Know thy enemy

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I’m like that teacher you hated who always gave homework. Today is no exception.

The bad news? This will be an ongoing project, something you need to do for the rest of your career.

The good news is that it’s not difficult and shouldn’t take up a lot of time. In fact, most of the assignment can be done by a virtual assistant and I won’t mark you down for cheating.

The assignment is to set up files for tracking the activities of your competition. Doing this will provide you with ideas for doing a better job of managing and marketing your services.

If you can identify firms or individual attorneys who regularly compete with you with ad dollars or at networking events, or elsewhere, start with them. Otherwise, pick someone (at random), in your building or at your networking events, who has the same practice areas you do.

Five or ten competitors is enough to start. Once you have identified them, look at their websites, do a search for their name(s), and see what you can find out:

  • What market(s) do they target?
  • Where do they advertise, network, speak, or publish?
  • What is their theme, message, or USP?
  • What kinds of content do they publish on their website(s) or blog(s)?
  • What do they offer prospects to drive traffic to their sites and/or get them to opt-in?
  • How and where do they use social media?
  • Which centers of influence (referral sources, endorsers, publishers, etc.) do they associate with?
  • What services do they offer? What don’t they offer?
  • Which keywords do they appear to target? Which do they seem to overlook?
  • What resources, talents, and connections do they have that you don’t have or are weaker in?
  • What are their weaknesses?
  • Who are their biggest competitors?
  • How do they manage their practice in terms of personnel, equipment, and workflows?

Read their content, save copies of their ads, and make lists of where they speak or write and about what topics.

Don’t obsess over this. Just observe and make notes.

Then, periodically review your notes and look for opportunities to improve your marketing and management based on what your competition is doing:

  • Identify new target markets or market segments
  • Identify categories of referral sources you don’t currently have in your arsenal
  • Look for ways to improve your marketing messages, content, website(s), and external content (e.g., guest posts, comments, social media posts)
  • Examine your strengths and weaknesses relative to the competition; find ways to make your strengths even stronger and eliminate or marginalize your weaknesses
  • Brainstorm ways to exploit your competition’s weaknesses and overcome their strengths
  • Look for ways to improve your workflows, tools, and resources

Keep an eye on your competition. You may learn something you can use.

Marketing is easier when you know The Formula

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Comments

  1. Michele Ballagh says

    Not sure that I agree with focusing so much effort on what your competition is doing. It can be a sure way of losing focus on your own business. Trying to “keep up” with your competition and, worse yet, copying your competition, will not serve to distinguish you from the competition . It can simply render your firm a “me too” brand. I think a better focus for marketing is to come up with original ideas to promote your firm that are appropriate to your market and match YOUR firm’s goals, values and skills. If you do this consistently, it should drive your competition crazy trying to keep up with YOU!

    • No, don’t focus on them, keep an eye on them. You might see an idea you want to adopt, or behavior you want to avoid. But there’s nothing wrong with “me too,” either. Just make sure you do it better.

      Thanks, Michelle!