4 Free Tools to Research (And Crush) Your Funeral CompetitionAugust 7th, 2012
1. Compare your websites with the Wayback Machine
The Wayback Machine is a free tool that has taken snapshots of websites since 1996. Simply enter a website URL into the tool and *POOF* like magic, you can see what your competitor’s website has looked like through the years by browsing through the archive of website snapshots.
By using the Wayback Machine, you can study trends in your competitor’s websites like: how they present their services, how much they charge for services (if they present their pricing), their marketing and social media efforts, and how they design & structure their website. If you think they’re making elements of their website work better than yours, make changes to your funeral home website accordingly.
2. Use Klout to perform a social media competitive analysis
Anyone who uses social media for business knows that it’s not always the ROI (Return on Investment) that measures success, it’s ROI (Return on INFLUENCE). Klout is a free social media tool that helps you measure your influence on all of the social networks on a scale from 1 to 100, and compare it to your competitors. To do this, simply visit the Klout homepage, and then sign in with your business Facebook or Twitter account. Then, type in your competitor’s Twitter handle or Facebook name, and you can compare things like:
- Frequency of posting on social networks and blogs
- What kind of content they’re posting
- Which social networks they’re on (it’s also worth checking to see if they have a blog)
- What topics they’re influential about
Once you finish this competitive analysis, take what’s working for your competitors and even amp up your funeral marketing and social media plan by going above and beyond what your competitors are doing.
3. Go beyond a Google search with Google Alerts
Don’t you wish you could be a fly on the wall, always knowing what your competitors are up to? Thankfully, Google Alerts is the perfect free tool for doing just that. With Google Alerts, you can sign up to receive email notifications every time your search query is mentioned online. To set up a Google Alert, just type in your competitor’s name (or brand name) and modify the settings to decide how often you want to be alerted, how many results you want to get, and what type of results you want (News, blogs, video, discussions or books).
By setting a Google alert, you can find out what new products your competitor has launched, read any new blogs or newsletters they post, check out big news that involves them, etc. It’s recommended that you also set a Google alert for your own company or brand, so you know what conversations are going on about your business online as well.
4. See what their customers are saying on Google Reviews
Writing reviews on the service, quality and pricing of funeral homes is becoming increasingly popular among the families of today. So, it’s likely that you’ll find quality reviews on your competitor’s by simply Googleing their business name.
By reading the reviews of the funeral home below, you gain a few important insights, like how professional they are, how they created a personal connection with the families, and how they go above and beyond expectations with their facilities and their “extra” services. Carefully read your competitor’s reviews, compare them to your own, and ask yourself “Am I offering services of this quality?” If you’re not, it’s a good idea to research new ways you can add value to your services, or make sure your families are always happy with their experience.
What do you do with your findings?
Once you gather all of the information you have on your competitors, organize it into a chart or an excel sheet. By recording and mapping out your findings, you’ll have a visual, “big picture” look at your services in comparison to your competitors. What should you do with that information? Present your findings to your employees, and find out what areas they’re “beating” you in. From there, optimize the area you need improvement in. Just remember, being “worse off” than your competitors isn’t necessarily a bad thing – it’s simply a point in which you begin improving. And it’s the most successful businesses out there who are always looking for ways to improve.
What tools do you use to research your competition? Share your thoughts!