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Who Are You up Against? How to Do Competitive Research the Right Way

When you’re trying to boost your practice, you must be familiar with your competition. You may be familiar with how your brand performs, but do you know how well your competition is doing? Do you even know who your top competitors are?

Other optometry practices in your market set the standard for your business. Staying aware of your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses can help you evaluate where you may be lacking and allow you to gain knowledge to come out on top.

Why is Competitive Research Important?

Gauging the competitive landscape provides your company with invaluable information. You can evaluate your performance compared to some of your top competitors to identify your strengths and weaknesses. Acknowledging your weak points allows you to strategize solutions that can improve your businesses’ performance both online and offline.

Collecting information about rival practices can keep you in-the-loop on what they’re up to. This can help you plan your next move to counter any threat they may present to your company’s success.

Conducting Your Competitive Analysis

Identify Your Top 5 Competitors

Knowing who you’re up against is one of the most critical parts of surveying the competitive landscape. Depending on where you’re located, you could have dozens of rival practices in your local market alone. 

If you need help identifying your competitors, Google can always help. A simple search for your type of practice with your location will populate a list of at least a few of your top competitors.

Analyze & Compare Content

After you’ve pinpointed a few of the best performing practices in your market, you can begin to analyze what they do and how they do it. Take a look at their content to better understand what they’re putting out, what’s working for them, and what isn’t.

Once you’ve gathered a solid base of information on your competitors’ content, you can determine what opportunities you have to outperform them. You can also use this information to make crucial decisions on what type of content you want to create and what you’re confident will work for your business.

The type of content your competitors have is essential, whether it’s blog posts, case studies, videos, or other premium content. The frequency they post, how active they are online, and the topics they discuss also play an important role in their online success. 

With this information, you can customize your content to surpass that of your rivals.

Figure Out How They Rank

How your competitors’ website ranks, in simple terms, basically means how easily they are found on various search engines. The term SEO, “search engine optimization,” was coined to describe this.

Analyzing your competitors’ SEO will give you a good idea of what potential patients will see when they’re looking for eye care professionals in your area. Google’s algorithm is consistently updating to understand search intent better, so you’ll likely have to do a deep dive into what your competitors are putting out and how they’re performing.

You will need to focus on beating them at their own game. A few examples:

  • If your competitors’ posts that outrank you are listing “6 Lifestyle Tips to Prevent Cataracts”, consider putting out an article with 8 tips.
  • If their top-ranking post on keratoconus is a few years old, you may want to outrank it with an up-to-date article.

Please note, some keywords are easier to rank than others. Some markets are oversaturated, which makes ranking more difficult even with a noteworthy post.

Is one of their posts missing important information? Are links broken or out-of-date? When you inspect your competitors’ work under a microscope, you can identify where they may have fallen short and where you can pull ahead.

How Are They Engaging With Their Audience?

Engagement is a huge part of an online presence. Typically engagement is seen primarily on social media through likes, comments, and shares. Understanding how you can make social media work for your practice is imperative in an increasingly digital world.

Take a look at how your competitors are interacting with their audience on social media. Do they have a lot of followers? Do their posts get likes, retweets, or shares?

What kind of content do they feature on their social media? Is it organized and easy to digest? Consider what they’re posting on:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Google My Business
  • Pinterest

Look closely to get a deep understanding of what they are doing. Then, you can figure out how you can do it better!

Apply it to Your Practice

When you’re exploring the market your practice is in, and what type of competition you’re facing, it’s essential to keep a few things in mind.

Keep it Local

Your biggest competition typically practices in your town or city. When you’re researching rival businesses, try to keep your search local. It’s likely any potential patients will search for clinics down the street rather than the next town over.

Identify What Tier of Practice They Are

Optometry clinics vary in size and location. It’s important to rank your practice in comparison to your competition. For example, are they a part of a large chain? Are they affiliated with Wal-Mart or Costco? Are they a small family-owned practice?

These factors play into the level of care they provide, the technology they have, and their diagnostic abilities.

Pricing & Service

When you’re exploring your competition, be sure to identify everything they offer their patients. What services do they provide? How much do they charge? It’s important to note their ‘specialty,’ such as a dry eye clinic or vision therapy. 

When you understand what your competition brings to the table, you can make educated decisions on what services you want to promote and the prices you should charge.

Brands They Carry

Knowing what styles and brands your competition offers is important to understand what type of patients they target. Do they offer high-end brands like Prada or Gucci? Are they more focused on sports-friendly and durable products? Or do they push 2 for 1 deals with affordable styles?

Comparing your product line with your competitors will ensure you stay up-to-date on the latest trends and what is popular in your market.

Promotional Activity

One of the easiest things to monitor is your competitions’ promotional activity. How are they promoting themselves? Do they have a user-friendly website that is easy to navigate? Are they running consistent ads online and externally? How is their social media? Are they regularly engaging with their audience?

Once you’ve run diagnostics on how your competitors are promoting themselves, you can decide how you want to react. You can approach your competition with head-to-head promotions or go in the opposite direction. What is best for your business will always depend on what makes your practice unique.

To Sum it Up

Competitive research is vital to know where you and your business stand in the market. If you need expert marketing advice on what you can do to stand out among the crowd, book a website audit today!

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Trudi Charest
Trudi Charest / Co-Founder

Trudi has spent her career trying to help eye care business owners run a better business. From her early days working in retail optical as an Optician & Corporate Trainer to an award-winning sales rep for Bausch and Lomb, Trudi carried her passion for the industry through to Eye Recommend, eventually breaking off and starting her own ventures.

More articles by Trudi Charest
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