Microsoft, Google, Facebook—all the significant players do more than mind their own business. Microsoft founder Bill Gates learned from former Apple CEO Steve Jobs, and vice versa. Bill Gates treats competition as something that keeps the company on its toes. Steve Jobs aimed to do things differently rather than just better than the competition.
An industry player needs to know the competition better than themselves. Otherwise, you can’t consider yourself in the playing field. Once you find out who you are competing against, you gain insight essential to upscale your marketing strategy.
But first, you have to take the competition seriously. There are misconceptions B2B companies believe that unbeknownst to them are pulling them down. Ignorance is a fatal mistake so consider what you think about these misconceptions:
- We don’t have a competitor because our product or service is unique.
- No one does it better than us. We are already light years ahead.
- We know our competition, but we don’t believe we should invest in competitive analysis.
These misconceptions result in a classic tortoise vs. the hare match. Once you trivialize competition, it is tempting to become complacent. However, it is equally important not to resort to devious plans to acquire information on the competition. In this article, we share tips and resources for useful competitor analysis.
Identifying the Competition
To begin with, do a simple Google search on your most significant industry keywords. Major brands will show up, and at this stage, you can determine:
- Competitors you already know
- Competitors who utilize Google Ads with those targeted keywords
- Keywords ranking
Determine which keywords your competitors vie for and how well they rank. You can also utilize tools like SEMRush, SpyFu, and Moz Keyword Explorer. These resources reveal paid and organic keywords, search volume, competitiveness, keyword strategy, and how to apply it.
Decoding their Marketing Strategy
After you identify the competition, do more in-depth research into your top competitors. Study their value proposition, end-to-end customer experience, and the use of paid ads. Pay-per-click ads is an effective method to boost web traffic fast.
Explore their website from their about page, shop-to-payment process, promotions, deals, new arrivals button, search bar, free shipping, contact page, and live chat. Determine which features you can add to your website. While there you can also study pricing and later compute an average to avoid price disparity. Utilize different tools to find out which advertising, tracking, and analytics use your competitors use for their website.
Study their Content Marketing Strategy
As you go through B2B companies like your own, you may find that the majority don’t keep an up-to-date blog. There is a lot of room for thought leaders in B2B. Blogs, podcasts, and video content are content types you can leverage to scale your business. Publishing valuable content can boost organic search ranking in the long-term. Buzzsumo is an excellent tool that helps you find viral content in your line of business and how they fare in social media shares.
Look at their Social Media Presence
Social media is also an excellent place to get information about competitors as well as customers. You gain insight into what type of content customers like to see, share, and like. You can also create targeted personas with the information you acquire on competitors’ social media.
The Influencers Behind their Campaigns
Customer reviews can influence the purchasing decision of potential customers. Your competitor may be using top companies, a celebrity, an industry authority, or someone with lots of social media followers to promote their campaigns.
It’s not enough to rely on word of mouth from your customers. If you can build relationships with influencers and encourage them to help you with promotion, you reap more traffic and revenue. Moz Open Site Explorer is a great tool to help you find influencers that promote your business.
Study their Method of Acquiring an Email List
It is easier to direct an email marketing campaign at a more focused group of demographics. Consider how the competition does it. Do they have a pop-up newsletter signup on their website? Do they have promotional content like a free guide, ebook or webinar in exchange for customers email addresses?
A horse never runs so fast as when he has other horses to catch up and outpace.
Knowledge of your competition helps your business stay on track with industry trends. Whether it is the utilization of live chat, viral content, influencers, organic, and paid ads, you can determine which strategies have worked for the competition. Then, you can develop your marketing strategy with a more informed gameplan in mind.