Therea are thousands of methods to analyze the competition for free and see how your competitors are performing well. In this blog we are going to learn about few competitive analysis methods which works really well. Being a Digital Marketing Expert, I would like to share some tested methods which works for every business.
When it comes to start with analyzing competition, keyword research is considered as most important step to start with. As per my industry experience I could say that if you are spot on with your targeted keywords, you could achieve out of the box results with lesser efforts. But the problem with conducting keyword research is finding a right tool.
Not every tool is perfect and you can’t rely on data provided by single keyword research tool. Being a SEO, your goals should be collecting data from different sources and compare the data for better outcome. If you do the right research, you can outrank your competition and can even gain better ranks on multiple different keywords.
What is competitive analysis?
Competitive analysis is a method of conducting research on your potential and existing competitor. While doing competitive analysis, we get to know about strengths and weaknesses of our competitors. If we do the analysis right, we can understand their product performances, their SERP positions, marketing strategy and sales flow.
Competitive analysis is a great way to understand your competitors and stand out from the queue and perform better. Every marketer should have following questions in mind while doing competitive analysis.
- Where do my brand stand in market?
- Can I do something different from the competitor?
- What are the possibilities in market to grow my brand?
- How to built strong strategy to beat competitors?
If you find the answers of above questions, you can built an amazing competitive marketing strategy which can help your brand to grow exponentially.
How to Do a Competitive Analysis: 9 Steps
Step 1: Determine your right competitors
Not every business is your competition. You have to be very sure with competition list while creating list of your competitors. If you don’t target the right businesses, you might end up with low quality results. Let me give you an example of finding the right competitors.
Lets assume you are a manufacturer of any kitchen equipment. You have your own business site where you have listed all of your products which looks like an eCommerce store but you are not an ecommerce company. In this case you can’t target the ecommerce sites which are selling similar products related to your business. Because an ecommerce site could have multiple similar products from different brands but the business structure would be completely different.
In this situation, you can target the companies which are manufacturing similar products and are selling on their own website. As I said earlier, not every business which provides or sell similar services is not your competition. You have to filter out the results to target the right competition.
Step 2: Understanding the competitor products
Every country has different market size and every market has multiple businesses which are providing similar services or selling similar products. If you are into a business which has existing players, you need to find out the right competitors and start understanding their products. It will help you to understand the work flow and their products performance.
Go through the competitors product line and look for following factors:
- Is there any cost difference?
- Is it available for bulk purchase/broad services or one-o purchases?
- What their customers are talking about product or services?
- What’s their USP (unique selling price)?
- What’s their delivering or distribution process?
Step 3: Do an analysis on your competitors Sale process
Taking a dig on your competitors sales process can be a difficult task. It’s a lengthy process and it requires a lot of dedication and focus. You need to find out answers of common question which can help you to understand competitors sales process such as:
- How many sales channels are used to sell product or services?
Is there any advantage of location?
- What is the reason customers are maintaining relationship with the company?
- Do they regularly discount their products or services?
If you find out answers of above questions, it will be a lot easy for you to take out valuable information which can help you to tackle them. Our of above three, I personally spent a lot of time on finding out the reason of maintaining relationship. It’s because word of mouth plays an important role in sales and relationship management. If a customer is happy, he will bring a lot more to you. Not only India, but every country has positive impact of word of mouth on their sales.
Step 4: Keep an eye on competitor pricing and discount offers
Product pricing is should be done very carefully. You should know the price range of services or product your are offering to your customers. If your product is superior than your competition then you can have different pricing but if it is not then try to keep the pricing according to market standards. Be it low pricing or high pricing, you should always have a reason which you could explain to your customers. If a customer is asking about reasons of high pricing then your support team should have an answer.
Additional perks offered with services or product could be another area to consider while doing price analysis. These perks could be of any type such as discount offers, additional services, buy 1 get 1 offer, coupons, membership bonus, yearly benefits or credit card points. Every single promotional stuff could make a difference on sales.
Step 5: Delivery Terms
Higher delivery charges is one of the biggest reasons of canceling the order or abandoning the cart. If you have a product which you need to deliver to your customers, then delivering terms is another key area to invest your time. Understand the market requirement and standard delivery terms for your products.
Free Shipping is always an attractive way to keep user on checkout page after adding items in cart. The best way is to create a list of area’s in which you can deliver for free and use it on website so that user would understand that if he order outside shipping area then free delivery won’t work. But at least there would be some area’s where you could delivery for free.
However, if you can’t offer free shipping then adding additional perks such as yearly bonus, membership rewards or product replacement would be another option to keep the interest of user in shopping form you.
Step 6: Understand competitive marketing strategy
In order to dig into the marketing strategy of your competitor, all you need to do is, do a deep analysis of their website. Some common factors you need to keep in mind while analyzing competitive website.
- Are they addition regular content on website such as blog?
- Do they have product brochures?
- Frequent videos or webinars are there on web or not?
- Do they have a podcast?
- Are they using infographics?
- Do pages have FAQs section?
- Are there any press releases on website?
- Are they publishing case studies?
- Is there any buying guide and data sheets on website?
- Sort of online and offline advertising campaigns they are running
Always observe how they promote their marketing content. Understand their promotional strategy and see keyword density in content, alt tag on images, number of internal and external links in article and combination of keywords they have targeted.
Do collect the number of platforms which are sharing their content.
Step 7: Do your best to understand competitors Content Strategy
Content is king, we all have heard this line so many times and it’s indeed true. Content always paly a key role in growth of business. Be is social media content, website content, blog content, PR content, promotional content or product and services content. It totally depends on your content how you want to represent yourself to your customers. Quality content can turn things in your favor every easily.
Content is not only important for customers but it also important for search engines so that they could understand it and rank it according to it’s relevance. While analyzing your competitors content, you need to keep following things in your mind.
Understand the content accuracy and see if you have the similar or better approach for your content representation.
Depth of content
See if the content is introductory level or it covers advance topics. Technicality or words in written content would help you to understand it easily.
Tone of the content
There is a very slight difference in frequently asked questions and question and answers. You need to understand the tone of content and tackle your competition according to it.
Structure of content
Content structure is based on it’s representation such as using bullet points, heading in bold font and list items or number lists.
Content generation team
You should know whether your competitors are using in-house team to write content or any industry expert is doing it for them.
Once you are done with the written part, also take a look on media content such as videos, images, PDFs or any sort of Excel file uploaded on website. Info-graphics, video and image galleries are important to analyze.
Step 8: Understanding the technology
It’s always good to know if your competitors are using any sort of software to enhance their customer support, shopping process or collecting feedbacks. Number of reviews collected by different software applications is a great way to show them on product page and gain customers trust.
Chat bots are another good example of using technology to enhance services. They helps web owners to increase the interaction time by responding them instantly by chat bots. See if you need them on your website too.
Step 9: Social Media presence
Social media platforms exposes the customer engagement. Number of likes, shares, comments and reviews indicates whether the product or services are liked by them or not. Take a note on all social media platforms used by your competitors. Analyze every action on social media platforms such as:
- Call to Action button on posts
- Content Visibility (images cropped or not in preview)
- Naked links
- Short URLs with keywords
Once you are through with above steps, you will be able to create an out of the box marketing strategy based on competitive analysis.