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As you start and run your business, one of the most important ways you can improve your offers is to study your competition. But competitor research can be time-consuming. That might not be as big a deal for a giant corporation, but for a mom-and-pop business or a sole proprietor, it’s a lot. You still need to do it because learning about your competition will help you differentiate yourself.

Google Alerts – This is a free and simple way to start your competitor research. Simply set up your Google Alerts to search for product names, content type, search terms, and type of update. Set up separate alerts for each. You can also use Zapier.com to automatically pull the information from email and put your results in a document for you to review when you’re ready.

IFTTT.com – This stands for “if this, then that,” which defines the parameters of a task process. First, you do this. Then you do that, and so forth. You can make these as straightforward or as complicated as you desire.

Zapier.com – This is really just another “if this, then that” option that creates little programs they call zaps to automate a process. For example, you can set up an appellate or a Zap to automatically create documents for you to review later.

Ubotstudio.com – You can set up UBot Studio to do a lot of tasks for you that will amaze you. For example, you can use Ubot to create and manage blogs, open accounts on social networks, post status updates and blog posts, and more. You can even make it upload videos to every single video site on the web with a touch of a button.

Rivaliq.com – Use this platform to audit competitive communications, identify trending topics and content, and even study your competition’s data. Compare your competition’s top content against yours so you can find a way to stand out. You can set up automation that causes your account to follow specific hashtags and even create a report about it. 

Sproutsocial.com – Use this platform to perform a social media competitive analysis. They even provide a free template for your use. Truly understanding your numbers is an important part, and Sprout Social helps you do that.

Semrush.com – This is a fully-featured marketing system more than a platform. You’ll get training and tools to use in all aspects of your marketing, including competition research. Determine what your competition is doing so that you can find gaps in their coverage, which will give you a door to stand out from the competition.

Screaming Frog SEO Spider – This platform can allow you to observe what competitors are doing, who their customers are, and what resources they are investing in. You can find out a lot of information from this bot crawling a competitor’s site, but you can also use it to crawl yours and get advice.

Similarweb.com – This is a great platform to use to search your competitor’s website so that you can learn about trends, gain insight into their traffic so you can learn where to distribute content and information. It gives you a 360-degree view of any company you want to study.

Kompyte.com – This competitor analysis software will capture the changes your competition makes to their website so that you can find out what they’re doing in real-time to attract and please customers. Knowing this gives you insight into what you need to be doing too.

RPA (Robotic Process Automation) – Much of what we’ve mentioned really is already RPA. All RPA involves is training bots to perform the tasks that you used to do manually, such as saving files, wait for and alert you when a specific email comes in, processes orders within a certain monetary perimeter. If you do it on a computer, the bot can do it when programmed.

To choose the right tools to help you research your competitors, figure out what you want to know, and the process involved in determining it. Then you can find the right software to help you make light of the job.

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