Navigating the vast digital landscape and world of competitor analysis can sometimes feel like drinking from a firehose, right? But don’t worry! Whether you’re a seasoned business owner looking to amplify your brand’s online presence or a budding digital marketer eager to make your mark, you’re in the right place. Our goal here is simple: to demystify the world of digital marketing, share the latest tips and tricks, and create a supportive community where we can all learn and grow together.
What is a Competitive Analysis?
When you conduct a competitive/competitor analysis, you’re diving deep into a strategic assessment where you identify and evaluate your main competitors. This helps you understand their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. By doing this, you can pinpoint what makes your product or service stand out in the market.
Here’s how you can typically approach it:
Identifying Your Competitors
You’ll want to look at direct competitors (those offering similar products or services to yours) and indirect competitors (those targeting the same audience or solving the same problem but with different offerings).
Analyzing Competitor Products and Services
Delve into understanding the features, benefits, pricing, and any unique selling points of what your competitors offer.
Market and Advertising Analysis
Observe where and how your competitors market their products. This includes their online presence, social media activity, and advertising strategies.
Identifying Strengths and Weaknesses
Try to pinpoint what your competitors excel at and where they might be falling short. This gives you insights into potential market gaps you can tap into.
Spotting Opportunities and Threats
Keep an eye out for external factors that could either benefit or harm your business. For example, if a competitor faces negative publicity, it might be a chance for you to attract some of their customers.
Reviewing Competitor Content and SEO Strategy
Study the type of content your competitors produce, the keywords they’re targeting, and their overall online visibility. This helps you refine your own content and SEO approach.
Assessing Customer Reviews and Feedback
Pay close attention to what customers are saying about your competitors. This gives you insights into what’s working for them and where there might be room for improvement.
By doing a competitive analysis, your ultimate goal is to craft strategies that give you an edge in the market. Understanding your competitors means you can position yourself better, meet your target audience’s needs more effectively, and anticipate challenges that might come your way.
How do I find my competitors?
You might think you already know who your competitors are, and you might be right—to an extent. Many business owners have a gut feeling about their main rivals, but the digital age has expanded the playing field in unexpected ways. Relying solely on intuition or offline observations can lead to blind spots. Here’s why it’s essential to dive into online research and how to go about it:
- Start with a Simple Google Search: Enter keywords related to your business or industry. The companies that appear on the first page, especially in the top spots, are likely your primary online competitors.
- Use Keyword Research Tools: Platforms like SEMrush, Ahrefs, or Ubersuggest can show you which companies rank for the same keywords as you. They might be competitors you hadn’t considered.
- Check Social Media: Search for hashtags or keywords related to your industry on platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. See which businesses are active, engaging with customers, or running ads.
- Analyze Online Directories and Marketplaces: If you’re a local business, platforms like Yelp or TripAdvisor can be goldmines. For e-commerce businesses, Amazon, eBay, or niche marketplaces might reveal competitors.
- Review Industry Blogs and Publications: Which companies are getting featured or mentioned? These can give insights into who’s making waves in your industry.
- Ask Your Customers: Sometimes, the most direct approach is the best. Ask your customers about other products or services they considered before choosing yours. Their answers might surprise you!
- Attend Industry Conferences or Webinars: Even in the digital age, networking remains invaluable. By attending these events, you can learn about emerging players in your industry.
- Use Competitive Analysis Tools: Platforms like SimilarWeb or BuiltWith can provide insights into competitors’ online strategies, technologies they use, and more.
- Check the local results (Google Business Profile): If you’re trying to find local competitors, one of the easiest ways of doing this is by searching your service “near me” or “**location**.” Review which profiles are coming up #1 in the local results pack. Remember that these results, especially “near me” queries, are shown based on proximity for the most part, so it’s dependent upon what location you’re doing your research in.
Remember, while you might have a good idea of who your competitors are based on offline observations, the online world can reveal a broader competitive landscape. It’s essential to regularly review online information to ensure you have a comprehensive understanding of your market and can adapt to emerging threats and opportunities.
I’ve identified my competitors… now what?
Great! Identifying your competitors is a significant first step. Now, it’s time to dive deeper and analyze them to gain insights that can inform your business strategies. Here’s a roadmap on what to do next:
- Conduct a SWOT Analysis: For each competitor, identify their Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. This will give you a clear picture of where they excel and where they might be vulnerable.
- Analyze Their Offerings: Examine their products or services closely. What features do they offer? How do they price them? Are there any gaps or unmet needs that you can capitalize on?
- Evaluate Their Website and User Experience (UX): How user-friendly is their website? Is it mobile-optimized? How do they structure their content, and what kind of call-to-actions (CTAs) do they use? Is the customer journey on your competitor’s website easy to navigate? In what ways can it be improved?
- Study Their Content Strategy: What type of content do they produce? How often? Which topics do they cover, and which ones do they ignore? This can give you ideas for your content and areas where you can differentiate.
- Assess Their SEO Performance: Using tools like SEMrush or Ahrefs, you can see which keywords they rank for, the quality of their backlinks, and their overall online visibility.
- Examine Their Social Media Presence: Which platforms are they active on? How do they engage with their audience? What’s their posting frequency, and what kind of content do they share?
- Review Their Advertising Efforts: If possible, find out where they’re advertising, how much they’re spending, and what kind of ads they’re running. Tools like SpyFu or AdBeat can help with this.
- Gather Customer Feedback: Look at reviews, testimonials, and feedback about your competitors. What are customers praising or complaining about? This can reveal opportunities for your business. If your competitors all have 100+ reviews and you only have a handful, this may be a good place to start.
- Identify Their Unique Value Proposition (UVP): What sets them apart? Understanding this can help you refine your UVP or identify areas where you can outshine them.
- Monitor Their Pricing Strategy: Are they positioned as a premium or budget option? How often do they offer discounts or promotions? This can inform your own pricing decisions.
- Stay Updated: The business landscape can change rapidly. Set up tools like Google Alerts for competitor names or industry keywords to stay informed about any significant moves they make.
- Synthesize and Strategize: After gathering all this information, sit down and analyze it. Identify areas where you can improve, opportunities you can seize, and strategies you can adopt to outperform your competitors.
How do I audit a competitor’s website?
Start by setting up a central hub for your findings, like a spreadsheet. This will be the foundation upon which you’ll build your analysis. In this spreadsheet, you’ll want to capture the basics: the competitor’s business name, their primary web address, and their average ratings from platforms like Google Business Profile, Yelp, Facebook, and any industry-specific directories. These ratings can offer a quick snapshot of their public perception.
- Average rating (reviews) (i.e., GBP, Yelp, Facebook, directories)
- Google Ads? (y/n)
- SEO? (y/n) (i.e., meta titles, descriptions, optimized landing pages for keywords)
- Social media pages
- Social media ads? (y/n)
- Google Business Profile? (y/n)
- Blog? (y/n)
- Customer service (Chatbots, etc)
- Page Speed (utilize Google’s page speed tools and make a note of the mobile/desktop numbers)
Next, delve into their digital marketing strategies. Are they running Google Ads? This could indicate which keywords or services they’re prioritizing. Similarly, glancing at their meta titles, descriptions, and keyword-optimized landing pages can provide a peek into their SEO approach.
Social media is another crucial frontier. List out all the platforms they’re active on and note if they’re running ads on any of them. An active Google Business Profile can also be a goldmine of information, from posts to customer interactions.
Content is king in the digital realm. So, check if they maintain a blog. But don’t stop there; dive into the quality, relevance, and frequency of their posts. This can give you insights into their content strategy and audience engagement.
As you navigate their website, pay attention to the user experience. Is the site intuitive? Are there any broken links or pages that don’t load correctly? Tools like Google’s PageSpeed Insights can also help you gauge their site’s performance, giving you an idea of their mobile and desktop optimization.
Don’t forget to look at their backlink profile using tools like Ahrefs or SEMrush. This can shed light on their website’s authority and the kind of sites linking back to them.
Lastly, immerse yourself in their conversion strategy. How do they guide a casual visitor toward taking action? Look for elements like CTAs, pop-ups, and lead magnets. If they have a newsletter, consider signing up. This will give you a firsthand look at their email marketing approach, from content to design.
Once you’ve gathered all this information, take a moment to synthesize your findings. Look for patterns, strengths, and potential areas of improvement. Remember, the goal isn’t to mimic your competitors but to understand them, find gaps, and determine how to differentiate your brand in the market.
Bottom Line of Competitor Analysis
Navigating the world of digital marketing can be overwhelming, but you’re on the right track. This guide has given you the tools to understand and analyze your competitors effectively. Whether you’re an experienced business owner or a new digital marketer, it’s essential to keep learning and adapting to the ever-changing online landscape. By completing a competitor analysis, you’re better equipped to make smart decisions for your business. With the knowledge you’ve gained, you’re ready to take on the digital world and make your mark. Keep going, and success will follow!