How to Run a Competitor Analysis to Smash Your Competition
This article discusses how to run a Competitor Analysis, what it is, and how you can benefit from doing a SWOT analysis of your brand.
If you want to take your business to the top, several associated factors need to be highlighted and taken care of to bring out the best results.
Each business does its best to attract visitors, but the benefits can be increased when you have the information regarding what your competitors are doing – what are their loopholes? What are they doing well?
Knowing this info prepares yourself against your own potential flaws.
Whether you can instantly think of over a dozen competitors or can barely recall five, it's a good idea to turn to Google or a different a search engine ( DuckDuckGo, anyone?) and look up your product category. – Buffer
This allows you to work on the areas where you are lacking.
What is a Competitor Analysis?
Competitor analysis is an assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of your existing and prospective competitors.
It also provides strategies to identify the relative opportunities and threats.
It is a vital part of your marketing plan to establish what kind of attributes you can put to attract the target market.
Likewise, what makes your products and services outstandingly unique.
What Does a Competitive Analysis Do?
For the smooth running of a business, a comprehensive analysis is required to optimise the combination of resources and forecast your profitability.
This is termed as SWOT analysis to determine your strengths and weaknesses and manage to identify your business’s possible threats and opportunities.
Doing a competitor analysis is a step towards building an effective and efficient strategy to understand better what makes your company unique in a saturated business climate.
What is a SWOT Analysis?
SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, pertinent to an organisation.
It merely results in auditing the current business processes of a company and in monitoring competitors as well.
Two major factors are being used in a fundamental SWOT analysis, which are:
Both of them are further categorised as:
● company’s strengths and weaknesses (for internal analysis)
● opportunities and threats of your company (for external research)
The internal things you have control on, like your quality and brand name (strengths) or lack of product range (weaknesses).
On the other hand, you do not have control of the external factors, but you can monitor them.
Examples are the strategies that open new doors to the markets (opportunities), while a new competitor trying to hold a place in the market (threats).
Wrapping up the above factors can lead you to understand the competitors in the market better and find effective strategies to stay healthy in your industry.
Benefits You Will Get from a Competitive Analysis
● To identify the market your business resides in.
● Build keywords from an SEO point of view.
● Find opportunities for the merger with a competitor.
● Know what your competition is doing and what they’re not.
● It is easy to spot the market gaps to know what is not offered by your existing businesses.
● You have a better understanding of current market trends.
● Competitor’s mistakes are a good source of learning.
● Your strategy can help to quickly counterpart plans and actions of your competitors.
● You will be aware of all the competitive activities that they are taking part in.
How to Conduct a Competitive Analysis to Determine Strategy
Study Your Competitor’s Website
It is an intelligent start when you know what your rivals are putting on their website and what strategy they have in mind.
Subscribe to Their Mailing Lists
While exploring their website, it is beneficial to subscribe to their email lists.
It enables you to know about their latest products, contests, promotions and other useful information.
Follow them on Social Media
To know about social media channels of the competitors helps you engage with the target audience.
Perform Searches on the Specific Keywords
To do searches as per your industry keywords is an effective way to identify new and prospective customers.
Activate Google Alerts
Google alerts act as an efficient tool to learn about an industry and its product category and know about people’s opinion of you on forums, blogs and other channels.
Conduct Online Surveys
Online surveys are a useful research tool that delivers you with a refined database comprising all the valuable details.
Ask Sales Team for the Latest Topics
As a rich source of competitive information, your sales team lets you know the latest industry trends and the hottest topics.
Discuss business Challenges With Your Distribution Partners
Your distribution partners are responsible for sharing the business challenges and how you perform in the competition.
Be a Part of Trade Shows for Better Research
Trade shows are also a critical research element to have a keen eye on your competitors’ new products and other factors.
Know Your Competitive Products to Put Yourself in Their Shoes
A better way to gain more benefit is to go a step further from a general competitive analysis and explore competitor’s products to improve your offerings.
Elements to be Included in a Competitive Analysis
Competitive analysis is not a single entity but comprises so many integral components working together for better results.
Below are some crucial elements to be focused upon.
Comparison of websites
A website is solely responsible for holding a good online presence and thus to analyse it thoroughly is integral for an excellent competitive study.
It includes factors like:
● Load times
● Social integration
Comparing your brand’s website with other similar ones is incredibly lucrative if you are operating in a niche that caters to an audience with specific needs or interests.
If your target market is more or less “generic” and easy to understand, you may not need to be as thorough.
However, if you are working in a smaller niche where tastes or pain points are more specific, a thorough analysis is warranted.
Your target audience could be tiny, or you might be pioneering a new product you’re not yet sure how to market.
If this is the case, you may find yourself at a loss for a competitor.
You don’t have to analyse someone who is just like you – you need them to be appealing to the same market segment.
Bay Alarm Medical is an excellent example of a website that could benefit from analysing how similar brands have chosen to layout their website.
Their target audience is seniors (and their children), who are not precisely the most prevalent audience segment in the digital landscape.
By examining what other brands catering to the same audience are doing in terms of navigation, font size, image size, and language on their websites, they can better understand their audience.
This kind of understanding is vital to improving the chances of communicating well with the audience.
Focus on Target zone
For optimum results, to focus on the target zone, especially the products are a must.
If you are on the same prospect where your buyers are, you need to have close attention.
For example, if two food chains offer a similar product, there must be something extraordinary and different that makes one brand better than others.
To know how effectively your competitors are using social media is the right approach for gaining success in social networks.
Below are the Key Areas Involved in the Above Scenario
● Explore all the platforms being used
● How frequently they post
● Pay focused on their followers
● Content promotion is also crucial
● Response time also counts
Social media competitive analysis will work best for brands whose target audience is already very active on different social media platforms or brands whose competitors are making a lot of social sales.
If your brand is photogenic and uses many images for marketing, you should try to discover what other similar brands are doing on Instagram or Pinterest.
If you are looking for a more mature, B2B marketing approach, check out similar LinkedIn brands.
Facebook and Twitter are great for community research and staying on top of evolving trends.
A brand like Orizaba Original, who sells clothing, is ideal for a social media competitor analysis.
They already have a presence on Instagram, and just by discovering what other brands who sell the same kinds of products are doing and how they are attracting followers could result in more sales and an increased following.
Effectively marketing the content is a way to yield rich results. Although it is not easy to market someone else’s content, the below factors can give excellent results.
● Type of the content being used
● Quality of the content also matters
● How content data your rivals possess
● How frequently you publish
● Focus on audience base
Content marketing remains one of the most widely used digital marketing strategies, and many brands, both in B2B and B2C, can certainly benefit from it.
However, knowing what will work and what won’t is the challenging part.
Competitive analysis can do wonders in that regard.
However, many brands make one mistake to copy what others are doing without adding anything original to the content in question.
They disregard entirely adding their mark to their content.
This is not how you should do content marketing.
Competitive analysis in the realm of content marketing should serve as a starting point only.
It should help you understand what your audience wants to see, what kinds of formats work best (text, video, audio, etc.) and some of the most critical pain points for these readers and viewers.
Once you begin to understand the demand for content, you can start to create it in ways that will answer the questions your audience is struggling with.
Remember that you need to make it your own, in line with your brand, and in line with your voice and values.
A brand like Aura can benefit a lot from doing content marketing competitive analysis.
It will help them understand what the Amazon seller community is interested in, what they struggle with the most, and how their content can help.
They have already done a great job of creating content for their informative, well-formatted blog and easy to digest.
They can find inspiration for more topics and keywords they can do further to rank for well.
Email is perceived to gain the maximum ROI, and digital marketers must scrutinise it in terms of the following factors.
● How frequent is the mail?
● Where emails are reaching, in the inbox or the spam folder
● Is the view mobile-optimised to gain compatibility of all kind of the devices?
● How attractive is the content used for the promotional offers?
When it comes to email marketing, analysing your competitors is straightforward: sign up to as many email lists as you can, and then keep tabs on the frequency of emails, what they feature, how long they take to load, what the subject is like, and so on.
There’s no automated way to do this, and you will need to come up with your system.
We suggest analysing both large and small competitors.
You may be surprised how poorly some large and famous brands handle their email marketing, while smaller ones have unique emails that ask to be opened and clicked.
You can assemble all of your data in a spreadsheet and categorise it by a competitor or by the metric you’re trying to track.
Make sure you conduct your analysis for a more extended period.
Also, try to include at least one or two major holidays in this period, as this is when most brands go all out with their campaigns.
Once you are satisfied with the amount of data you’ve gathered, give it some thought and come to your own intelligent conclusions on the kind of email that will work best for your target audience.
Then, you can test your theories out.
Make sure you note your current open and click rates so you can compare them with your new email campaigns.
A brand that can do this form of analysis with great success is Dose of Colors.
All beauty and cosmetics brands rely heavily on email campaigns for their digital marketing, and most of them send emails every day even.
By analysing the images, subject lines, and copy of the emails, they can develop a formula that will result in more clicks and more sales in an incredibly competitive market.
SEO is the primary and most straightforward analysis tool to examine how your website competes with others.
Here, webmasters must consider Google’s set standards for verified results.
Keep below factors in mind:
● Where the competitors are ranking for the key terms
● Quantity of the incoming traffic
● Domain authority is also crucial and must be checked with Moz.
To make the most of your website, an SEO analysis of your competitors is practically a must.
You can analyse the keywords they are ranking for to gain ideas for your content for starters.
This is a great way to discover what is known as “low-hanging fruit,” where you find keywords with decent traffic you can easily rank for.
You can then also analyse their backlinks to help you discover potential backlinking opportunities for yourself.
Make sure you always check these websites’ metrics, as you don’t want to be associating yourself with a spammy or low-quality site.
A website that can do this kind of analysis very well is Just a Girl and Her Blog.
They are continually working on their backlink portfolio and keyword research to produce content around the topics that interest their readers and help them improve their rankings and gain even more traffic.
Both of these tactics are working well, as the website keeps growing year after year.
An essential tool in the field of competitive analysis which is suitable for the businesses of all sizes.
It serves two purposes:
● It involves automated searches about how you stack up amongst 1500 competitors.
● The behaviour of the customers you are trying to lure.
Follow Marketing Grader
This tool helps you know in detail about where you are standing as compared to your rivals.
Below aspects need to be compared to bring out the best results:
● Lead generation
● Social media
Moz for Better Analytics
Moz is an essential tool for analysis that focuses on your business’s strength and weakness, and you also come to know how the content of others in the same niche is performing.
Competitor Analysis Tools
There are various tools available on the web to follow a thorough analysis of your competitors.
Let’s look at a few of them to gain better results.
SEO/Keyword Analysis Tools
● Spyfu – This tool has a striking feature to show the keywords for which your competitors are ranking and how much they overlap.
● SEMRush – A versatile tool which performs competitive research, keyword research, site audit and backlink analysis.
● iSpionage – It informs you about your PPC competitors, their usage of AdWords and their monthly budget as well. It allows you with the facility to check up to 5 competitors for free.
● SEO Analysis & Audit Tool – It is a trusted website analysis tool to handle SEO related issues of your site.
● Open Link Profiler – It proffers a thorough link analysis and stock a bunch of backlinks and age of links, along with the country and industry breakdown.
Here, links will be active within 90 days and the free account is only valid for detailed info, but you need to invest money for the specific services, for the full range of SEO tools.
● Monitor Backlinks – 30 days free trial is available here and then a specific price is charged for a combo of 1 domain and 2 competitors.
It has the purpose to take out new and lost links with the competitor’s new links, and they will email you weekly charges of the domain changes after setup of your account.
Content Discovery Tools
● Feedly – This tool enables the customisation of the sites you are following, and it lets you keep updated content in a hassle-free manner.
You have the option to segment by clients, competitors and fundamental industry trends.
It also possesses a browser extension to add the websites to your feed quickly.
● BuzzSumo – BuzzSumo is a free analysis tool which enables you to search for the content through the keyword or competitor’s URL.
It can be further refined, with content types, publishing date and social site sharing.
SERP Rankings Tool
● Whatsmyserp – It gives you an idea about where your content has been positioned in SERP ranking. As per the recent trend, now the search results are personalised by country, locality, and recent search history.
Web Traffic Tool
● Alexa – This tool allows tracking the global web traffic of your competitors and your own as well. It acts as an integral tool to convert the available data into valuable information having a competitive value for your brand.
In this fast-moving era, the success mantra for sustainable growth is to stay ahead of competitors.
The best approach here is to know what your competitors are doing, and in short, what extraordinary they are doing for better results.
This has been accomplished by a competitive analysis where you need to know what you can put on your website.
A comparative study of all your deficiencies in the above scenario makes you ready to bridge the gap.
A competitor analysis must possess so many related factors to make out the best from your business.
You can use various tools like Moz, Alexa, BuzzSumo, Feedly, SemRush, etc.