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I’m a big fan of marketing your business so that you don’t have any competition (see my article about How to Beat the Competition) but we get asked this question a lot.  And honestly, if you don’t know what your competition is up to and how you measure up, your wedding business can be in trouble.

So what do you do to check out the competition…without coming off like a stalker?

5 Ways to Spy Your Competition

1)  Find out what they charge.

The most direct way to find out what your competition is charging is to call them up and ask.  If you’re friendly with the competition (something we greatly encourage) they’ll probably just tell you.

You can also set up a separate email and inquire about their pricing or even call them up as a customer if you’re gutsy.  Or you can pay a service to shop your competition for you.

NOTE:  While I fully support market research, I don’t support wasting other people’s time.  If you send an inquiry, make sure you respond back that you aren’t interested so they don’t follow up unnecessarily.  Remember: treat them the way you would like to be treated.

A less intrusive way to find out what your competitors are charging is to find out the average cost a bride is spending on your services in your market.  The Wedding Report is an invaluable resource for U.S. vendors.

Get statistics from Hitched.uk in the U.K. or from national vendor associations.

2)  “Grade” their website.

Hubspot’s Website Grader is Jeff’s favorite tool.  Simply plug in your competitor’s website along with your own, wait a few minutes and you’ll see a point by point comparison.

Website Grader is a quick, effective tool for analyzing your strengths and weaknesses against the competition, and it even gives you suggestions for improving your score.

3)  Read your competitor’s reviews and Google them.

Go online and Google your competition.  See what real brides are saying about them on Wedding Wire and in the Knot local chat rooms.  Hang out long enough and you might even find a chat room discussion comparing your services!

Of course, that takes TIME.  Just like you can set up a Google Alert to receive instant notification when someone mentions your name or business online, you can do the same for your competition.  Each time Google finds the competing business’ name online, you can set it up to send you an email or add it to your Google Alerts RSS feed.

4)  Scope them out at a bridal show.

Pretty much everything you’ll want to know about your competition’s services is showcased at a bridal show.  Just walk by beforehand and check it out.  Or ask a friend to gather information if you’d rather keep it on the down low.

5)  Survey your brides.

In our post-wedding survey, we ask our couples which other DJs they met with and why they decided to go with us.  While our brides are obviously biased in our favor, it gives us a quick comparison in the eyes of our clients.

We also ask our couples for the services they want that we don’t offer.  This can reveal the products and features your competition may have that you do not.

I love my competitors.  They force us to keep our skills sharp and our marketing sharper; they push us to grow.  Some of our closest competitors have been true friends and allies.

You don’t have to be afraid of the competition.  A little market research will reassure you that you’re on track or correct your course if you’ve gone astray.

What do you do to make sure you keep up with the competition?

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