A sound business plan and model are the key to success of any business. Be it rolling out new services or revamping the marketing strategy, it is essential to keep an eye on what the competitors are doing and keep pace with them. Industry stalwarts rely on competitor analysis to identify the opportunities, red flags and formulate marketing strategy likewise to get an edge. It is the first step towards developing a business plan.
Competitor Analysis is not about copying your competitor, but understanding their strategy and taking inspiration from them- what has worked for them, why things failed, their strength and weakness. If you want to reach out to your targeted audiences, first you have to know where you stand in the present market scenario and analyzing your competitor is the best way to do so.
So, knowing the competitors is the key. To future-proof your digital marketing efforts, analyzing the competitor is extremely important. It is an effective way of planning your digital marketing campaign based on the best practices that your counterparts have already tried and tested.
How to Analyse Competitors
The success of any business is the result of innovation and various trial and error efforts. However, it is wise to learn from the pitfalls of your competitors than learning from own mistakes as it exhausts both time and resource. Following what works best for your competitor minimizes the scope of any mistake.
But the big question is how to analyse competitors? A strategic approach is important for analyzing your competitors. It includes:
- Identify your competitors – Until a few years back, competitors of brands were restricted to only brick-and-mortar stores, but in the digital world things have changed the perception. Your competitors are the websites that have better ranking, organically, on the search engine with your targeted keywords or have a good follower base on the social media platforms. At the onset, strategize whether to identify competitors based on business service line, targeted customer, online presence or both.
- Determine the areas of analysis – Requirement of every business is unique and the area of emphasize for the competitor analysis might differ. Depending on your marketing strategy, determine the areas that you want to compare. In the context of digital marketing the areas might be page ranking, traffic to the website, keyword, content strategy, social media followers or unique visitors. These areas depend on the overall marketing goal of your brand.
- Create a matrix – Against each of your strategic areas, evaluate the weakness and strength of competitors. There are various metrics that you can use for evaluation, you can opt for the time-tested ones, or customize those as per your need. Also, set the criteria for success- advisable is to set measurable goals.
- Specific metrics for different channels – Nature of each digital marketing channel is different, so it is recommended to use specific metrics for each channel. Value derived from the analysis of the number of followers, likes, new visitors, leads and increase in conversion rate for each channel help in strategizing digital marketing approach.
- Highlight the gaps – The metrics will help you to identify the gaps of the industry and your existing marketing plan and efforts. The success of your brand depends on a great deal to your ability of filling these gaps.
To get an edge, track the competitors regularly. Following this step-by-step approach, you will get a meaningful insight of the marketing strategy of your competitor.
What to look for!
Understanding key factors that determine the success of digital marketing is like the battle half won. Once you have got the answer how to analyse competitors, now enlist the specific factors that you need to look for. As discussed above, concentrate on valuable information that will help you to assess the digital marketing strategy of your competitors.
- Keywords – The most important factor that you need to emphasize is the keyword. Identify the relevant high-value keyword that your competitors have used in their campaign and their ranking. Find the keywords that they use for both paid and organic search.
- Content – Look for the content the competitors have posted on different platforms or those appearing on their website- check the topics covered, relevance and information they deliver. Point out the strength and weakness of your competitor’s content.
- Page Rank – It denotes the performance of competitor’s website organically.
- Unique Visitors – Knowing the count of unique visitors on a daily or monthly basis is important. It will help you in strategizing SEO strategies so that you can get potential traffic to your website.
- Meta Data Optimization – Optimization of the title tag and meta description of the website is a primary reason for improving the Click-through-Rate. So, know the keywords that your competitors have targeted and optimized.
- Inbound Links – To know the link building activity of your competitor, identify domains or websites that are pointing at their websites.
- Indexed Pages – Note how many pages of the websites have been indexed by the search engines. Based on your analysis, form a content strategy as it marks success in the arena of digital marketing.
- Social Media Activities – Identify the unique ways of attracting your target audience on social media networks that are effective for your competitors, frequency and timing of posts. Monitoring the number of followers of your competitors is vital as it proves the efficacy of their digital marketing activities. Another aspect that you need to note is the response time of the competitors to customer complaints.
An insight into the key strategies of best performing competitors will provide you with a competitive edge.
Robust Tools for Competitor Analysis
Competitor analysis is all about comparing data. Use of various time-tested tools will let you identify the areas where your competitors have outranked you. Robust tools deliver results that will help in researching keywords, create content, build links and optimize the social media. There are various paid and free tools to analyze the strategy of competitors.
Search Engine Optimization – The performance of the keywords on search engines is a crucial information for the digital marketers. There are tools that will highlight the ranking of different keywords. Use of long and specific keywords and phrases help in improving the rank of a website and improves traffic to the website. Few time-tested ones are:
Link Popularity – It refers to the incoming or back links to a website. Link popularity is an important factor in SEO as it reflects the domain authority. Search engines now look for the number of backlinks and their quality. A tool will analyze factors that let the competitors outrank your website. Few of these are:
Traffic – Traffic from search engine, bounce rate, visit per page, time spent by visitors on the website are important determinants. Tools generate demographic data that will help in planning your organic and paid digital campaigns. To analyze the traffic, you can rely on:
Social Media – For a wider audience, it is important to reach out to the target audience. Tool will help you to know the followers and fan of the competitors. These will also highlight how active are the competitors on the social media platforms, nature of the content they post and identify the voice. Few effective Free Social Media Tools For Monitoring that will help you to know your competitor better
Different tools will make information handy for the digital marketers or those involved in competitor analysis.
Now, equipped with the tips on competitor analysis, you can improve the position of your brand. Competitor analysis is the cornerstone of the digital marketing planning process. It is the first step of your planning mechanism. So, whether you are planning to explore new markets or want to take your digital campaign to the next level, knowing the actual scenario and extent of competition will prevent you from failing.