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GuidesMarket researchHow to find competitors of a company (plus 8 tools that can help)

How to find competitors of a company (plus 8 tools that can help)

Last updated

26 July 2023

Author

Dovetail Editorial Team

Reviewed by

Hugh Good

Getting ahead of the competition and growing market share are among the top priorities for companies across all industries. Knowing your "enemy" is key to improving your marketing, sales, conversion, and retention strategy.

By finding and studying your competition, you can gain valuable insight into industry trends, common errors, effective strategies, and much more. To do that, you need to identify your key counterparts.

Let's take a closer look at how to find competitors of a company, including yours, and explore the tools to help you do it effectively.

Why is finding your competitors important?

Knowing your competition is key to finding the right place in any market, industry, or niche. In fact, the entire journey to becoming the industry leader begins with studying your competitors. 

The main reasons why you should be looking at your competition right now include the following:

  • Uniqueness – By analyzing your competition, you can determine what makes you stand out from the crowd. Learning what other companies have to offer can help you come up with a unique value proposition.

  • Strategy – By learning about the competition's strategy, you can find inspiration for improving your own.

  • Capitalizing on mistakes – When you see how your competition makes mistakes, you don't just learn from them. You can find a way to capitalize on this information and enhance your own offer.

  • Lower risk – Risk mitigation is an integral part of any business strategy. Knowing other market players can help you identify and mitigate risks. This is especially important during the market research phase.

  • Opportunities – Studying your competition can help you identify gaps and opportunities in the market. You can find a niche that the competition has missed.

Some companies make the mistake of believing that they don't have competition. Even a local pastry shop with no other pastry shops within a 10-mile radius has competitors. They compete against supermarkets, delis, coffee shops, and even health food stores.

If a quick search doesn't discover any competition, don't stop. Sooner or later, you will find it. Or at least identify the main reasons why it doesn't exist.

Types of competition

In your search for competition, you need to consider the key competitor types, which include:

Direct competitors

Direct competitors are companies that offer the same or highly similar products and services. If you are a pastry shop, your direct competitor would be a pastry shop around the corner. In the consumer electronics space, Apple and Samsung are direct competitors.

Indirect competitors

Indirect competition sells products or services similar to yours but not as a primary focus of their business. For example, a supermarket sells a wide variety of products, with pastries being only one of them. For a pastry shop, a supermarket is an indirect competitor.

Replacement (substitute) competitors

Replacement competition sells products and services that may be somewhat different from yours. However, these products address the same pain points as yours.

For example, a health food store doesn't sell pastries or any other baked goods. However, it keeps people fed. After visiting a health food store, customers aren't likely to go to a pastry shop.

How to find competitors of a company

While some competitors may be obvious, others require some effort to identify them. You don't need to find all the competition in your niche. However, the more companies you find, the more data you can collect for analytics and decision-making.

Explore search engines

In the digital marketing era, the easiest way to identify your competition is to Google (or Bing) it. All you have to do is type in your main and location keywords and see the top results. The first ten companies on the list are 99% likely to be your top competitors.

Pay attention to the ads above the search results. Even if they differ from the companies below, they are still worth your attention. In short, anyone with real estate on the first page of Google or Bing search will likely be your direct competitor.

Ask your customers

Your customers can have valuable information about all types of competition. They may have researched or tested other products and services before settling with your brand.

By arranging a quick survey, you can gain valuable insight into what competition your audience has been exploring. You can also instruct your sales reps to ask customers which other businesses they were considering before coming to your doorstep.

Conduct market research

When conducting market research and market analysis, you can find other companies that offer similar products and services. You can also receive valuable information about the competition from your sales representatives who encounter them during the sales process.

Once you have a list of these companies, you can take a closer look to identify the type of competition and conduct a comprehensive competitor analysis.

Check social media platforms and forums

If your target audience is active in the digital realm, you can check groups and communities where customers ask for advice. By exploring the replies, you can find out what your audience believes your competition is.

Today, both millennials and Gen Z'rs use social media to shop for products and look for reviews. They will likely ask for advice in groups and forums and make a purchase decision according to reviews.

Browse business directories

If you are looking for local competitors, you can find them in business directories, including Yelp, Google, YellowPages, and others. By entering a type of service or product and location, you don't just gain access to a comprehensive list of competitors. You immediately see reviews that can provide valuable data for competitive analysis.

While searching for your competition, you can gather such information as:

  • Types and variety of products and services they offer

  • Their pricing or pricing strategy 

  • Distribution and delivery methods

  • Marketing tactics

  • Innovation methods

  • Number of employees

This data can be highly helpful for further analytics and offer valuable insight into overlooked market opportunities.

8 tools to help you find the competition

Besides the abovementioned tactics, you can use several tools to help you search for the competition. Many of these instruments are part of your tech stack or available online free of charge.

1. Google Maps

You can use Google Maps to find local competitors. All you have to do is type your products and services coupled with the location and get a list of nearby direct and indirect competitors.

2. SpyFu

SpyFu allows you to determine your online competitors based on how many keywords your domains have in common. When you figure out who ranks for the same set of keywords, you can reveal indirect and substitute competitors.

This tool can also spot new competitors who don't rank well on Google just yet but rely on Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising to gain customers.

3. SimilarWeb

SimilarWeb helps you find websites that compete with yours closely. To do that, this tool analyzes websites for organic and paid search traffic. It can help discover direct, indirect, and substitute competitors online.

4. STAT

STAT analyzes website rankings to help you identify existing and emerging competitors. It can track market leaders and analyze their behavior and strategies over time.

5. Crayon

Crayon identifies your digital competition and tracks changes in these companies' strategies, products, pricing, and other elements you need for high-quality, competitive analysis.

6. SEMrush

SEMrush offers a wide variety of competitive intelligence tools. For example, their Organic Research Competitors report lists all the websites that usually compete with your organic website traffic on the search engine results.

7. Ahrefs

Ahrefs has several tools that can be very useful for competitor research and analytics. It allows you to look at the competition's organic and paid search traffic, identify content gaps, and analyze their backlinks.

8. Meltwater

Meltwater helps you identify the competition by arranging media monitoring and analysis of online news, social media, broadcasts, and other resources. It captures relevant content and conversations that you can use for your competition search and analytics.

Finding and analyzing your competition

Once you learn how to find competitors for your company, you can start identifying and analyzing their strong and weak points. Competitor analysis is an integral part of successful business operations.

While it's especially important during the early stages of business development, this analysis is an ongoing process. Being aware of the competition's actions can help you stay one step ahead at all times.

FAQs

What is a SWOT analysis of competitors?

SWOT analysis of competitors involves assessing your competition's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and trends. It can help you gain insight into their operations and make data-driven decisions about your own strategies.

What are the three Cs in competitive analysis?

The three Cs in the competitive analysis are customer, company, and competition. You analyze all three elements of competitors’ offers to identify marketing, innovation, and development opportunities.

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