How Competitor Analysis can Escalate Your Own Marketing Success

Introduction

Competitor analysis is an important activity that every business should go through if you want to give yourself a better edge with your  marketing strategy.

Do you know what your competitors are doing and who they are targeting? Can you see what’s working well for them?

“Good artists copy; great artists steal.” – Pablo Picasso

You must have a clear understanding of the competitive landscape so you can find your own space. But, there is no need to start from scratch. Your top competitors have probably already done some hard work on  marketing strategy and you don’t need to reinvent the wheel every time you want to create something new. You can “hijack” their success to bring in results for yourself.

Am I saying to plagiarise? Absolutely not, but you can save a lot of time and money by having a good idea of what is working for your competitors, then using that to shape your own marketing strategy.

Let’s look at some benefits of good competitor analysis:

Understand Branding and Messaging

Successful businesses don’t tend to be “me too” operations that try to compete based on the exact same branding and messaging as competitors. Would Sainsbury’s and Tesco work with the same brand strategies? If you want an edge, you need your own, unique messaging designed to appeal to a defined target audience.

Competitor analysis should include assessing the branding and messaging that your competitors use and figuring out what your own, differentiated message will be. Is there a segment that needs your service that is overlooked by your competitors? Is there a way to bring your own brand “voice?”

Examine the primary and secondary headlines your competitors use and the overall “flavour” of their content. What calls to action do they use? What sort of content are they using as lead magnets?
This “high level” analysis of your competitors will help you to set your own tone.

What language, motifs and “flavour” define competitor brands? Photo credit: AJC1 via VisualHunt.com

SEO

Search engine optimisation takes work. Any business that wants to be found online needs to put time into researching and compiling the right combinations of keywords, sufficient density of those keywords, the establishment of backlinks and any of around 197 other ranking factors (Backlinko keeps an updated list here).

The good news is, competitor research can help you to determine how many of these ranking factors are working for your competition. You can profile their keyword use, link building and search rankings. You can also find their best-performing web pages and content in search and analyse why they are doing well.

Who are they linking out to? What sort of information have they included on top web pages?

This can help to give you a jump on your own keyword research, content strategy and ideas for developing your own pages and backlinks.

Content Strategy

Content goes well beyond keywords and SEO – if we all produced content purely for those reasons, it probably wouldn’t work for us. The key to content is that it is geared toward your target customer and provides information of value to them.

That being said, one of the hardest things about content is developing your strategy and generating the topics you’re actually going to write about. This is where competitor analysis can help:

  • Know what your competitors are writing about.
  • See how often they publish and where.
  • Note the levels of engagement they are getting and which content is the most popular.
  • See what the readers of your competitor’s content are saying in comments or reviews. This can provide good material for your own content.
  • Find any key relationships they have with other writers or bloggers.
  • Generate key topics that you should use in your own content strategy.

Again, this is not about plagiarism, but about taking advantage of the hard work that has already been done by competitors to give yourself a kickstart.

One strategy that has gained a following over the last few years is the “skyscraper technique” of producing content. This essentially utilises all of the information that you are finding in your competitor analysis as part of the process, with the following steps:

  1. Find popular content that is already generating a lot of links from other sites.
  2. Create something that is even better.
  3. Reach out to people who have already linked to the similar content and ask them to check out and share your piece.

The idea is that you use what you already know has worked for competitors to create content that has a good chance of working well for your own business.

Paid Advertising

An important part of any  marketing strategy is distribution. There’s a lot of noise online so it’s difficult to get traffic to your  online assets without giving it an extra boost. Paid advertising plays a key role in most content distribution strategies, but it’s another case of researching to find how to use it effectively.

That’s right, competitor analysis can help you save time and potentially a whole lot of money in this area, too. There will be a good reason why they’re targeting certain sets of keywords and have been bidding on them for quite some time – it’s working for them.

You can gain insight into competitor’s campaigns, which gives you a good place to start for your own. Analyse the copy, the keywords used, the channels they use, and an estimate of search volumes for their paid advertising. Shortcut your keyword research to go straight to the profitable keywords.

Social Media Analysis

Social media is another critical channel for online recognition and engaging potential customers. For many businesses, it’s a trial and error process to figure out which social platforms will be the most effective for them and how to use them.

This is another area where you can get a head start through competitor analysis. To begin with, which channels are your competitors using and how much engagement are they getting? If they’re not using certain channels, it may be because they didn’t get results from them.

Competitor analysis can also help you understand conversions your competitors are getting across social media. It can also help you to build a picture of the demographics of their fans and followers. It’s a great way to determine a place to start with your own social media.

Photo credit: Rosaura Ochoa via Visualhunt

Technology

How does knowledge of technology use help with your competitor analysis? If you can find what technologies, software and systems your competitors are using, you can build a good picture of how sophisticated their marketing practices are.

What are they using for email nurturing and analytics? Knowing this can give you good insight into what you might need for your own marketing activities.

How Digital Elite can Help

Getting together thorough competitor research in all of the areas listed can provide you exactly what you need to create a structured marketing plan going forward; however, it can take quite some time and effort, including investment in tools and resources. Digital Elite can take all of that off your plate.

We’ll pull together all of the above into a single report for further analysis.

You’ll receive:

  1. A detailed competitor profiling report
  2. A set of recommendations and actions
  3. A session with your lead consultant to discuss the results and ask further questions

Getting Started

We require the following information to perform competitor profiling:

  1. Your website address.
  2. Website addresses for 3 competitors in your industry.
  3. Website addresses for other industry competitors.

Talk to us today about getting started on competitor research, providing you a platform to build an informed marketing strategy.

Stuart Brameld

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