How to monitor your competitors and create strategies to have a head start

How to monitor your competitors and create strategies to have a head start

Before you even start a business you have to monitor your competitors. Check out our tips and learn how to extract data that will help improve your business

I once read a text on the Internet comparing the business world to war. Just like on the battlefield, the entrepreneur has to do everything to stand out.

Despite being an exaggeration (it’s not about doing anything, but doing the right things), it was very clear what the author meant when he talked about getting a competitive advantage for your business.

One way to get this advantage is monitoring your competitors to see what they are doing. This way, you can offer unique products and services.

Check out our tips and learn how to extract data that will help improve your business!

Why should you monitor your competitors?

Your mission as an entrepreneur is to convince users who already consume products in the same category as yours that your solution is ideal for them.

To discover strategies to come out ahead of your competition, you need, first of all, to know what they are doing.

If you don’t know the niche you are working in well and who the leaders in your market are, it is difficult to offer unique products and services.

And in the digital market, which is driven by innovation, it is only possible to do something different if you know what your competitors are already doing.

Watching your main competitors is also fundamental to set goals for your business because it helps you understand where you are in the market and where you want to get.

Tips for making an assertive analysis

Nowadays, thanks to the Internet, it has become much easier to gather information on your competitors.

Just a quick search on major search engines is enough to find out the company’s website, its social media and even blogs that speak well or poorly about that product/service.

But, precisely because of that amount of information, it is now more difficult to collect data that really make a difference to your business.

To optimize your time, we’ve come up with a list of tips that will help you make a more assertive analysis of your competition.

Ask the right questions

Before you even search the name of your competitor on the Internet, you need to ask the right questions, to collect and analyze only what is relevant to improve your product or service.

Mapping the strengths and weaknesses of your competition will give you the necessary information to neutralize your opponent and score many points with the audience you want to reach.  

Do you want an example?

Imagine your competitor has a YouTube channel and a website that is out-of-date. Your focus is to find out the strategies she uses on YouTube.

Of course, you need to make an analysis of the website, but that doesn’t need to be your focus.

Analyze your competitor’s communication channels

Analyzing your competitors’ websites is a great way to understand how they relate to the audience.

What kind of content do they post? How often? Is the website responsive? These are all questions that will provide you with insights to improve your own website and offer a complete experience for your user.

Identify the strengths on your competitor’s website and see if you can adjust them for your business venture.

Remember that adjusting does not mean doing exactly the same thing. Your actions must be guided by the interests of your buyer persona and always taking into consideration the size of your business.

Translation: not everything that works for the others will work the same way for you.

Monitor social media

The second best place to monitor your competition is social media.

There, in addition to identifying the discourse they use to sell, you’ll see how they deal with their own customers, what the users’ perception of them is, among other factors.

The tip to optimize this analysis is to create a spreadsheet (you can do that on Excel or even on files in the cloud) and list the names of all your competitors and the social media in which they have active profiles.

And by active, I mean profiles that are constantly updated.

Start by Facebook, which is the social networking site with the most users in the world. Then, visit the other profiles on different networks such as Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, and Google Plus. Always prioritize those that concentrate a greater number of potential customers.

To identify the level of influence of your competitor in the market, you can use Klout.

Klout is an analytical tool that crosses different social media information and establishes a value of 0 to 100, taking into account the involvement of users in those pages (the more engagement, the greater the influence).

So, don’t be alarmed when you find a profile with many followers because these numbers don’t mean much unless they actually interact with the posts.

Focus on the competitors you want to surpass

As obvious as it may seem, the process of monitoring the competition consists in finding ways to surpass Producers and companies that sell more than you.

If you are going to worry about all the companies that sell similar products to yours, you won’t have time to manage your business.

Therefore, it is important to keep in mind which competitors offer high-quality products, who inspired you to enter your market or you want to surpass.

Do a keyword search and find out Producers and companies that are leading the search for terms that you want to rank.

The more specific your keyword is, the smaller the search volume will be so it will be easier to lead organic searches for that term.

Photography, for example, is a very broad segment, which means that websites that appear in the first places of the search already have their domains consolidated. While for underwater photography, competition will certainly be smaller.   

Write down 10 competitors that have more significant traffic than yours. These are the ten websites that you should examine up close to find out the strategies that work better for your market.

Subscribe to get content from your competitor

One of the main advantages of the Internet is how easy it is to start an online dialogue. Take advantage of this to monitor what your competitor is saying to his base.

Use your personal email to subscribe to your competitor’s newsletter, get in touch with her support team and, if possible, interact on social media.

These interactions will help you identify the subjects and the kind of language that appeals to your target audience, as well as the strategies implemented by your competitor to nurture the relationship with her customers.

Record all data

Monitoring the competition cannot be something specific, it is a process that must be carried out periodically, especially in the market of digital products, where the tools often change.

But, more important than establishing a frequency, is to use the collected data to draw up an action plan to implement significant improvements in your business.

Helpful tools to monitor your competitors

If you made it this far, you’ve already understood why you need to monitor your competitor and how to do it.

Probably, you must be worried about the amount of work ahead of you, right?

But you can rest assured that you do not need to gather these data manually, there are several tools that will help you monitor your competition up close.

It is worth remembering that most of the tools I’m going to mention here offer free and paid versions for users, the latter offering more features if you want to collect more data.

Google Alerts

Google alerts is a very simple tool and pretty easy to use. All you have to do is register your competitor’s name in the tool that it will send you reports by email, whenever your competitor is mentioned on the Internet.

It also works to monitor keywords that you want to track related to your business.

Example: You have an online course on growing a kitchen garden and want to monitor terms such as vertical garden and greenhouses to keep yourself up-to-date about the main trends in your market.

SEMrush

SEMrush is one of the most practical tools for those who are starting to invest in digital marketing, because it offers complete reports both from your site, as your competitors’.

Simply access the platform and enter the competitor’s website that you want to evaluate, or even an internal page like a blog post, for example, that it will provide information about the organic traffic of this page, its placement in keyword rankings, among other information that can help you determine the strengths and weaknesses of your competition.

Social mention

Social Mention is another tool that can be used to find mentions about your competition.

Just enter a term into the search bar, which may be your business keyword or the name of your competitor, and Social Mention “sweeps” all search engines to find out what was said about that term across all social media.

You can see how often your competitor has been mentioned, how often this happens and, of course, see what the users are talking about her, from compliments to complaints.

Finding out users’ perceptions of a particular company, product, or service will help you understand how the relationship between consumers and the brand works. And you can find loopholes to lure your competitor’s audience to consume on your page.

SimilarWeb

With SimilarWeb is possible to obtain traffic information from any website, its position in the world ranking, in the ranking by country and even the number of weekly visitors that that website received in the last six months.

You can also find out where the visitors from that page came from social media, search engines, or ads.

This is important to:

Identify who your business’ main competitors are

Imagine that you have a product with national range, your focus should be to compete with companies/Producers that lead the ranking in your country, instead of a product that is well known internationally but has no representativity for your buyer persona.

Indicate the best ways to promote your product:

Knowing where most of your competitor’s traffic is coming from is useful to optimize your promotion on these channels.

Moz

On its website, Moz presents itself as a company that offers resources and tools to optimize the marketing of companies that advertise their products on the internet.

Even though the platform is focused on solutions and improvements to the user’s website, there are also features that can be used to check the strength of your competitor’s domain.

Like the Open Site Explorer, in which you search and compare the quality of the backlinks that lead to your website with the backlinks that lead to your competitor’s website.

Backlinks are third-party links that direct to other websites, indicating that content is relevant to people.

The quality of backlinks depends on the strength of the website that gave that referral. This means that it is better for your website to be indicated by a domain which is considered an authority on the subject, rather than getting several backlinks from smaller websites and blogs.

The Fresh Web Explorer is another example of a tool made available by Moz to track mentions about your business and on your competitor.

Having this data in hand, you will be able to develop a strategy to optimize your page whether by establishing better partnerships, improving the quality of the content you share, or even changing your keywords.

Keep an eye on SERP

SERP stands for Search Engine Results Page.

This is a technical term to describe the page where organic results show up (without ads) or the list of websites more relevant to that keyword.

Why should I monitor pages that are on my SERP?

  • 94% of the links that people click are organic, unpaid results.
  • 68% of all organic search clicks go to the first three results.
  • 75% of users never make it past the first page of the search results.

Not always websites that lead organic search are on the same segment as you, or even sell a product. But even so, they continue attracting clicks from users that could be converting on your website.

To lead the rankings you need continuous SEO work and to optimize your page and social media, but this is a subject for another post.

 

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