There is a lot of talk about driving customer experiences in digital marketing as a way to generate sales and revenues. However, in the blizzard of customer strategies, one does tend to lose sight of one vital factor and that is the competition. It could be behind you. It could be in front of you. It is the blind spot that could deliver a sucker punch. Therefore, keep a keen eye on your competitor and carry out competitor analysis on an ongoing basis as part of your digital marketing campaigns to obtain better and greater ROIs.
What is competitor analysis?
Competitor analysis should be a cornerstone of your digital marketing strategy. It involves finding out who are competitors of your clients and all details about their online activities as well as products and market position. You then go into details of identifying their strengths and weaknesses.
Competitor analysis in the digital world means finding out what keywords they rank for, countries where they operate, their social media presence, and the impact their activities have on your client’s position. The effective analysis could see a jump of 150% in ROIs.
Why competitor analysis is indispensable
Suppose you create a digital marketing strategy solely based on your client’s products and target customers. In that case, you will proceed based on some data and some assumptions but you do not know what your client’s competitors are up to and their position.
They may be tracking your client and developing counter-strategies of which you may not be aware. They may be using techniques that have a better impact, which puts your strategy in the shade.
Engage in the competitor analysis and you acquire insights that will help you craft better strategies and outsmart them. You get to know their characteristics, strong points, and weak points and create a strategy that gives your client a niche position and competitive advantage. There is a saying: “Keep friends close and enemies closer..” and that means being close to competitors who can be compared to enemies.
To sum it up:
- It helps craft better digital marketing strategies with higher ROIs in a shorter time
- Identify gaps
- Know the strength and weakness of competitors and leapfrog
- Take better decisions
Now that you know what it is, how do you go about it? There are several ways and you should try all of them even if it is time-consuming.
Competitor SEO and content
These are good pointers to competitor’s strategies and capabilities so delve into their SEO strategies and content.
- Analyze their site for keywords used, title, architecture, tags, and website content
- Go a step further to check sitemap, templates, domain authority and backlink strategies
- Check for blog topics and how frequently they post contents
- Check competitor content for informative standard, language, and types such as blogs, articles, ebooks, videos, webinars, and press releases
- Compare competitor content quality with the quality of your content and frequency
You will learn a lot from keywords your competitors use for ranking. You can then rework your client’s site with other keywords including short and long-tail keywords you decide are suitable and trending.
Now it is time to move over to social media to find what your competitors are up to in this area.
- Measure their retweets, shares, comments, and frequency of activity.
- Which platforms are they active on and the most active on?
- Who do they follow and how do they respond to queries
- In which areas do they excel and what are their downsides
- Use social media listening tools to find what the competitor’s clients say about the products and services.
Compare it to what you are doing. You should have a clear idea of what more to do to get an edge.
Comparing products and services
Obtain all catalogs and literature on your competitor’s products. Study specifications, appearance, performance and compare with your client’s product. Discuss it with your client. They usually have a good idea about competitor products plus points and deficiencies. You should have done this at the time of preparing the digital marketing strategy. Now search online for how they promote their products and what claims they make.
You should be able to identify the USP of a competitor and your client’s product’s USP. Now you can leverage these into your content marketing strategy to write on various related topics around the USP, extolling virtues of client’s products and subtly downplaying USP of the competitor.
Perception & Sentiment
This entails a survey-study of how customers of your competitors perceive that brand and how they perceive your client’s brand in relation. Perceptions could be based on long term values. Then there could be short term indicators such as a promotion, a giveaway campaign, or launch of a new product that creates a spike in changed positive perceptions.
Sentiments may be influenced by positive or negative events within the competitor’s company or due to an external report or comment or a lawsuit or uncovering of questionable practices. On the other hand, if the competitor wins a prize it will generate positive sentiment. Analyzing perception and sentiment over a year’s timeline will give you a clear picture.
Next, your task is to identify what drives the sentiment. You delve into this and come up with phrases or comments. You can use something similar to position your client’s brand just a little bit better.
Your competitor’s customers should now come under your competitor analysis lens. Get demographics. It will give you insights on how to recraft your digital marketing strategies.
Alexa not only gives you a ranking of sites but also a slew of analysis tools to track the performance of sites. Use it to find out more about your competitor’s sites’ statistics.
Strange as it may seem, if you carry out a thorough evaluation of competitors then your task of crafting a digital marketing strategy for your client becomes easier and more effective.