When seeking to make money online, it’s encouraging how great of a reach you have – web technology gives you the potential of reaching customers in every place on Earth where internet exists. But another thing about the internet is that this reach is just as available to everyone else, and any niche with a bit of earning potential will seem flooded by competitors.

Quantcast

Don’t let this scare you; there’s bit of pie for everyone. Instead, let your competition become one of your greatest assets.

1. Find Out About Their Traffic

  • Tip: http://www.spyfu.com/ is an excellent keyword research tool to spy on your competition, but Alexa Pro also works

Traffic is one of the most difficult mysteries to solve as an online entrepreneur, and one of the great keys to this is to look at where your competitor’s traffic is coming from.

One way to do this is to read their comments. You’ll often find backtracks there when other blogs link to them.

You can also use one of the many competitive link analysis tools out there to get a list of sites that are linking to them. But I don’t recommend blindly setting out to get the same links for the purpose of SEO. Instead, go to those sites and analyze the relationship they have with that site.

Why are they being talked about there? What type of site is it and what is the link based on?

Finally, if the site is big enough (and it’s always best to analyze the big winners), find out more about their traffic demographics at Quantcast.com. This may give you insights into the the readership and point out areas where your assumptions were off.

2. Reverse-Engineer Their Business Model

One of the most effective ways to replicate the success of winners is to learn to reverse-engineer what they’re doing. You do this not by copying them completely but by approaching their business model like a scholar.

Analyze their traffic, like mentioned above. Read all of their articles. Buy their products to get a sense of the product itself, their method of delivery, and their follow-up marketing. Study their atmosphere and website layout. Get on their list and analyze their entire email sequence.

Be fanatical about figuring out what they’re doing and trying to guess why it works.

Once you grasp that you can begin to see how you too can dominate in the niche and create a valuable campaign that will connect with the audience.

3. Do What They’re Not Doing

When you’re doing the above, you should also look for ways to do something that this successful company is not. Are there things they are missing? Ways they’re dropping the ball? Customers that are complaining? Market segments they’re completely ignoring?

If you can reverse-engineer their success yet do so in a way that sets you apart or picks up their slack, you can really carve out a corner of the market for yourself.

4. Buddy Up With Them

As they say, “If you can’t beat em’, join em’.” The best companies know there’s room in most industries for more than one winner, so how can you connect with this company to work together?

Is there a way you can market on their site, thus sharing some of their customers? Do they take guest posts on their blog? Can you do a joint product? Don’t be afraid to get in touch and introduce yourself or any ideas you have that may benefit you both.

Have you found ways to successfully leverage your competition on the way to profits? Tell us your story in the comments below.