Online commerce comes with fierce competition. Knowing your competitors, inside and out, is crucial for success. Competitor data harbours a wealth of information. Learn from their successes and failures.
Analytics tools saturate the market. They promise to watch your competitors’ strategies so you don’t have to. But there are many simple ways to keep track of your competition. You don’t always need to invest in complicated software.
Let’s dig in. To succeed in business you’re going to need to keep your competitors on a tight leash. When doing competitor monitoring, keep these eight strategies in mind. It’s all about knowing the competition inside and out. Keep your friends close and your competitors closer.
1. Stalk Your Competitors (you have permission)
Collaboration with your team is essential. When it comes to monitoring competitor behaviour, as little as five minutes a day is enough to glean great insights. Utilise tools for managing projects and make sure your whole team is doing their bit each day. Little by little your competitors will have nowhere left to hide.
Build up a broad picture of your competition. Rank your top competitors. Track them on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. Decide which marketing strategies impact you the most. It’s time to focus your research efforts on those.
Make sure you pay more attention to competitors at the top of their market share. What makes them stand out amongst the crowd? Can your business do that too? Likewise, avoid the pitfalls others have already made. A little goes a long way. Knowing your competitors will ensure your business remains enticing to customers.
2. Check Their Marketing Campaigns
You’ve located your prime competitors. Now it’s time to watch their marketing efforts. It’s time to analyse, scrutinise, and strategise. Don your lab coat and channel your inner scientist. You need to know your competitors better than they know themselves
That means keeping up to date with:
- New product launches
- Email marketing
- Webinars and conferences
- Ad campaigns
- Influencers and affiliates
Look out for when your competitor launches a new and exciting product. Note how successful their campaign is. Did it gain traction and reach a broad audience? How many shares did it receive? Track the public responses to ad campaigns and think about how you could do even better.
Notice weak spots in your competitors’ customer communications and be better. If their email campaigns leave something to be desired, take time to reconnect with your own customers and boost re-engagement with added value and personalisation.
By attending webinars and conferences you’ll gain insight into competitor strategy. It’s a great way to learn about your rival’s mindset and the likes and dislikes of their audience. Stay on for the Q & As – a treasure trove of important information.
Suss out your competitors’ relationship with influencers. Are they offering paid endorsements to influential media personalities? It’s time to let these influencers know who you are.
3. What About Web Content?
Web and blog content lies at the foundation of good marketing. There are a few steps you can take to monitor competitor content and stay one step ahead. Look for changes in design or messaging. Evaluate overall content experience – think organisation, ease of use, visuals.
Focus on high-performing content by looking at social shares. Consider why popular content is popular. What keywords and themes set this content apart? Now, use this knowledge.
There are plenty of tools out there to help you keep your content current. If you feel overwhelmed by content in your business administration, a DAM system might be for you. Digital Asset Management systems are an asset to any content marketing strategy. They manage and organise your library of branded content. This way, content is always accessible to relevant departments.
There are lots of web tracking and media monitoring tools out there, too. Consider starting with something simple. Look to web sources and identify where your competitors are being featured. Now, ask yourself why that’s not you! Once you’ve mastered your craft, share your content in the same spaces as your competitors. With your competitive edge, you’ll be sure to boost conversions in no time.
4. Like, Subscribe & Hit That Notification Bell
Subscribe to your competitors’ channels. This is a sure-fire way to gauge customer experience. 59% of marketers agree that email is the most effective channel for generating revenue. That makes email a great way to boost ROI. Subscribe to mailing lists using a non-work email to spy on the competition. Set up Google and mention alerts for all major competitor brands. Set up alerts for all future web content. Track titles, keywords, meta-descriptions, and CTAs.
Avoid common pitfalls. Look out for successes and try out these features on your own platforms. Track and measure your email campaign success against industry benchmarks with Vision 6. Continually test with tools like the A/B testing tool, which allow users to segment their email lists and test subject line effectiveness. This will help you to track the impact of your email campaigns in detail.
It’s also a good idea to consider video content. Video is now a major marketing strategy and offers 360 insights into a brand. Check out your competitors’ video marketing outputs for inspiration. Then look at comments, views, and shares to get a feel for the audience response. Like and subscribe for further video content and sign up for alerts so you never miss a trick.
5. Get Social
In this day and age, it’s important to pay attention to social media. Track your competitors’ social media presence. Follow. Activate notifications. Engage. There’s a lot to learn from social.
Most of your competitors will have one, or more, social media platforms. You might also want to consider a social listening tool. These are tools that analyse competitors’ social media strategies.
But if this isn’t for you, there are some easy steps you can take. Look out for:
- Tone of voice
- Visual style
- Media strategy
- Their chosen media platforms
Check to see where your competitors’ products are being marketed. Are they using a social media marketplace to sell their products? Does it seem to be working? Could you do the same?
Where you notice high engagement, follow suit. Use similar strategies. Check posts daily to identify key topics of interest. Consider creating a profile on other social platforms. If it seems to be working well for your competitor it probably will for you too. Read user comments and be aware of the customer service style.
6. Don’t Blame Your Tools
You know how the old saying goes. A poor workman blames his tools.
Don’t be that person.
If you’re going to install small business software, take time to research the right product for the job. Spend your money wisely and pick tools according to what it is you want to keep track of.
Think about the roadblocks in your businesses. Here’s an example.
If you’re struggling to maintain good communications with your international clients and partners, try looking into getting a business VoIP. A VoIP virtual phone line allows your clients to make calls from anywhere using any device.
If it’s better internal communications you’re after, there are lots of web-based collaboration tools out there that can help you foster effective teamwork in your business. These tools are entirely cloud-based and are great for project managing remote teams, sharing files, and maintaining a reliable channel of communications.
7. Keep Up With Customer Service
CX (customer experience) is the driving force of business success. Because of this, it’s important to monitor your competitor’s customer service methods.
Focus on their approach to complaints. Particularly on social media. How are complaints responded to? What tone of voice do your competitors use? How prompt are their replies? Do the customers seem satisfied with the response?
Look out for comments that have gone viral. This could signify a very good, or very bad, approach to customer care. By sharing these insights with your own customer service team, you’re setting up your business to go above and beyond.
Test out your competitors’ customer service phone lines and call centre agents. Many businesses fall short at this step. Call up with a common complaint and see how quickly you get an answer.
Does your competitor use cloud-based call routing? A good way to gauge this is to ask yourself, have I been directed to the best person or department to answer my question?
An interactive voice response system (IVR) could keep your call centre ahead of the game. IVRs offer callers options via a computer-generated phone system. An efficient way to direct callers according to their needs.
8. Sneak Up On SEO
Monitoring your competitors’ SEO strategy is essential to stay search-engine relevant. This will help you identify what it is that brings people to their site. By targeting the same keywords, you’ll make yourself more noticeable within your shared market segment.
Looking to rankings is a great way to figure out what works and what doesn’t. When your competitors’ rankings go up, consider adopting similar strategies. When they go down, steer clear. Take note of their backlink profile. Present yourself to these site owners as an industry authority.
Avoid like-for-like copying. It’s good to match your keywords with your competitors but try and do a little bit more. Find their weak spots and provide the solutions. Identify clickable content and maximise it in your own material.
One way to do this is by targeting your competitors’ long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords are less competitive but highly valuable. Targeting these longer, more specific, keywords is the way to go for higher ad-rankings on searches and getting one-up on your competition.
If you’re still looking for more, consider SEO automation software. SEO tools use URLs to analyse a website’s keywords, rankings, and backlinks. Use this tool to optimise your own keywords and increase search-engine visibility. Pick software that monitors keyword-performance and competition. This way you can choose the high volume, low competition keywords to get that competitive edge.