In an economic down-turn where budgets and margins are tight, it's vital to capitalize on your offerings and keep an eye out on what the competition is doing. Thanks in large-part to the Internet, we have an abundance of tools to help us learn more about our competitors. Many of these tools* are free, and very simple to use. Here's a list of our favorite ones:
Competitor Websites: Okay, so this isn't a tool so much as a common sense business practice. Always check out your competitors' news, PR sections, product releases, white papers, etc. You'll be amazed at what you can learn.
Google Alerts: Yes, this is a tool, and it happens to be one of our favorites. You don't need a Google account to set this up, and within minutes, you'll be able to start tracking pretty much anything Google indexes about your competitors.
Spyfu.com: This is a cool, simple site that provides information about your competitors' keyword and PPC campaigns. Oh, and it's free.
Social Networks: Follow your competitors on the different social media platforms they use. This is a quick and easy way to see what they're up to on a regular basis. You should also sign up for their enewsletters, if possible.
Given all of these recommended practices and tools, I'd imagine our competitors are probably reading this post right now. However, at the end of day, if you have a great offering and top level service, your rivals shouldn't be able to compete with you anyway, no matter what they read.
*Evolve Creative Group is not affiliated with any of the websites or tools mentioned above. We receive no kickbacks for referrals. We just enjoy helping others navigate the online channel.