In today’s world, every other brand on the market seeks to stay above the competition. And in the wake of doing so, most marketing analysts and budding entrepreneurs perform thorough analysis by researching and monitoring their competition on a constant basis. Sharp analysts are highly trained individuals, skilled in studying how brands interact with customers, how their behavior is with customers, what actions are they taking to fulfill their requests, what steps are they taking to retain them and how are they breathing the essence of loyalty in them?
Recently, Smart Insights TFM&A conducted a detailed study where they analyzed different companies implementing digital marketing strategies. They realized that more than 50% of such organizations have a well-thought-out and well-defined digital strategy. And an integral part of their digital marketing strategy focused on studying their competitor’s strengths and weaknesses by performing a comprehensive competitive analysis.
Brands these days are performing micromanagement to better understand their customers. You need to make sure that when a customer chooses your brand, they are fully confident in their choice.
Besides, competitor analysis is also very important for any business because it helps to rank your brand higher among other similar brands ranking on Search Engines. It helps you identify which other similar products on the market are the greatest threats for your business and how exactly can you beat them.
If you don’t invest your time in studying the competition, you are simply risking your business to failure.
The Significance of Analyzing Your Competitor Website
According to a 2012 study performed by Fleishman-Hillard of Digital Influence, more than 89% of prospects active on the Internet seemed more inclined towards researching the product/service before purchasing.
For brands, performing competitive analysis has become more of a necessity than just a need. Every time a customer comes across your product/service, the psychological mind urges them to explore other similar products/services on the market and perform a price comparison. This is why most entrepreneurs are always focused on leaving an everlasting first impression on the customer.
Step by Step Method to Conduct a thorough Competitive Analysis
Step # 1: Search Up & Organize Your Direct/Non-Direct Competitors
Knowing your customers better than anyone else is the first step. Whether you like it or not, competitors like you are out there investing a whole lot of time, budget and energy in studying the customers.
When you are researching for customers, you need to address the following three conditions:
- Understand their strengths and weaknesses.
- Learn how to position a business in front of them.
- Study your competition and see what they are doing to entice the same customer group.
When you are addressing the above three conditions, you are performing competitive intelligence gathering.
All such information greatly helps managers and executives make strategic decisions for their brand.
Find Your Competitors
Now one can find competitors on a large number of websites; however, the best place to find them is Google and Amazon. You can start out by simply searching for other similar business names, product names, and other associated ideas with the service or product you wish to research upon.
When competitors start appearing in your search results, chase them down on different social channels. See how others are reviewing these services on their websites and review forums. Learn how they are earning an edge above and below the rest of the competition within the market.
There is no harm in keeping a competitor analysis template at hand to record all valuable information.
Now Categorize Them
Once you have identified all your competitors, the next step is to organize them accordingly. Some brands will parallel themselves and get close enough to what you are offering. Other brands will simply offer something completely different but are ranked on keywords that belong to your product/service.
Hence it is important that you sort them out based on their respective priorities.
High Priority Competition – Primary competitors are the ones who are offering the same exact product as you are. They are your direct competitors and are the most lethal threat for your brand. For an instant, you are selling your own manufactured glasses and another competitor is selling the same product under their brand and targeting the same audience demographics as you.
Medium Priority Competition – Secondary competitors are the ones who are selling similar products to a certain extent or completely different products within your target market. A good example of secondary competition is that you are selling own manufactured sunglasses in Dubai and someone else is distributing them.
Low Priority Competition – Tertiary competitors are not your direct competition but are tangent to the product/service you are selling in the market. They can be selling products that entice the same customers you are planning to target. The best example of tertiary competition is that you are selling your own manufactured sun-glasses and someone is selling hats to keep people out of the sun.
Step # 2: Time to Take a peek inside their Website & Tap Into their Customer Experience
After assembling and categorizing your competitors in one place, your next step should be to visit their websites. When you visit the competitor websites, observe the following from a customer experience point of view:
- How are they displaying their product/service to the customers? Are they using a strong visual approach to entice the customers or a more informative and educational approach?
- What are the potential gaps in information being displayed on the website?
- How have they placed call-to-action buttons on their website? Are the color scheme and positioning in coherence with the overall website design?
- How have they positioned their social media icons?
- Are they running a blog page? What kind of topics are they covering? What is their content strategy?
- Have they made their website mobile-optimized to give a better user experience on smart devices?
- How much time are they taking to respond back to the emails of customers? Are they using an auto-responder? And after the auto-response, how much time do they take to reach out?
- What are the taglines, headlines, and other bold information on their website which catch attention?
These are just a few questions which you can ask yourself before you dig deep into your competitor’s website. Each competitor website which you visit will have a completely unique strategy.
In fact, you can make separate columns in the competitor analysis template which you are using and answer these questions after studying the competitors. In this way, you will collect valuable information.
Altogether, in-depth research will enable you to adapt to a more dynamic approach in brand-building.
Step # 3: Study Your Competitors Market Position
A research performed by Chitika Insights reveals that more than 60% of clicks take place on the first three links appearing on the first page of Google. These three links make up the major incoming traffic.
Hence, it is highly advised that you thoroughly study the competitors appearing on the first three links of Google on the desired search terms which are associated with your product/service on the Internet. These competitors can give you a better insight into what’s working perfectly for them which isn’t working for the rest.
This will enable you to get a firmer grip on your market position.
Go ahead and take a look at their websites and ask the following questions:
- How have they studied their target audience and how are they giving them what they want?
- What is their value proposition? what steps are they taking to improve the lives of their customers?
- What is the tone in which they are carrying out each of their segments; casual or formal?
- How are they showcasing their expertise & what makes them the best alternative to customers?
Answering such questions will help you know your competition better from the customer perspective. You will also understand why search engines have favored their content as compared to other keyword optimized similar products/services within the market. All such information contributes towards playing out your long term strategy to position your brand in the market.
Step # 4: Take a Better Look at Their Pricing Plan
One of the most important aspects of your online business is none other than setting the right pricing plan. It’s one of the major factors which will play a key role in helping your brand stand above the competition.
Start out by observing how your competitors are pricing the products. In this way, you will get connected with what your target market is willing to pay and understand what price works best for your business.
A great help which you can avail is by gathering information on a market position and figuring out what you’re selling to your customers. As a target market, you should be willing to pay more for better peace of mind.
Also, it would be wise to factor in all the research you have completed when setting up shop and handling big business costs, keeping all the pricing plans into consideration. I am sure all that information will be present in your competitor analysis template, the one which you have chosen.
Wrapping it Up
Performing a competitive analysis doesn’t require you to keep an eye out for competitors like a sharp-eyed hawk all the time; instead, you can keep track of a few things and in return, help yourself gain a good amount of information on your competitor. Keep a competitor analysis template at your beck and call at all times and update it with valuable information that you can find on your customers.
In case you are struggling with performing a competitor analysis on your customers, you can always hire an SEO marketing agency such as ours. Our SEO specialists are highly skilled in performing market research and finding out how other competitors are different from your product.