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Why Spying on Your Competitors is Necessary in Business

Updated: Nov 16, 2023

Doing market research before starting your business is always wise, not to discourage you from trying but to figure out before making an investment whether there is merit to your ideas. Instead of feeling discouraged when you realize how many businesses there are in the world – or even just in your state – consider this competition a good thing. This is proof positive that a need exists for your business and they have paying clients.

Women peaking through white blinds.

Now, dig a little deeper into your research and determine how many of these businesses are in your specialty. Again, this is not to discourage you but to encourage you to set yourself apart and create a unique selling point that will attract your ideal clients.

When is Spying Unethical?

Smart business owners should always know what’s happening within their industry as well as locally with their competitors. In many instances, you and your competitors are vying for the same clients, so it’s wise to know who’s doing what to attract those clients.

Market research crosses the line, however, when you copy exactly what your competitors are doing. If a business sends out a direct mail postcard and you copy the text word for word but add your own name to it, that’s copyright infringement and unethical. Is sending out a direct mail postcard a good idea? Sure! But hire your own copywriter and graphic designer to make YOUR postcard unique.

Market research crosses the line, however, when you copy exactly what your competitors are doing.

The same applies to creating your website, sales pages, and signature classes. Always invest in your own business with your own professional copywriters and designers, or you will be known as a copier. Not only does that tarnish your reputation, but it can get your website shut down. Hosting companies do not have a tolerance for plagiarism and unethical behavior. Can you create a class based on the same topic as another coach? Of course, you can. But put a twist on it by adding your own case studies, discuss the topic from a different perspective, or offer another feature that the first coach does not – such as a private Facebook Group – to make it more appealing and unique.

woman taking a picture of a purse in a retail store

Want to use some photos in your advertising? Don’t just copy an image from Google Images! Either take your own photos, hire a photographer, or use royalty-free stock photos. Go one step further and check the licenses at stock photo houses to ensure that you’re using the photo correctly for advertising purposes. In general, stock photos with corporate logos or names are for editorial use only, which means they can be used in a blog post but not an advertisement or endorsement.

Pricing Research

Another very important reason to look at your competitors is to determine what price point your market can handle, but this may require multiple steps. First, check their websites and sales pages. What prices are they charging? What are they offering for that price?

Woman giving a 5-star review on a mobile phone

Next, check their testimonials and social media profiles. What does their community have to say? How active are they on social media? A large number of followers doesn’t mean anything if they are not interacting with them.

Lastly, search for reviews. If people are unhappy with something, they will tell the world about it online, usually more frequently than if they had a wonderful experience.

Again, doing this pricing research is not to copy what a competitor is doing but to determine if your offer is priced accordingly. You will likely have differing ideal clients, which can impact price. If you’re looking for local clients, your location will play a part in determining the price. Pricing in New York City, for example, would be much higher than in a smaller, more rural region of upstate New York.

Want the Secret to Finding Your Ideal Clients’ Struggles?

I’m spilling the beans on 5 easy ways to identify your ideal client’s pain points in my next webinar. These steps are super easy to implement, and you can even delegate some to your virtual assistant. Grab your seat today!

Tracey Lee Davis, ZingPop Social Media

Meet Tracey Lee Davis, the brains behind ZingPop Social Media, a company that helps small business owners become online marketing rockstars! As a social media expert and Certified Partner for Constant Contact, Tracey Lee coaches entrepreneurs on utilizing social media and provides comprehensive management for their email marketing campaigns. Tracey Lee is a popular speaker at associations and business groups, and she's been awarded some pretty cool titles, like one of the Silicon Valley Business Journal's 2022 Silicon Valley Woman of Influence, Alignable's Local Business Person of the Year for San Jose (2018-2023), and a Top 25 U.S. Business Mentor of 2021. Plus, she's a Certified Content Marketing Strategist and the Co-Owner and Vice President of the Women's Networking Alliance. And let's not forget, she has a serious love affair with cheese, popcorn, and comic book movies!

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