Talking about your competitors is not usually fun. It can be vulnerable, potentially emotional, and just kind of depressing.
In the behavioral health industry in particular, there's another layer of awkwardness: "Competitor" sounds like a dirty word in the tight-knit community of recovery. Aren't we all just trying to help people?
That's why keeping an eye on your competitors is so important: Taking the time to identify and learn from other businesses operating in your space will help you grow better and help more people in the long run.
You probably have a general idea of who your main competitors are, but check whether reality matches intuition by following this exercise.
1. Make a list of the core products or services you offer.
2. Search for others who offer those products as if you were a consumer. Hit up Google, Yelp, and social media to see who is reaching your customer. You might even want to do some word-of-mouth research by asking friends and family.
3. List up to five businesses for each product or service on your original sheet.
4. Rule out anyone who doesn't operate in the same geographic area as you (unless you have plans to expand).
5. Then, complete a deep dive on each of your main competitors in the following areas:
- Read their reviews online. What are they doing to please or upset their clients?
- Take a look at their marketing online. How is their web presence? What are they doing right? Are they offering services or promotions that you might try?
- Sign up to get their marketing emails or newsletters, so you can learn about how they nurture potential leads.
- Try secret shopping, if appropriate. You might want to request information from one of your competitors as a "customer," to see how their sales funnel is structured.
- Ask friends in the behavioral health industry what types of marketing are working for them.
- Compare yourself to your competitors using a SWOT analysis.
You can use what you uncover to make strategic shifts to your business that will help you grow, ultimately helping more people.