ForRent.com - Know Your CompetitionNo matter which industry you’re in, there will always be competition – and it’s a good idea to stay in tune with what other brands are doing. After all, you may be vying for the same customers, so you’ll want to know how to differentiate your brand in the eyes of renters. Here are a few ways you can keep a pulse on the industry:

Google Alerts. It’s one of the best ways to monitor competitors – all you need to do is list all keywords relevant to the industry, and also the names of competitors in your area. By saving these keywords to Google Alerts, you have the option to receive news, web articles, press releases, and more for all results or top results for each word. Additionally, you can choose how frequently you’d like to receive notifications via email. Learn more about Google Alerts.

Social Channels. With so many brands using social media, it’s a no-brainer to scope them out on Facebook, Twitter, and the like. See what they’re saying, check out what types of content are receiving high levels of engagement, and make a note of the campaigns they are conducting. Utilize a Reputation Management tool to listen in to what people are saying and understand your share of the voice among your competitors online. It’s also valuable to tune in to the professional side of a business, so browse LinkedIn to check out company pages, groups, and even profiles of employees. You can learn a lot about their company initiatives through press releases, upcoming events, and content they are sharing, and understand how to adjust your marketing tactics appropriately.

Websites. Because of the power of the Internet and the search preferences of consumers, having a strong web presence is critical to a brand’s success. With that said, it’s valuable for you to regularly visit your competitors’ websites to see what they’re doing and strategize about what your company can do better online. After all, you don’t want to just be another option for customers, you want to be the ‘go-to’ option! Check out the Hubspot Website Grader to compare your website to your competitors’ sites.

Mailings & Communications. Another easy, yet useful, way to keep an eye on your competitors is by checking out what types of things they are sending out via email. While not every brand publishes an email newsletter, it’s a good idea to subscribe to those that do. It’s not recommended to copy another company’s content; however, you can often find unique angles of inspiration through the ideas of others and stay in the know about specials, promotions, and more.

Advertising. A critical aspect of any marketing plan, advertising is quickly approaching a digital revolution and taking on additional forms. Keep tabs on your competitors’ efforts online, on social channels, and in trade publications, among other places. It’s also valuable to keep a watchful eye or ear out for ads that might pop up in mainstream publications, on television, on the web, and even the radio.

This ‘investigative’ work can help you see what is working for other brands and the ways in which they draw in prospective customers and generate sales. You can learn a lot about the preferences of consumers by researching how they are interacting with other brands. Be sure to keep an even closer eye on how they are interacting with your own brand, so you can observe what is working and what might need some improvement!