By Kristen White

For many authors, the word competitor is distasteful. What does that mean, I wrote the book in my own words, it’s my own story? While this may all be true, the reality is that many authors have had deeply personal experiences that fall into similar categories to other authors. So, when you decide to build a business based on the content in your book, you may find the field is a bit crowded. For example, your stories are unique, but you are coaching on general topics like divorce, grief, stress or health.  

This does not mean you stop moving forward here, instead, it means you must research your market to see if you can get more focused and specific in your offer and your brand. Find your voice in a specific niche and drill deep within this space.  

Finding out about your market and the competitors you face is key to developing a successful business or launch.  It’s not about copying what other do rather it’s about evaluating the landscape and being in tune with opportunities. 

No one succeeds long term with a “me too” or copycat strategy.  Even services or products that are similar have some sort of unique aspect that makes them rise to the top of mind for clients and potential customers. Your true customers will quickly recognize your unique offer.  

If you really want to research your market and determine if you are offering a unique angle to your wares, explore your market using these easy techniques: 

Read trade publications and websites  

Outlets that cover trends for a specific market or industry have their pulse on what is going on in the industry.  They will normally cover what your competitors are doing, exploring trends and downfalls in the market and provide valuable insight that you can use to gauge your own business.    

Visit or shop competition  

Get up close and personal!  Visit a competitor, make a purchase at competitors stores or attend an event they host or sponsor. This is an excellent way to get feedback from people in the room or store, assess why their customers or clients like or dislike the brand and see firsthand what they are doing well that clients/customers praise or complain about.  There is no substitute for real-world experiences in the marketplace. 

Review advertising    

Where competitors advertise tells a lot about who they think their market is and what message would appeal to that market.  Do you want to reach that same demographic or economic category?  If advertising is too expensive for your budget, what can you take away from competitors advertising that you can turn into an advantage? 

Use Google 

Type in your keywords and see who comes up on the first page, second page, and even the third page. Do as many searches as you can think of and write down the results. Visit the websites. Look at the offers, branding, language, and images. This will give you a lot of information about what is attractive to people in your genre.  

Research Trademarks 

Nothing is more frustrating than spending the time, money and energy to create a brand and launch a website, only to get a cease and desist letter from an attorney. Do your homework ahead of time to save thousands of dollars and months of time. Use the website and see if someone is already using your desired words or headlines. Take the necessary steps to secure trademarks and copy write your book and content.  You can use a company like Legal Zoom to help guide you through this process.  

Follow or view social media  

There are so many social platforms out there, evaluate who your competitors are using for awareness and sometimes sales in the marketplace.  Take a peek at your competitors on those platforms.  What are they followers talking about, how many followers do they have, what comments or images get the most “likes” or ‘favorites”?   Go ahead and opt-in. Get “on their list” and see what they are offering. They will also research you, once you are open for business online. All of this information can be used to assist you in your own business.  

A little bit of research goes a long way when determining if you are sending the most effective message about your product or service.  If you want a deeper dive than you can do on your own, you can hire marketing firms or freelance experts to do the research for you.  Either way, understanding your competition and the market through a detailed study of the marketplace will yield higher results you’re your business in the long term. 

Kristen White, creator of Business Beyond Your Book™: Build a 6+ Figure Business Transforming Lives, guides authors to create highly visible, customized, successful online businesses based on the content in their books. As an award-winning business coach, a bestselling author, media personality, filmmaker and host of Mandala available on Amazon Prime Kristen White has guided many on this path to living the Laptop Lifestyle as an author.  Download a copy of her Free Gift, 22 Proven Paths to Make 6+ Figures in 2018 as a Highly Visible Author and Thought Leader. Unlock the insider secrets of other successful millionaire entrepreneurial authors and design your business plan for this year today!