Once again we’ll be looking at a very interesting subject which is how to perform competition analysis in an easy and effective way. Carrying out competitive analysis for your new business idea is paramount for your success.
It will be unwise to invest in an idea, project, or business without properly gaining insight into that business by actually performing your competitive analysis. It will only end up in a waste of money, time, and energy.
So what I intend to do with this post is to show you practical ways of how you can as well perform your own competition analysis step by step. A template will be provided so you can follow along as you see these info’s, I want you to complete the template.
This article has been divided into the following – for easy understanding…
- Find your competitors online
- Establish a competitor ranking
- Investigate competing for products/services
- Analyze the competitive pricing strategy
- Identify the target audience of the competitors
- Discover how they attract their customers (free or paid traffic)
- Analyze the competition loyalty strategy
- Investigate the degree of customer satisfaction (re-purchase and recommendation)
- Create an executive report using the Sales Funnel technique
Before we continue, here is the marketing template for online competition analysis:
Find Your Competitors Online
Before we talk about analyzing our competitors we must find them and know who they are and how many they are. We will do this 100% online.
Knowing who they are will help us know how to investigate the competition. Knowing how many they are will allow us to estimate a market share rate (market share) in order to determine if the market is not already too saturated.
Some ways to find your competitors online:
- Search on Google.
- Search in social networks.
- Ask in forums.
- Ask your colleagues.
To search your competition on Google, as well as on social networks, you must first find the keyword that defines your niche or business. It’s about using tools like the AdWords keyword planner to find out how your potential customers search on Google.
If we are thinking of a physical establishment, for example, a restaurant, which finally decides to create its online presence at 360 °, it is very likely that it already knows its closest competitors well.
Write down on a worksheet all the competitors you know or that you have found online. In the next point, we will order them in our template, to put together the ranking of competitors. »Download the template and other resources«
Establish The Ranking Of Your Competitors
First, we need to qualify our competitors by assigning a degree of relevance to them. This is possible if we can grade them according to their rankings of our seed keywords. The ones that rank high for all our seed keywords will be the ones to target.
How relevant is the competition?
To know this you must consider the keyword that your customers use when searching for your service/product on the internet. Perform a search on Google for that keyword and filters (i.e. removes) manually all the results that are not a direct competitor.
The list you get will be the ranking by the relevance of your competitors, in this case, the best position in Google (i.e. how they are ranked on Google results).
Another way to create a ranking of competitors is to analyze social networks. However, there are several tools you can make use of; the challenge is to what extent you can assess the importance of your competitors.
Tools: Quicksprout will allow you to compare 4 competitors at a time and show you how much content each of them shares on the networks. Another related function of Quicksprout is to analyze how much traffic each of your competitors receives on its website.
Another very useful one is BuzzSumo, BuzzSumo is based on the domain, twitter or name of the competition, and also let you know how much of the publications of a brand or person are shared.
Based on the ranking you have put together, you must now select which competitors you will analyze. I recommend that you do not extend your competitor analysis to more than 5, at least at the beginning.
Select your first 5 competitors and complete the template according to the order of importance you have assigned them. »Download the template and other resources«
Analyze Your Competitor’s Website In Search Of Its Products / Services Offer
Let’s assume that your competitor has a website, what you can do is to study the call-to-action (CTA) (call to action) to see which product/service is more important in your digital marketing strategy. You will find the most important CTAs in the central body of the website or in its sidebar.
…All this will let you know which products/services are most important to your competition and evaluate whether or not to compete with them. You will indirectly know which products/services your competitors are not paying attention to; what this implies is that you have the opportunity to occupy that empty space if it is profitable.
Another way to analyze online competition is to pay attention to the categories of the competitor’s blog and the links on the main menu of the website.
…It is likely that an experienced competitor will create the categories of his blog based on his offer, writing about what he sells (which I think is more than intelligent).
The same happens in the menu of the website that must always have some outstanding service or call-to-action oriented to the sale.
Complete the template with the products and/or services that you have detected from your competition. Remember an Excel sheet for each product/service. »Download the template and other resources«
Discover The Prices Of Your Competition ($)
Alright, now that we know the offer of products/services, the next thing to do is to research the competitive pricing strategy.
In this section, I will give you solutions that are not very technical but that are good ideas for defining your pricing strategy.
How to “spy” on the prices of my competitors:
Investigate the website of the competition: On many websites, the price is usually published together with the service or product offered. In some cases, it’s simple like that.
Ask in forums: you could simply ask in a specialized forum “how much do you think the service of such a company can cost…”, surely someone who has already acquired that service will give you the data quickly.
Pretend to be an interested buyer: many companies prefer not to directly give the price of their products or services. In this case, they leave us no choice but to get in touch as if we were a prospect interested in buying. This will also allow you to measure the response time for subsequent analysis of customer satisfaction or online reputation.
Tools like Prisync will allow you to monitor changes in your competitors’ prices and even in the amount of available stock. 😉
When you have gathered all the information to analyze the competitor’s pricing strategy, complete the template with the price of each product. »Download the template and other resources«
Identify the target audience of your competitors
Discovering your competition target audience will be useful when defining broadcast channels (social networks, dissemination in our blog, traditional advertising, paid, etc.).
How to discover the clients of your competition?
Analyze the content: we must read the main posts of the competition’s blog to understand what topics they deal with, whether they use technical language or not, see which message works best, if they include different formats (video, audio, images, presentations, etc.), analyze the profile of those who comment and try to detect the keywords they want to position.
Studying social networks: manually analyzing the profile of followers of Facebook, Twitter and other social networks will give us a vision that complements the previous point. We may know interests, demographic data, what they do and even know who the customers of your competition are.
When you have found and analyzed the customers of your competition you must create a customer persona (a summary of characteristics). The objective is to which of the target audience you will be promoting your product or service to.
Complete the template in the corresponding column with the description or name of the target audience that corresponds to a particular product or service. »Download Competitive Analysis Template«
Ask yourself: What is the customer acquisition strategy of my competition?
You already know who your competitors are and their target audience. Now you must be wondering: – How do I attract those visits to my website? -. A good way to not waste time and money is to study what the competition is doing to attract customers:
- Investigate how free traffic attracts competition
For easy understanding, let’s divide it into two parts so as to be able to simplify it and gain a good grasp of what we are talking about:
- Attract free traffic by creating content.
- Attract free traffic from social networks.
1) To know the free traffic strategy creating content, you should ask yourself:
- Is my competition well positioned in search engines?
- Do you create useful content and keep your blog updated?
- Do you publish content on other sites or blogs (guest posting)?
- What keywords position to drive traffic from Google?
- In general: Do you have a long-term SEO positioning strategy?
You can investigate the positioning of your competition manually by performing a Google search according to the keyword that best defines your niche or job. To know the content and the frequency of updating the blog you could subscribe to the newsletter and keep an eye on your competitors.
Google Alerts: Google Alerts lets you know when Google indexes new content from your competitors. A similar alternative is Talk Walker Alerts.
Now, if we want to know if they are publishing content on other sites (to attract traffic) you could use tools that detect your competitors ‘ back-links, for example, Open Site Explorer, Majestic SEO or Ahrefs.
You should check each of the incoming links to know what each one is about. To monitor the keywords of your competition you could use: Spyfu, SemRush or Keyword Competitor.
2) Attract free traffic from social networks:
Social networks also play a fundamental role in attracting free traffic to the website of a competing company.
To analyze the strategy of your competition you must ask yourself:
- In which social networks is my competition present?
- Do they periodically disseminate the content created?
- Do they respond to comments from followers? How often?
- Do they automate social media publishing or do you think they are using a community manager?
- Do they publish only in their profiles or also in groups?
- Do they offer discounts or organize online raffles?
Tools: there are many tools to analyze the social networks of your competition; I’m just going to leave some of the best links: Social Searcher searches for a keyword or the name of your competitor and reflects the results on social networks. Buzz Sumo is one of my favorites; you can know the most shared in the social networks of your competition by typing the name, brand, username on Twitter, etc.
Again, if you find more information about your competition in their social networks c complete the template in the column of “Free Traffic” with the strategy of attracting customers from competitors.
Investigate The Payment Traffic Of Your Competition
Knowing which strategies the competition uses to attract paid traffic will help you invest your money in the appropriate broadcast channels. This analysis will also allow you to detect the broadcast channels that your competitors are not using and evaluate the possibility of winning that front (if it were profitable to do so).
You should investigate the following:
Paid advertising on search engines: there are several tools you can use to see your competition paid ads on Google. One of these is SEMRush– that in addition to seeing the ads of your competition, will let you know which keywords they invest money.
Payment advertising on social networks: «Adroll» allow you to know the payment campaigns on social networks of your competition. Unfortunately, it does not have a trial version.
Sponsored articles on blogs or websites: it is the same case we saw before with guest posting, only that a sponsored article is usually in exchange for a payment made by your competitor to the publisher. It is a very common form of internet advertising. To find them you must use the same tools that we will see below for backlink analysis and manually review one by one.
Traditional advertising on other sites: for this you might want to see your incoming links with the aim of trying to detect which of them come from advertisements contracted by your competition. Some tools to analyze backlinks: Open Site Explorer, Majestic SEO or Ahrefs.
With these tools, you can imitate or improve the customer acquisition strategy of your online competitors. These techniques also allow you to analyze how the competition wins customers to detect which channels they have set aside.
Investigate The Customer Loyalty of Your Competition
In this case, it is manual work we are going to do. Why? Because the communication between a business and its consumers takes place using two (2) forms which are Email and social networks. As you can see, it’s the same channel as our point 2.
Once you have decided which are your main competitors (point # 2) you should perform one or all of these actions:
- Buy the product or service of the competition.
- Subscribe to the competition newsletter.
- Follow your competitors in all their social networks (even if you manage a group).
- Subscribe to the Feed / RSS channel (although the newsletter is preferable).
In this way, you become part of all the communication channels of the competitors as if you were a customer or a prospect. By being in all the competitor’s databases (buyers, prospects, etc.) you will find out about all the marketing actions carried out with the objective of finding the loyalty of their customers.
Discover What They Say About Your Competition In The Networks And Analyze The Customer’s Shopping Experience
At this stage of your competition analysis, we want to discover if first-time buyers are going to re-buy the product (without buying again) and/or if they are going to recommend the product with their colleagues, friends, family and their environment in general.
In both cases, we must poll the social networks in search of any negative and positive comments about the product or service of our competition. We will not be able to obtain objective numbers but we have a strong impression of whether competing customers are willing to buy again. In the case that they are not, we can try to capture that poorly attended public for your own business.
We must also investigate whether consumers are willing to recommend the product, that is if they have created a sense of tribe with the brand of the competing company. This can clearly be seen based on what they write in social media comments, company blog comments and based on the number of shared posts (or retweets).
Analyzing the online reputation of our competitors will be important if we want to enter a saturated market where almost everything has already been offered. If we cannot lower prices, and our rival does not have good customer service, we can dedicate our efforts to that point and highlight it within our value offer.
Some questions you should ask yourself:
- Do they respond to all comments on their networks (negative and positive)?
- Do you respond to comments on the company’s blog?
- Do you thank or bookmark retweets?
- How long does it take to respond to comments?
Social networks are an inexhaustible source of information about the unsatisfied needs of consumers. Constantly probing and analyzing the competition will lead us to detect untapped or neglected opportunities.
Not only can you detect social and web mentions but also find leads (potential customers) for your business or profession. Mention.com: poll what is being talked about in the social networks about your competitors. The service has a free trial for 14 days. Socialmention.com is even broader than the previous one as it also searches blogs, images, news, audio and more.
Once you have all the information on “buyback and recommendation” completes the template summarizing what you found for each of the competing products/services.
Analyze The Sales Funnel Of The Competition (Executive Summary)
In the case that you are creating your digital venture with a partner or in the case that you have to summarize all the information about the competition for a boss or management; you should create an executive summary.
I recommend you do it, even if your online business is a small personal brand (for example this blog) or digital micro-entrepreneurship.
To create the executive summary we will use the technique of the digital sales funnel that I have already explained in this article: The digital sales funnel.
Competition analysis + Digital sales funnel
This is a document of 1-page maximum where you will summarize all the information found in the analysis of the competition you just finished.
How the competition attracts visitors: free traffic through web positioning in search engines (SEO), free traffic from social networks, paid traffic (PPC, SEM) from Google or social networks.
How they turn their users into buyers: see what type of call-to-actions they use, which “lead-magnets” they offer in exchange for subscribing to the newsletter. Perhaps they use the payment for social action (social locker plugin). How they build their sales pages (landings), use copywriting techniques and / or digital social proof in them.
Monetization strategy of your competitors: product/service offer and prices.
How customer loyalty: newsletter and shipping frequency. Promotions, raffles, frequent user plans, and discounts. Update the frequency and quality of the new content both in the blog of the brand and in its social networks.
Re-purchase or recommendation: investigate whether the customers of the competition buy again and / or recommend the product or service of the competition.
You will find this same executive summary on sheet 2 of the digital marketing template to analyze your competition. You can download the digital marketing template
The marketing template for online competition analysis: Download A Copy Of Competitive Analysis Template
We have come to the end of this article where we saw how to analyze the competition and discover the digital marketing strategy that your competitors use.
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