Do you know your competition? Here at An.X Ltd. we want to help you understand what your competitors are doing and how they market themselves as this is a key part of developing a marketing strategy. We work with a lot of Salisbury businesses to develop a new or refine an existing marketing plan. The framework we use for client planning is based on SOSTAC, a system created by PR Smith. The very first thing you do when applying this framework is to establish where you are right now with a situation analysis, which involves a competitor review. Here are some helpful tips on how to research your competitors and some helpful Marketing tips.
So, how do you find out what they’re doing? Thankfully, it’s never been easier to check out the market.
First: The Basics
You should always start with their website(s). What information do they provide there? Do they describe customers, partners, channels, organisation structure, office locations? How about how they talk about themselves and their advantages, as they see them?
Once you’ve picked clean the site, blogs, and any other marketing material produced by them directly its time to move on to broader web-based services. There’s a great utility called the Wayback Machine (or Internet Archive) that snapshots sites – they have over 284 billion web pages archived. You can use it to see how a competitor’s site has changed over time. Enabling you to see how their positioning, product offers and so on have developed in that timeframe.
Second: Using Free Online Resources
This should be your go-to site for corporate info. With a little digging you can create a decent picture of the organisation of a business, who do what and how many reports they have. It’s even easier to simply follow a business to see when they post to their company pages and what their other followers are saying in the comments section. The free version seems to be adequate for most business users.
- Their social media channels
What do they say about themselves? How many followers and retweets do they have? Who follows them and what do they say about the company? How interactive are they with their followers, and how quickly do they respond to conversations or enquiries? Are they posting the same content across all social media platforms, if so they are not targeting the relevant audiences?
- SEM Rush
How about finding all the important keywords they’re targeting? This is the tool for that. It’ll even show you which ones perform better or worse for them, allowing you to shape your own copy.
- Similar Web
This is a good place to see what overall strategies your competition are using. You can see referring sites, search traffic, display ads and so on. Although often only estimates, you can see monthly traffic too. Comparing that to your own site’s stats can give you a point of reference for scale, even from estimates. It’s a Freemium site, so you can access limited data before you pay for a subscription, even then, its pretty good – 5 results per metric, 3 month’s history of web traffic, etc.
Another Freemium site which will help know your competition, this is where you can track competitor’s most profitable ads and keywords. Their AdHistory tool even shows you what those ads look or looked like and how successful they were at generating traffic.
There are more that I hear mentioned but I haven’t used personally. From those, you might want to check out Social Mention, Quick Sprout, Monitor Backlinks and Import.io too.
I hope that these helpful tips can benefit your business, sometimes it’s difficult to know where to start to research your competitors.
We would love your feedback on whether you have tried these out and how they have worked for your business, we’re always open for other suggestions that we may not be utilising ourselves. Please feel free to contact us or read more of about our marketing services.