8 Questions to ask about your Competitors' Online Marketing
Chapter 3 of the digital marketing strategy guide
Are you shy to look at what your competitors are doing? Or, on the contrary, are you obsessed with the fact many are better than you at digital marketing?
Understanding, modelling and building your online marketing upon what your competitors and similar companies are doing will save you lots of time and money. It will also give you a good feel of the state of the industry and the marketing methods used by similar businesses, which will make you smarter in the long run.
I’m aware that looking at your competitors can urge you to imitate them. But worry not. If you have already watched the Chapter 1 video, you should already know your unique messages and values, which give you a solid pillar upon which to look at what others are doing without losing track of who you are.
Sometimes you need to come to terms with the fact that many competitors will be ahead of you in marketing. Many entrepreneurs procrastinate and don’t look at competitors because it can become apparent they are way behind. This feels bad, and what many resolve to do is to turn a blind eye and remain paralysed. This attitude will ensure you lose the game, and if you grow your business online it will be due to a stroke of luck.
This is wrong because it is one thing to build a system but quite another to make it work consistently and effectively. If your competitors are not doing the latter, you have a great opportunity to make it better than them, so that you gain more market share, more revenue and you have more time for doing only the work you love. And because you will have studied them you will know what it means to be better than them.
Looking at your competitors as an inspiration and not as a threat will prompt you to complete your market research, be the best you can be and massively attract customers.
Disclosure: In order to truly understand your competitors you need to know the whole process before and after the sale. However, the focus of this chapter is on pre-sales marketing and modelling on your competitors and industry peers.
How to do brilliant competitor analysis online?
Find 1-3 competitors who are doing something similar to you and are…well, getting more online business than you.
You can Google your main keywords and scan the search results to identify brands you could realistically render obsolete within 3 years’ time.
For each one, here are 8 questions that you can ask before analysing your competitors. Completing a competitor analysis report and finding answers can be inexpensive if you follow these questions and you limit your time in answering them.
1. Looking at the meta data, would you say they have optimised the website for search engines?
Use Screaming Frog to crawl their website and look at their meta titles and meta descriptions. Titles need to look natural and not filled by keywords. They should be less than 65 characters and look easy to read.
Meta description unique and…yes, descriptive.
This simple exercise can tell you whether they have been working on their SEO for the past few months. If they haven’t, here is an opportunity to start optimising your pages and articles.
2. What kind of transactional experience do they have on the website?
Put yourself in a potential customer’s shoes, read their copy and proceed to make a purchase or to contact them for more information. How do you find the experience? Is it easy? Do you feel compelled to get in touch or buy from them?
3. What kind of useful and informative content do they offer?
Are they using content marketing to provide valuable information to visitors and convey trust in them?
If so, how do they achieve that? Are they using interesting blogs, guides, infographics or anything else?
4. Is their blog active?
Check the publishing dates of their blog. It is very common for companies to start blogging enthusiastically and then stopping as they don’t see immediate results after 4 blog posts. You can fill this gap by persevering in your blogging.
5. What are, according to Buzzsumo, their most popular content?
Go to Buzzsumo.com and search for your competitor’s URL. What content have they created that has been heavily shared on social media?
You will find some patterns of the topics and the elements that resonate with people.
6. Do they interact with people on social media?
It is key to do some social media competitor research. Social media is made for communicating with people while many brands excessively promote themselves without giving much in return.
Look at their followers’ comments but most specifically at the brands’ responses to those comments.
Are they helping people or are they simply selling themselves?
It is good to benchmark their social media metrics so that you can guide yourself as you grow. But most important is the quality of those interactions and the leads you get from social media, which you can analyse on Google Analytics.
7. What sort of keywords are they ranking for on Google?
Go to SEMRush, add your competitors’ URL and look at the positions report. If you don’t have a SEMRush license you can get some competitor keyword research insights from their free trial. This will give you an idea of what keywords they are targeting through SEO. There might be some which you have not thought of yet.
8. How active are they with paid media?
Go back to SEMRush, this time to their ‘paid advertising’ report. Look at the keywords your competitors are targeting. This will give you an indication whether it would be worth it for you to spend some money on Google Adwords or Facebook ads, because if others are bidding for them the chances are they are getting some ROI, something you could model.
Let me know your experiences with analysing competitors.
If you need more help we are offering a complimentary 2-hour session where we will look at your brand and tell you exactly what you need to do to improve your digital visibility and multiply your customers.