential buyers. They put their absolute best, often expensive, research and development into their newsletter. When you sign up for the 5 or 10 largest competitor’s newsletters, I can almost guarantee, that you will also see a trend or pattern. You will notice how often they email, what type of content they email, and most important, how they use their “call to actions”. Romancing a potential customer is often quite expensive if done wrong. I recommend everyone in business today pick anywhere from 3 to 10 competitors and sign up for whatever their free service is, whether it be a weekly email or a monthly newsletter. I recommend that you figure out what software they use to manage it, what the cadence of content seems to be and how often they use a call to action.
Those 3 items can save you a fortune in R&D, and more importantly, if you model the best of them, it helps you get viewed and perceived as a professional, immediately upon entering the market.
That’s it for now… I’m Ken Courtright from Today’s Growth, Growing Business today.
If you were able to gleen any nuggets from this podcast, it would mean a lot to me if you would jump into iTunes on a desktop and throw me a review and subscribe.
Until next time, see you on the trail.