Digital marketing is a staple for businesses in today’s day and age as an increasing number of the global population has become dependent on the digital mediums and the internet for their needs, ranging from shopping for goods & services to getting information on almost every subject.
Companies are heavily dependent on digital marketing strategies to drive traffic to their websites and attract the target audience which has the potential to drive the desired number of conversions. Creating a popular brand image has become a direct function of marketing strategies that outperform the competition, gain the trust of the target audience, and build lasting relationships with existing customers.
The position of a company in the market requires a combination of time, dedication, quality of products & services, and a solid marketing strategy(a digital one in the current scenario) to back them all. Another crucial and exigent aspect of maintaining this position is soaring above the competition by carefully navigating the territories where you can best them.
The first step towards learning about your competition is gaining the required knowledge and collecting all the essential information. A complete digital marketing competitor analysis aimed at fully evaluating the competition goes a long way in providing the required fodder to your digital marketing team for creating a comprehensive strategy. When you understand the strategies employed by the competitors in your niche to acquire and retain their customers, you may deconstruct them and identify gaps, which may help you fill them.
If you are interested to find out more, you have come to the right place. Keep on reading!
In this article, you will learn about competitor analysis as a model for reading your competition better. You will also get familiar with the methods of utilizing digital marketing competitor analysis to sharpen your strategy and increase its effectiveness in driving more traffic and conversions to your website. So, without further ado, let’s dive right into it.
What is a Digital Marketing Competitor Analysis and how does it work?
As the name suggests, competitor analysis is an amalgamation of processes that undertake research and analysis of the business model & characteristics and marketing plans & strategies of companies that operate in a particular field. Simply put, it carries out thorough research on your competitor businesses to help you identify their strengths, weaknesses, viability factors, reasons for popularity among customers, identifying gaps in their business models & marketing strategies, and setting up a counter plan to tackle all of these aspects.
The fact of the matter is that both you and your competition are in the race of grabbing and holding the attention of the target audience to convert them into leads, and eventually into long-lasting customers. Competitor analysis allows your company to mark the channels and areas where this race is too close for equipping you to capitalize on untapped growth opportunities.
The first step towards competitor analysis is recognizing who your competitors are. You need to start shortlisting businesses based on the service they provide, the audience that they target, and their proximity to the services and products provided by you. The idea is to make an exhaustive list of the other players in your niche to start your research on them to keep your brand competitive.
In the next step, we research the identified competitors in a structured manner to learn about their practices. The findings of the said research need to be systematically logged into a centralized database that can be referred to at all times by your marketing team. The act of organizing the data on the competition is of utmost importance as the only information that can be easily read and understood can be useful in the larger scheme of things.
You may learn more about competitor analysis here.
How can Competitor Analysis be used to improve Digital Marketing?
In the quest of staying relevant to the customers amidst increasing competition and ever-changing industry trends, you must learn how you can leverage competitor analysis to optimize and improve the digital marketing strategy of your business. Below is a guide on how you can go about it:
Start with the analysis of a competitor’s SEO strategy
Search results play a vital role in directing traffic to your website and allow potential customers to get familiar with your service/product offerings. Ranking higher on the search engine results page increases the chances of users reaching your website. Therefore, SEO needs to feature as a permanent part of your digital marketing strategy.
You must keep an eye on your competitor’s website ranking on the SERPs regularly to optimize your website accordingly for ranking higher than them — this automatically provides more legitimacy to your business website over your competitor. The way to go about it is to examine and analyze the organic search visibility of your competitor’s website daily.
Using organic search visibility, you can access data on the keywords that work the best for your competitor. You can also get insights into the average search traffic that their website generates every month. Additionally, you can find out what pages on their website are more successful than the others and try to deduce the reason behind them.
Gathering all of the above information will allow you to target the correct keywords, fill in the gaps left by your competitor in terms of keyword use & website content, and eventually embark on the path of attaining a higher search engine ranking.
Keep an eye on their website and the traffic it generates
You can derive many useful insights by studying the website traffic of a competitor. The first step is to map out your competitors followed by taking a holistic overview of their online presence. In terms of their online presence, your first area of interest should be their business website.
Studying the website traffic generated by your competitor helps you uncover details about their approach to their marketing strategy. Thus, you can decode their website’s overall performance in the past months in terms of the leads that converted into customers and what worked for them. The analysis allows you to figure out if there were any significant changes to their results after implementing newer strategies.
Website traffic analysis also allows you to find out the most viewed channels on their website along with the products and services that attract the most customers. You may analyze the content surrounding these products to deduce the reason for their success.
Keeping an eye on their website enables you to review the latest trends from their perspective to see how they approach them. Similarly, you can zero in on the traffic fluctuations based on seasonal changes. Overall, website traffic analysis equips you with vital information on your competitors and puts you in a position where you could tweak your tactics accordingly.
Using the findings of your website research, you may ask your local web designers to make necessary adjustments to your website — you can analyze the web design Frederick MD has to offer and make your decision accordingly.
Take a note of and deconstruct their online ad campaigns
Ad campaigns let you increase your visibility to the target audience and improve the chances of creating awareness about your products and services. A successful ad campaign must do things uniquely in terms of content and tone. But, at the same time, you learn a lot from the ad campaigns run by your competitors.
For making your ad campaigns stand out from the crowd, you may take inspiration from the ones being run by your competitors to see what’s been working for them. The analysis of various ad campaigns run by your competitors helps you narrow down the aspects that are common among all of them. You can narrow it down to the more successful ones and deconstruct them for their content and overall appeal.
You will be able to deduce data and information such as the number of keywords that are working and the cost per click(CPC) of running them in a given region. In this way, you will be able to discover new phrases that are relevant to your brand based on the frequency of the target audience using them for their search queries.
Using tools like the ones available on Semrush, you can use the URL to your competitor’s website and learn about their ad strategies & budgets. You will also be able to access their ad spend, read and analyze their ad copies, and track the live ads run by them. In short, you will be able to mark the opportunities that might have been missed by a competitor.
Analyzing their social media presence is equally vital
Social media has become one of the most crucial avenues for companies because it provides plenty of room and opportunities for marketing their products and services by connecting with their target audience. A company’s social media presence can be an eye-opener in terms of learning about its marketing strategies.
Competitor analysis is incomplete without going through the social media channels of a competitor closely. You will be able to learn how frequently do they post and track the engagement percentage increase/decrease with each post. In addition to lining up the channels that have more popularity, you will be able to decode the content forms they use for their marketing efforts and which ones fare better than the others.
Social media analysis of your competitors will allow you to improve your content and marketing strategies on social media channels. You will have the opportunity to gather useful insights like the strategy behind posts that go viral out of the blue, the tone of the content and production value, audience engagement patterns, and more.
Lay special focus on their PR strategy and content marketing
Content marketing is one of the few pillars on which a digital marketing strategy rests. Competitor analysis lets you analyze the content forms and topics that do the job for your competitors. It gives you an idea of what works for the blogs, videos, and other media in fetching the maximum number of target audiences for enhanced engagement and conversions.
You will be able to gauge the sources of online mentions, the reputation of the content, conversion rates, number of backlinks generated, etc., through a thorough analysis of the publicly available data about your direct competitor businesses. Based on these pieces of information, you will be better equipped to implement the working elements by optimizing them for your products/services.
You will be able to avoid creating content on the topics that have been overutilized by your competitors, and therefore, avoid the risk of adding to content fatigue often experienced by the target audience in the digital age of content overload.
When you analyze the public relations efforts of your competitors, you learn about their plans of connecting with their target audience(which is also your target audience). You can identify the gaps in their efforts and also borrow from them to streamline your PR activities for improved customer satisfaction and forging long-lasting relationships.
Evaluate the prices and other finances related to their products and services
In a competitive market, your digital marketing strategies must be backed by a clear financial edge over your competitors without compromise on the quality of the services/products provided by you.
Financial viability is one of the core fundamentals of competition in business. One of the tried and tested ways of offering more bang for the buck to your customers is adding extra features/benefits at the same price to the products you offer that are similar to products from your competitors.
Competitor analysis allows you to study the features and benefits provided by your competitors on their offerings, and therefore, provides you with a blueprint of where and how you may add those extra benefits without incurring losses in the production costs.
Learn about their overall brand positioning
Upon evaluating the aspects such as SEO tactics, social media channels, website traffic details, price check, quality and type of content, ad campaign data, etc., of a competitor, you will be able to form a concrete understanding of their brand positioning.
Understanding what a competitor is aiming for with their positioning in the market lets you figure out whether they are trying to cater to an audience that prefers luxury or one that seeks affordability (or maybe a mix of both). You will be able to review the same based on a company’s mission statement, branding strategy, and tagline.
The benefit of doing so is that it tells you where your competition stands to your business. This allows you to think of ways in which you may further improve your value proposition for your customers and become an authoritative voice in your niche and neighborhood.
Finally, be informed on their customer acquisition and sales process
Having mapped out and fairly understood most of the other facets of the marketing process of your competitors now would be the time to learn about their sales and customer acquisition process. You understand by now how your competitors work towards luring the target audience towards their products and services, and all you need to find out is their reeling in tactics.
To start with, it’s not an easy task to undertake as digging up and accessing correct information on the customer acquisition process is the tricky part. Gaining access to the tip of the sales funnel of your competitors may be eased through the help of ex-employees, interviews of company officials, and data leaks. The probability of these tricks cannot be guaranteed though.
If nothing else works, you may finally resort to the oldest trick in the book — you can become a customer and get first-hand experience of the sales process opted by a competitor. This will equip you with most of the necessary information to improve and add to your customer acquisition process as an extension of your digital marketing endeavors.
It’s time to put into practice what you have learned
To sum up your competitor analysis, you need to compile the findings on various fronts and develop an action plan for implementing required changes to your business’s digital marketing strategies. Conduct a SWOT analysis of all compiled data(strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) and work towards gaining an overall edge over the competition.
Make sure that your digital marketing strategies don’t become stagnant once you start seeing successful results. The idea behind competitor analysis is to give you all relevant information on your competition so that you can evolve your strategies to stay on top of the game and not let them beat you in the market.
Last thoughts on a digital marketing competitor analysis
To conclude, it’s safe to say that competitor analysis is a powerful tool to learn about the strengths and vulnerabilities of other players in your niche. Once you have analyzed the gaps in their implementation, you will be able to fill them up and eventually gain an unassailable lead over them.