A vital component of effective market research for your health and wellness business is researching your competition.
Whether it is a product or service they are looking for, most of your potential clients will shop around. If you’ve caught their attention, they will likely consider you alongside several other options, where you hope you will secure the business of the maximum number of clients and customers possible within your target market.
While there is an entire suite of strategies for how to create and execute a marketing plan for your business, when you know what coaching options your potential clients are stacking you up against, you can create a marketing plan and build services that will communicate how and why you are better than the rest.
Besides browsing their websites, how do you learn all you can about your competition? Here are seven ways to learn about your competition so you can identify and capitalize on your competitive advantage.
7 Tips for Researching Your Competition (Including Finding Out What They Are Charging)
Follow Them on Social Media
Social media channels are an incredibly useful way to access information about your competition, from what services they are offering to how they are interacting with potential clients. You can also see how people react to posts so you can get a sense of the type of questions being asked, testimonials and experiences, and general impressions from followers.
By paying close attention to your competition’s social media presence, you gain a better understanding of what isn’t working for your competition and how you might improve your coaching service offerings and marketing strategy.
Do Secret Shopping
What is a low-cost and easy way to learn about your competitor’s products, services, and prices? Do some secret shopping. Act like any other lead and navigate through the pages, request information, and download brochures and PDFs.
Secret shopping is also a great tool to make note of the user experience. While you are a secret shopper, take note of how you feel you are spoken to, how easy it was to access the information, and if and how your competition communicates how they meet the target audience’s needs.
If you have more than a few competitors you are tracking, you can use a spreadsheet to create a competitive panorama. With this information, you can start a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats).
Set Up Google Alerts
Google alerts are a useful way to keep tabs on the competition and even learn about competitors you didn’t know you had. Create Google Alerts for your competitor’s brand name or founder’s name. Additionally, you can sign up for general industry alerts (like “postpartum health coaching”) to identify key opinion leaders, new brand mentions, and more.
Pay Attention to Ads
Thanks to the science of “cookies,” once you navigate through your competitor’s website and social media pages, there is a good chance you’ll be targeted for any related ads in the future. While those sidebar ads and ads in your email inbox can be annoying, they can also be very informative. If any of your clients have invested in web-based ads, then there is a good chance you’ll be receiving news from them often.
Rather than closing ad pop-ups and Facebook ads, take note of, and even click into, ads for competing coaching and wellness services. You’ll learn about what they are promoting, the offers they are running, and how they are setting themselves apart from their competition (yes, including you).
Consider how your brand would take advantage of the space, what sort of promotions you would run, and how you would set yourself apart from the competition.
Sign Up for Your Competition’s Email List
Want your competition’s information to come to you? Sign up for their email list. You’ll find out along with their followers about deals, new services, pricing, and marketing tactics. You can also learn about format and voice and what they are using the email platform for.
Use Competitor Analysis Tools
This is the closest you can get to spying on your competition in the digital world. As digital marketing became increasingly important, entrepreneurs and tech wizards developed tools that “listen” to digital goings-on related to a specific topic of interest, public figure, or business.
Some popular competitive analysis tools include:
- Sprout Social: A tool that taps into publicly available conversations on social media to get a better understanding of how people feel about your competitors.
- Phlanx: If social media is an important marketing channel for your competitors, Phlanx is a helpful tool. It helps to calculate the engagement of your competitors’ social media accounts, including Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, Twitch, Twitter, and TikTok. You can also track brand mentions.
- SEMRush: Among SEMRush’s suite of features, the competitor analysis tool allows you to track backlinks to competitors’ websites, see how much of their engagements were organic or paid, and even provides a map to help you understand how your competition ranks for keywords.
- Owletter: Owletter is one of the only tools out there that lets you in on your competitors’ email marketing strategy. All you need to do is tell Owletter which websites you’d like to track and get access to every email they send and even how often they get sent to spam.
Want more? Neil Patel suggests a wide variety of other tools to keep track of your competition.
Keep a Tab on Traditional Marketing Channels
Most marketing strategies include a vital digital component. In fact, many businesses have abandoned traditional marketing altogether. However, depending on where you live and your competition’s understanding of the target market, you might find that your competition has turned to traditional marketing tactics to capture clients.
Some traditional marketing tactics may include:
- Radio and TV ads
- Fliers and posters at gyms, clinics, and wellness shops
- Advertising on public transportation
- Direct mailings
- Newspaper and magazine ads
It is harder to keep tabs on your competition’s traditional marketing tactics than for digital marketing tactics (no hashtags or search boxes here!). Ask your friends and family to keep their eyes peeled for marketing materials or ads for health and fitness to send to you.
How to Calculate Your Pricing
Recently graduated coaches often ask AFPA what they should be charging for their services. Unfortunately, there isn’t a clear-cut answer to that question. However, we have developed a seven-step technique for confidently setting your coaching rates without the worry of losing money.
In case you want to get the gist of the strategy before heading over to read that article, we’ve summarized how to calculate your minimum hourly rate here:
- Calculate your business expenses.
- Set your ideal hourly income.
- Set your profit goals.
- Set a sales goal.
- Divide your sales goal by the number of hours you plan to work.
- Calculate the time investment for all of your services.
- Determine the minimum number of clients you’ll need to secure per service you offer.
Your hourly rate or the cost for your services may increase depending on your target audience, your geographic area, the nature of your services, and the competition.
Read Know Your Worth: How to Confidently Set Your Coaching Rates for more detailed information on how to set your coaching rates.
How Do You Want to Compete?
Most marketing experts agree that there are three ways you can compete in the same market: price, quality, and differentiation.
When you compete based on price, you have a very similar coaching service to the competition, but you are aiming to attract clients based on a lower base price or regular deals for individual services or service packages.
When you compete based on the quality of your services, the price may be higher than the competition for a comparable service, but you are confident that the one you offer is of higher quality. In the coaching world, a higher quality service may be related to your experience, studies, or methodology.
Competing on differentiation is a way to set yourself apart from your competitors so that clients feel like there is no real comparison. Your marketing strategy focuses on what makes your coaching services unlike the rest and, ultimately, how that difference is better for your clients.
Learning about your competition’s brand, communications, products, pricing, and marketing strategy is an important component of any market research strategy. Not only can you learn about the possibilities, but you can also feel more confident as you build and offer your services in the coaching market.
The market is constantly changing, so keeping tabs on the competition is just as vital while you are actively offering your services in the market as it is to do your research prior to your service launch.