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PUTTING ON YOUR INTERNET SPY GLASSES
Don't be afraid to learn from your enemies, as well as your online competitors. The old saying goes:”Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.” And, that applies even more to online business competitors who can teach you how they get the results you want to get for yourself, without having to dig things up on your own.
Of course, you can't just go up to a competitor and ask them for all their trade secrets. No one in their right mind would ever divulge the secrets to their business success, unless there was something in it for them. However, unlike old-fashioned corporate spying, online business spying does not require that you engage in surveillance training and illegal theft of company records. Instead, you can simply choose to put on your Internet spy glasses and walk the trail that your competitor has left you through many of the same Internet tools that you've used day in and day out, except this time, you will use them to keep tabs on your competitors activities online.
WHAT KIND OF INFORMATION CAN YOU UNCOVER?
It may surprise you to know the types of information you can dig up online on your competitors' businesses. This can range from:
• Demographics Not sure who is the target demographic for your niche? Your competitor knows and that information is also available for you to uncover with just a click of a mouse.
• Popular Keywords If your competitor knows what Google keywords attract traffic and make money, wouldn't you want to know? This is a simple thing with various tools available that can quickly scan pages and let you know what keywords it finds.
• Who Links To Them The value of a website business is established by the number of incoming links and what ranking these links happen to be. There are a number of other variables, but you don't need to know all the details. You just will learn how to find out quickly who is linking to them and then seek to get the same link for your own website.
• What Products They Are Promoting You can find out about the types of products you might want to offer to make money, the same as your competitors. In addition, you can price or package them in a better format to beat your competitor at their own game!
• Where and What Your Competitors Advertise Why try to figure out what places are the best to advertise? Your competitors already know that and tracking this information down online can save you a lot of time in your own advertising campaigns. If you also know what they are advertising, you also know how they're making their money. So, it's both important to know where and what your competitors are advertising.
There is really tons of information you can get on your competitors online, simply because everything done online leaves a trace. Understanding what information is valuable to you, you can customize your market research to include keeping track of the movements of your competitors and then beating them at their own offers and strategies. So, get ready to find out more than you possibly thought you could find out about your competitors. And, best of all, it's perfectly legal.
TARGET YOUR COMPETITOR'S DEMOGRAPHICS
You would think this is really hard to do, but actually it is one of the simplest spy maneuvers online. In the real world, you might have to spend an inordinate amount of time figuring out who buys from your competitors based on the people who visit and the sales they make. Online, it's just a matter of knowing about Quantacast.com, a search engine that quantifies this information, at http://www.quantacast.com .
What kind of information can you get from plugging in your competitor's URL to the quantacast search engine? You can get some great demographic stats on visitors to the site, including:
• Traffic Count This is really important to determine exactly how successful your competitor's site is. If it doesn't attract much traffic, you probably don't want to base your strategies on what they are doing, as they aren't reaping the traffic benefits. But, if they are successful, it gives you a good indication of what type of traffic you can shoot for too.
• Gender The percentage of male to females that visit the site.
• Age Group You can even get a bird's eye view on the percentages of people within specific age groups. This tells you whether they are marketing to an older age group or a younger one.
• Ethnicity You might find out that they are targeting people in an ethnic group that you didn't think of for your own site. If these people are visiting the site, it stands to reason that products that target this demographic will sell better.
• With Or Without Children Amazingly, this is also available on Quantacast.com. This gives you an idea of whether the products are being sold for family reasons or whether your demographic is more the free-wheeling, no children, households.
• Income Level Here is where you find out what kind of income level these visitors represent. Obviously, if the income level is low, your offers have to appeal to them. If they are high, price is not as big a consideration in your offers. Either way, pay close attention to this statistic.
• Education Level If most of the target demographic is not college educated, then you may want to make sure that your copy is geared towards that. If it consists mostly of graduate level people, then you have a very sophisticated audience and you need to keep that in mind, when you publish content, in order to keep them engaged.