In today’s digital age, finding out all about your competitors has never been easier. With just a few clicks you can see who they are, how they are advertising and in some cases, even how much they are making online. The trick to gaining that edge online is to utilize this easy access of competitor information to your own company’s advantage.

Identify Your Competitors

The first thing to do is discover who it is that you are actually competing against. Online it not as simple as simply competing to get customers through your door, you need to consider search engine results, advertising banners and any other form of marketing techniques you are employing online.

A great tool for identifying the active players in your market is Google Alerts. The software will alert you whenever it discovers new content about a select group of keywords, meaning you can stay up to date with who is marketing in your industry or sector.

Dig A Little Deeper

Once you have identified who you believe to be your biggest rivals online it is time to delve into more detail about their companies and customers.

Another handy tool (also from Google) is the DoubleClick Ad Planner, which allows you to uncover the demographic of users visiting the websites of your competitors. In addition, you can see the types of website your potential customers are visiting, allowing you to place your marketing campaigns accordingly.

In terms of discovering how much your competitors are actually making, the internet has also made this much easier too.

A large percentage of firms use affiliate marketing, where other sites direct traffic towards the company’s in order for commission on any revenue they generate. In order to attract new affiliates, your competitors need to publish their commission rates along with estimates of how much the affiliates can expect to earn. Combing this data with the information you uncovered about their customers, you can gain a pretty good idea of the kind of money your competitors are making annually.

Structure Your Own Campaign

Once all this is completed, it is time to structure your own business’ campaign. Often, firms turn to marketing companies for professional advice on online marketing strategy and for small businesses this can often help them gain the edge.

Make sure you budget carefully for the amount your business can afford to spend on its campaign and take time to plan out your expenditure. Again, marketing companies can offer you expert advice on the most effective forms of online marketing and how best to spend your advertising budget.

Author's Bio: 

Chris Jenkinson is a UK based e commerce marketing consultant providing internet marketing and e commerce support to online businesses.