In Marketing 101, we learned about setting marketing goals. As owner of a small company, your marketing goals, both in the “real world” and online, should be
- Increasing sales
- Building brand awareness
- Growing market share
- Targeting new customers
- Enhancing customer relationships
- Increasing profits
This is not news. It’s what every business aims to accomplish, when you get right down to it.
However, if you’re not making the progress you’d like reaching these goals, taking a look at what your competitors are doing might give you an idea or two about how to make some changes and move forward.
Not necessarily to copy what they are doing, but to use their successes as a guide for ways you can improve your business’s marketing efforts.
You don’t have to feel like a spy and do this on the down-low: a competitive analysis should be a part of any company marketing plan.
Using the data you uncover in the analysis, you can see how your services compare to what your competitors offer and how your online marketing efforts stack up next to theirs.
Plus - you can use the findings to determine what makes your business different and play up that difference to attract your target market.
Some questions to ask when you start on your competitive analysis include:
- What is your competition doing well? (Products, content marketing, social
- Where does your competitor have an advantage over you?
- What is your competitor’s weakest area?
- Where does your company have the advantage over your competitor?
- Are there opportunities in the market that your competitor has identified?
- Are there any keywords your competitor is using that you haven't thought of?
- What content of theirs is highly shared and linked to? How does your content compare?
- Which social media platforms is your competitor the most active on?
- What other sites are linking back to your competitor's site, but not yours?
- Who is sharing what your competitors are publishing?
Know Who Your Competitors Are
You have two kinds of competitors:
- Your Traditional or Direct Competitors. That is, companies offering the same products and services physically close to your business or that are targeting customers in the same geographic area as you.
- Your Competition in Search Results. These are the companies you’re competing against to rank for keywords related to your products and services on Google.
Chances are, your on-line competitors already have a lot invested in their keyword strategy. By using the database of search rankings available in Ahrefs, you can see the keywords they are ranking for. Use this intel to strengthen your own keywords.
Comparing Their Marketing Efforts to Yours
Once you identify your direct competitors, you can get to work checking out their marketing efforts.
Looking at your competitor's website is a good starting point. Their website content may help you hone in on their lead generating strategies.
- Do they have a blog?
- Are they creating ebooks?
- Do they post videos? webinars?
- Are they using visual content like infographics?
- Do they have a FAQs section?
- Are there featured articles? Press Releases? Before & After Case Studies?
- Are there social share buttons on each page of their website?
- Do they include clearly visible calls-to-action?
Reviewing your competitors’ most shared pieces of content will give you an idea of the type of content that does well with your shared target audience.
Using BuzzSumo, you can enter the domain names of your competitors and view detailed stats on their most shared content.
Social Media Presence
- How does your competition create engagement?
- Do they include clearly visible calls-to-action?
- How many followers do they have?
- How often and how consistently do they post?
- What kind of content are they posting?
- How many comments and shares do they get?
- Are they more focused on driving people to landing pages, resulting in new leads? Or are they posting visual content to promote brand awareness?
- How does your competition interact with their followers?
If a certain topic is generating lots of clicks for your competition, then it might be a good idea for you to write some content focused on that topic.
And if they have videos that are getting more shares than regular posts, it's time for you to step up your video posting, too.
By using what you find after completing this research, can you improve your business’s social media presence and build brand awareness, target new customers and enhance customer relationships?
Keep Track of Your Competitors' Activities
Set up Google Alerts to keep track of mentions of your competitors on the web, which in turn helps you see what kind of content is getting them online coverage. is easy—and free. You can even set up alerts for specific keywords to see who is regularly appearing on them.
can reveal the keywords your competitors are targeting for paid and organic search. You can use this information to identify any keywords they might be missing and jump on the opportunity to target these phrases.
Once you’ve determined your competitors’ keywords, use an SEO ranking tool like to track how you measure up against them. You can also use the tool to see how your competitors are performing against your target keywords.
Track any new links your competitors are getting with LinkResearchTool. It’s like Google Alerts, but only for links. You’ll get an email every time your competitor gains a new link.
Competitive analysis is an essential part of . When you know what’s working for your competition, you’ll be able to make better decisions for your own marketing tactics.
But, it’s not enough to simply match what your competitors are doing. That only keeps you from falling behind. If you want to overtake them, you have to do it better.
Sources Used in this Article and for Additional Reading