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  Article # 12
  What if Sun-Tzu had an Internet connection?
  by: Rick Costello, The Web Site Profit Doctor.


Over 2,500 years ago, Sun-Tzu wrote, "Know the enemy and know yourself; in a hundred battles you will never be in peril."

Now this Chinese General was no dummy and the Art of War isn't required business reading by accident. The Western business world has learned that if you must engage in market share battle, you better know yourself and with whom you're battling. If not, you're going to be in big trouble.

Ok, before you say "duh," fast forward...

What if Sun-Tzu had an Internet connection? And each enemy had battle plans, brigade profiles and landscape blueprints posted on their Web site? Sun-Tzu would have gathered incredible amounts of competitive intelligence from the comfort of his corner-stoned office.

To alter history, the last chapter of his book would have read something like "Don't bother sending a local, living, internal or double spy - that's foolish. Instead, send George to their Web site and have a report on my lectern by sundown."

Here's my point...

Second to email, locating a product or service online is the most popular Internet activity. Competing Web sites are grouped, ranked and listed together on almost every industry portal, search engine and directory. And unless your profit margins are on steroids and sales improve exponentially month to month, you must be cognizant of your competitor's online strategies. The more you know, the better prepared you are for battle.

Do a search for any product or service on any search engine and you'll find hundreds -- maybe thousands of competing businesses.

Assuming each brand is unknown, the fastest loading, most engaging, relevant and user-centric Web site will win the chance to service that potential customer.

And here's why...

Never before, could a consumer compare, interact and evaluate competing businesses within minutes. If your Web site doesn't engage and service visitors quickly, they're soon to be inside a competitor's site -- and it only requires two mouse clicks.

Think about how many times you've done it.

With that being said, check out these intelligence-gathering tips. Evaluate a competitor's:

  • Entry Page Download Time
  • Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
  • Communicated Value
  • Communicated Credibility
  • Voice and Message
  • Value-add Features and Material
  • Customer and Lead Acquisition Tactics
Understand your competitors' business philosophies, value proposition and online marketing tactics. Compare the findings against your own initiatives to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses. Who's stronger and better positioned for market share victory? I hope it's you.