In any business, it is vital that you identify your competitors, especially those that are fighting for the same local market as you. Although you can't come right out and ask the owner what they are doing, you can take a really close look at their email marketing activities.
Perhaps the most important thing you should do is figure out exactly “how” they are getting people to opt-in to their email list. Do they have a great giveaway in exchange for email addresses? If so, what are they giving away? Giving away something of value – such as a special coupon offer or free report – has proven to work extremely well for getting opt-ins. It is important that you also opt-in to their mailing list yourself. This is not unethical; it is just an important part of doing your competitive research.
By opting into their lists, you will be able to see exactly what type of email messages they are sending out to their subscribers. Pay close attention to the process once you opt-in: Did you receive an immediate email after you opted-in? If so, what was in that email? When did you receive the next email? What was in that email? Also take note of the type of offers they send out, their subject lines, and how their emails are laid out.
Of course, the idea is NOT to get into their funnel just to copy what they are doing. In fact, many of your competitors could be doing things all wrong. So you definitely should not copy what they are doing. The idea is to see how it flows as well as what they are offering, which will help you build an even stronger and more effective email marketing campaign.
Competition research is more than just a way to see what your competitors are doing; it is a great way to help you create strategies that will keep your local customers coming back to you instead of them.