The cool calculation of your competitors weaknesses is easier than ever on a social web.
Had Zuckerberg ignored areas that he felt MySpace guys were doing wrong, or had Twitter founders relinquished the idea of creating ‘the SMS of the internet’, the World Wide Web as we know it might have been very different.
So many successful players in the internet marketing fold reflect the growing importance of competitive marketing analysis. What this information reveals to win on the web has become more crucial than ever.
Healthy competition and rivalry is fast growing into an essential fabric for success in the quickly-changing technology and marketing led businesses. The success mantra has evolved significantly over the last few years, especially when we look at the emergence of many game changers, such as Google, Facebook and Twitter.
This is how the contemporary internet marketing practices changed, and competitive analysis strategies employed traditionally aren’t necessarily as effective today as they were before.
Competition analysis – vital for professional excellence?
Competition stresses better emphasis on perfection in your niche service fold. Success and professional excellence thrive on a hale and hearty competition, which is why knowing and understanding your rivals remains crucial to modern marketing tactics. Further, without a thorough comparison model and perceptive analysis, it is hard to determine whether your marketing strategy is earning great dividends or driving your hard earned marketing budget down the drain.
A vigorous competition watch kills two birds with a single stone – helps with better understanding of rival tactics and opens a window through which you can see your own problem areas. Further, I’m sure you’d agree that knowing where you stand at the moment is highly important.
Still looking for reasons to use competitive analysis in your internet marketing campaigns? Read through the following reasons and find out yourself.
Identify opportunities to serve newly acquired and prospective customers.
Determine size of the market – identify service gaps and areas for self improvement where competition is exploiting at the moment.
Find the tried and tested ways to cater the target market.
Identify and promote your unique value proposition.
Conclude if your marketing and promotions strategies are effective or not.
Knowing where you stand at the moment is very important. Competitive analysis on it.
Discover your rival’s secret success recipe
1. How are they filling the gaps in their service portfolio?
Extrapolate customer engagement signs for success/loss, understanding their campaign tone – peppiness implies confidence, seriousness implies pragmatism and orthodox approach suggests they are afraid to try new things.Look for behavioral patterns – campaign restructuring and changes (too frequently implies campaign failure, while occasional changes imply a campaign is working well.)
2. Investigate their customer acquisition approach
Look for rivals’ social media engagement – how frequently they respond to their clients, are their social media reps doing a decent job or not and subtle indicators of customer acquisition via self promotion. For example – “XYZ celebrates 500+ customers with free $100 worth of consultation/service free of charge.
3. How actively they are using social media and for what purpose?
Social media drives are different as we go from Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ to Instagram or Pinterest. Hence, try to find the purpose behind each one of them along with the common objective.
4. Their unique value proposition
Learn how your rivals are playing the game, so you can beat them at it fairly. The unique value proposition sheds light on the fraction of clients that your rival is fixated on.
5. What to find about your competitor and where?
This is a point where you really need to understand that a local store is not your competitor online if they don’t offer their service via internet. Your competitors based online could be entirely different. Examine new and emerging players in the market. Use tracking tools such as Google Alerts, Talkwalker, Mention, etc.
Evaluate the premise of your rivals – if you share similar ground, look for areas where a certain edge can be established and nurtured.
Competition analysis – How to do it effectively
Taking a sneak peek at competitors requires a little undercover work from the safety of your desk, and we are not talking about corporate espionage or anything. As fellow digital natives, I feel it’d be great idea to share my favorite competitive marketing analysis tools. We love marketing tool compilations, don’t we?
1. Dig their keyword prioritization – Dissect what your rivals are targeting and why. Look for those hidden keyword prioritization patterns and compare with yours. Dig deep and improvise to beat the rival opposition at their game. Keywords can be identified and worked using SEMRush, SuggestMtrx, Ubersuggest or SEOchat, amongst others.
2. Breakdown competition’s rankings – Something very important for in-depth comparison and easy to monitor. My favorite tools for the purpose are Authority labs, SERPs, Positionly, for their comprehensive filters and direct comparison.
3. Monitor their online reputation and visibility on search engines – It gets difficult if the competition works globally and you don’t. Other than that, reputation can be monitored with some brilliant tools like MOZ ToolbarSERP overlay view, OpenSiteExplorer, CognitiveSEO and MajesticSEO, for simple link data analysis and customizable reports.
The 6 step competitive analysis checklist
Avinash Kaushik has a fantastic piece dedicated at web data analysis, which I personally have extrapolated to execute a full-blown competitive analysis mix. Avinash has effortlessly broken down the web data analysis into ten simple steps. I use 6 of them. Here are the steps for analyzing your competition.
Step #1: Visit the website.
Make notes and focus on both good and bad items.
Step #2: How good is the acquisition strategy?
Breakdown and analyze direct, organic, referral and other traffic sources to find what’s working for them and what’s not.
Step #3: What is broken and fixable?
Look for problem areas – low performing landing pages, bounce rates, etc. Here’s another 25 point website usability checklist by Avinash for you.
Step #4: Are they doing content marketing, is it producing results?
Identify and drill down their content strategy. Check what’s attracting social shares and what’s lying unutilized in the bottom fold.
Step #5: What of the marketing budget?
Ideas for marketing budgets can be guessed from your rivals’ paid campaigns, be it Google Adwords or Facebook pay-per-click. Further, a simple comparison with your marketing campaigns would shed light on the campaign budget of your rivals.
Step #6: Unknown variables working in tandem or against business goals?
Search and discover areas that your competitors are exploiting well. It could be a service gap, untapped audience section or anything that is bolstering your rival’s industry footing. Make a note of it and start working at your end.
Importance of monitoring yourself
Gauging performance of your peers is almost as crucial as analyzing your own campaigns. It is important to take the attitude that your competition is analyzing your business and taking ideas from your hard work and that the tables need to be balanced.
Wrapping it up
Without an analytical market analysis, it has become hard to survive the heavy competition, even if your rivals are targeting different locations or niches to you – there is a lot to be learned. Figure out who can pose either stiff opposition to your brand, or teach your brand something, and pay especially close attention to them.
Guest Author: Vibhu Satpaul Currently the head of operations at Search Eccentric, an internet marketing firm which he also co-founded, Vibhu Satpaul is an avid believer of transforming contemporary systems having developed a number of paradigm shifting attributes for new technologies.
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