Survey your market and come out on top
If you’ve got a product or service to sell then your marketing and advertising has to be on top form.
Thankfully, being the best has only one simple requirement: be better than what else is out there. This means that a successful marketing strategy must include detailed research of what else is being offered in your market – it takes time, effort and attention, but you want to be the best, right?
The condensed process boils down to identifying your competition, recognising their strengths and weaknesses and harnessing that knowledge to come out on top.
This process is not about the theft ideas from your competitors, though it’s great for inspiration! The key is to spot untapped areas (the weaknesses of your competition) of the market and push them as USPs. A thorough knowledge of your competition’s marketing technique will allow you to improve your strategy on all fronts, from PPC through to content and even SEO.
So, now that the general procedure has been outlined, here’s the five areas of competition that you should be keeping an eye on:
‘Link juice’, the mystical metaphorical potion created whenever a website is linked to, is incredibly valuable to those seeking a better ranking on search engines. Basically, it increases a website’s authority in the eyes of Google & Co, as well as those who search on these engines.
Scouting the whereabouts of links which direct to your rivals is a long-established SEO tactic. Has a local competitor been guest blogging? Research the integrity of the site that’s hosting their blogs! If it’s shady, steer clear; if it’s authentic, maybe chase up a guest blog of your own.
There’s an array of tools online that scrape the links for you, enabling you to streamline your analysis. Check out Ahrefs for a great example of this.
When calculating the worth of a backlink, ensure that you take into consideration the metric score as well as other authoritative details before coming to a conclusion and potentially pursuing it for your own business.
A business’s social media is like a clear window to their self-image. Observing the way a brand presents itself on social media is an incredibly simple way to measure its values, tone and voice. It also gives you an insight into what particular USPs or promotions are currently being pushed. Is there a Twitter campaign that’s plugging a new service? Is their LinkedIn full of recruiting vibes? There is a wealth of data to sample from social media and similarly, a plethora of tools to apply.
In the long term, outlining your competition’s entire social media plan is invaluable. Are their posts more frequent to certain platforms? Is there much engagement? Knowing the answer to these questions will give you a good grasp on what your competition’s audience profile is and by extension, your own too.
Finally, determining the ratio of content from your competition – and the engagement this content receives – is a fantastic resource when editing your own social media output. Is a similar business talking about themselves at different intervals to your own promotional material? Are they getting a worthy response? Maybe it’s time to fine-tune your social media posts, relative to the success of your competitors…
This is closely related to social media, in that it’s focusing on what’s being shared online directly echoing a brand’s image and voice. In relation to content, social media is often used for referral purposes, leading the audience to blogs and other material crafted by brands.
With the diverse array of online content, it’s important to analyse what type is popular with your market’s audience. Are one of your competitors promoting video blogs with a great reception? Maybe that’s an avenue you could delve into. Alternatively, are your competitors neglecting a particular medium of content that you believe to be a great way of marketing your service? You’ve just discovered the superiority clause in your competitor surveillance.
In parallel with social media and curated content, deployment of such content-rich campaigns such as microsites and infographics help to further solidify your brand voice and captivate audiences in emotive and practical ways.
Content marketing functions to validate your brand’s skill and expertise in a digital world where anybody can claim to do something. Not only is the inspection of your peer’s content a vital task in upgrading your marketing strategy, you might learn a thing or two as well.
It occupies both old and new school techniques. It’s been around forever and it’s sticking around because if done correctly, email marketing works.
Signing up to the newsletters of a close rival allows you to measure the marketing techniques they employ to capture and nurture people in their sales funnel.
In addition, email is another facet of a company’s tone which is always something worth measuring.
Is there a new position that your competition is vying for? Knowing what roles and skills are being pursued can give you a clue about their recruitment methods and what elements of the market are deemed important; there might even be a new industry development that other businesses are scrambling to capitalise on.
Furthermore, the level of management that companies are seeking provides an insight into their internal structure. Maybe there’s a vacancy they’re advertising that might complete your business’s structure.
Observing your peers in your market is crucial to the success of your business. By analysing the goals and activities of your competition, you can develop strategies that avoid the pitfalls they’ve fallen into whilst surmounting their strengths. Apply a keen eye and use all this information to your advantage.