Wednesday 16 July, 2014
One of the greatest sources of information about your market is not its members themselves, but the other companies they buy from; in other words, your competitors. By watching and following the competition, you can glean many insights into your target market to help you refine your marketing strategy.
Look at your competitors’ websites and content. What relevant keywords seem to appear prominently in their titles and headers and throughout their content? There are software tools available that present analytics on the keywords other companies are using. You can use these to discover exactly which keywords your competitors are targeting. You can then outdo them with those keywords, or use this information to choose your own unique ones with no competition.
While you can’t understand your competitors’ entire marketing strategies from the inside out, you can gain insights into their traffic sources by simply looking at their websites. Look at the content they post online. Where are they getting backlinks from? This can give you ideas for your own linking strategy.
Consume your competitors’ content. What do they write or post about? Which pieces of their content are the most popular or have gone viral? You can steal content ideas from your competitors, but this research can also be used in a much more valuable way. Study their content so that you can figure out a different, unique angle you can take, or fill in the gaps with your content, covering topics they don’t cover.
How are your competitors engaging their fans? Follow your competition on social media, subscribe to their YouTube channel, read their blog, and follow them everywhere else you can. Pay attention to the ways in which they get their readers and fans active. See how they interact with them and then borrow their ideas. How can you use similar strategies to engage your audience?
Keep tabs on your competitors’ reputation online. Sign up for alerts for their name. Whenever someone posts comments about them on the internet, you’ll get an immediate notification. Search for reviews on review sites and see what customers say about them. Look at what they like and, even more importantly, what they don’t like. Areas where customers are dissatisfied are opportunities for you. You should also pay attention to how your competitors respond to this feedback.
Study your competitors’ products. Look for unique features that compel people to choose them over other companies. Pay especially close attention to how their customers view their products. You can do this by following your competitors various places online. Again, look at areas where their products need improvement and try to make these improvements with your products.
There’s a pattern to all of these methods:
* Pay attention to your competitors online so you can get ideas from them and also figure out how to make your strategy unique.
* Pay attention to their audience and customers, and how they react to your competition’s online marketing strategies.