The ancient Chinese wise man, Sun Tzu, once said: ” Know thy enemy  know yourself, and you will never be defeated.” SunTzu was talking about the military battlefield and not the business battlefield. But he would be thrilled with all the information he would find about his enemies on the internet today.

“Competitive intelligence” is big business, but it also costs big money. There are many high-priced consultants who will identify and gather dirt on your competitors. Save your money. Here are 5 ways to gather intelligence on your competition and it won’t cost you a dime. Because as another ancient wise man once said: “A fool and his money are soon parted.”

Google Alerts.

Google Alerts is the best tool to track your competition. It lets you set up alerts every time a word or phrase pops up on a site, blog, or news story that comes up for one of your competitors. Simply go to Google Alerts and type in your competitor’s name and choose the email address where you

want the alert to be sent.  http://www.google.com/alerts

Backlinks on Competitor Websites.

When you analyze your competitor’s backlinks, you get a better idea of where their business is coming from. Competitor backlinking is a good way to understand the types and number of backlinks you need. Learn more about competitor backlinking here:  www.semrush.com

Monitor Movement

The easiest way to learn about your competition is to simply visit their website. Go to their “About Us” page and monitor their job postings. If they just hired a salesperson in another state, they might be expanding to that state. Check out the homepage, News, or Features page. If they are a landscaping company posting information about swimming pools, they might be expanding into the pool business. Plus, you can read and subscribe to their blog for more inside information.

Monitor Social Media

Social Media is a great way to spy on the competition. Platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn can reveal a lot about a business. Twitter is especially good for corporate espionage because it’s where you often hear buzz about something new. Plus, you can learn a lot just from the photographs. A picture’s worth a thousand words when it comes to spying. And with tools like Hootsuite, you can manage multiple social media sites on a dashboard and track specific users to see what’s being said.

SpyFu

Ok, we kinda lied – Spy Fu isn’t free but you can get a free trial and the basic plan is only $9 a month. It’s well worth it if you’re being clobbered by your competition. If you don’t have a lot of time, and you want someone to spy for you, check them out. They essentially do the same thing Google Alerts does – but instead of you doing it, they do it for you.

Every day it gets harder for your business to stand out from the crowd and get ahead of the competition. But with perseverance, a little cloak-and-dagger competitive intelligence, and other online tips like: theemaillistcompany.com/the-importance-of-having-a-good-email-list  you are sure to succeed. 

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