You know that running a successful business is not a passive endeavor. You continually evaluate your company’s success markers. Profit margin, material expenses, lead generation, and website conversion rates are indicators you follow closely. In addition to keeping an eye on your own business, are you also watching your competition? If you are not, you should be! Engaging in regular competitive analysis can provide you with invaluable insights that translate into a solid competitive edge.
What are the Benefits of Tracking Your Competition?
Competitor tracking provides a great way to benchmark the performance of your business against the industry. Examining and understanding how your competitors are doing can bring to light areas where your company is falling short or could be doing even better and adjust your strategies accordingly.
Keeping a watchful eye on competitors is also beneficial for revealing market trends, identifying new opportunities, or preparing for market changes such as:
- an early indicator of a changing customer preference or market demand
- a product or service gap that your business is uniquely positioned to fill
- a disruptive innovation, or a new market entrant
Seven Simple Ways to Track Your Competitors
You are probably well aware of who your competitors are, and may even cringe a little when you hear them mentioned. Make a list of those names. Include businesses that are both direct competitors (those with identical offerings) and indirect competitors (those with related offerings).
Now, your mission is to gather as much information as possible about them. Create a digital inventory of their marketing materials, website content, social media posts, customer reviews, and similar details. You can use Google Docs or even a simple Microsoft Word document to collect your findings.
Here are seven simple suggestions to guide you in this endeavor:
1. Check Out Their Websites
A great way to track competing businesses is to keep an eye on their websites. Pay attention to product updates, pricing changes, and content additions. Evaluate their website’s user experience and note any features or design elements that seem effective.
2. Monitor Their Social Media
If your competitors use social media platforms, follow their handles. Set up alerts to be notified of their posts and mentions of their brand. This will help you evaluate their social media engagement, content strategy, and customer interactions.
3. Participate in Industry Events Where Your Competitors Are
Participate in industry conferences, trade shows, and webinars where your competitors might be present. This can give you firsthand insights into their strategies, product launches, and networking opportunities.
4. Read the Customer Feedback About Those Competitors
Study customer reviews and comments about your competitors’ products or services. This can provide insights into their strengths and weaknesses from a customer’s perspective.
5. Conduct a SWOT Analysis on Each One
SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) of the competition is a structured approach that can help you better understand their position in the market and where you may be able to secure an advantage.
6. Set Up Regular Competitor Reporting
Tracking the competition is something that should be done on a regular basis. Set up a system for regular reporting and analysis of your competitors’ activities to ensure you’re always up-to-date with the latest developments.
7. Use Competitive Analysis Tools
Consider investing in competitive analysis tools that will provide in-depth insights into your competitors’ online presence, keywords, traffic sources, and more. Examples include:
Semrush – Competitor tools including traffic analytics, organic keyword research, advertising research, and social media tracking.
Mention – Easily monitor over 1 billion sources across the web daily, including press articles, review sites, forums, and blogs.
Visualping – Enter sites you want to track and when a change is detected, you’ll be notified with a screenshot of the page, highlighting what’s changed.
Ahrefs – Track competition with a suite of tools including site explorer, site audit, keywords explorer, content explorer, and rank tracker.
SimilarWeb – Digital research and marketing tools including market research, company research, competitive analysis, benchmarking, and more.
As previously mentioned, competition tracking is an ongoing activity. The idea is not to duplicate their every move but rather stay informed and agile in a dynamic business market. Strategies like benchmarking, identifying trends, and uncovering opportunities will help you position your business for long-term success.
Ready to learn more competitive analysis and other marketing strategies? Contact the Upright team to discuss your business and digital marketing goals.