How To Carry Out Competitive Analysis
How To Carry Out Competitive Analysis
So you have an awesome idea for a startup. Great!
Who are the people you will be competing for customers with? Do you have a detailed idea about your competition?
Don’t know? You’re in big trouble.
Unless you’re planning to sell sneakers made with materials mined from Jupiter, you’re going to be vying for a select group of customers, who are most likely already getting served by other businesses and startups.
That’s called your competition.
No marketing plan is complete without executing a complete competitive analysis during the startup months of your new business. That’s the only way to ensure you’re “barking” up the right tree and have a fighting chance.
Establishing an edge over these competitors is just part of the daily grind, but ask yourself, to what extent are you prepared to gain that edge? Simply knowing what they offer is not enough. With the advent of new software and technology, marketers, and business owners have the ability to know more about their competition than ever before.
How to Conduct Your Competitive Analysis
1. Identify Your Top Ten Competitors
Who are the top ten companies squabbling (or who will squabble) for customers with you?
Every company has those dreaded competitors they cannot stand, no matter what you do they are always using your ideas and taking your potential customers.
Whether you are a local, national, or international company you are competing with possibly hundreds, even thousands of companies going after the same group of qualified leads. Any sales team worth their salt can rattle off a list of your top competitors on request.
But what if you’re the sales team of your startup? And you don’t have that kind of superpower? Well, Google is a great resource. By simply “Googling” the type of service or product you are offering, it is pretty likely a few of your top competitors will show up.
Another great way to discover who your top competitors are is by using online tools such as SEM Rush. SEM Rush is a great software to get a look into what other companies are ranking for your keyword and how you stack up against them.
2. Finding market share
Naturally, once you have identified the competition, the second step is to know their market share. You cannot know the strengths and weaknesses of your competition unless and until you know their presence.
Thus if your product is selling in a wide region, you need to break down the region into territories and find out the share of wallet in each territory.
While doing this, you can also do a mini market research to find the reason for the sale of your competition. Is it selling because it is easily available, quality is high or the price is low. This step will help you perform a SWOT.
3. Analyze and Compare Competitor Content and Activities
Once you’ve identified your competitors, the next step in your competitive analysis is to evaluate what type of content they’re publishing.
Analyzing their content can help you determine what opportunities you have to help outperform your competitors. What types of content do your competitors focus on? Where are they placing ads? How often do they create and send out content online and offline? What topics are they frequently discussing? Are they doing anything that you aren’t?
Different types of content can include blog posts, whitepapers, eBooks, videos, webinars, podcasts, slides/powerpoints, visual content, FAQs, feature articles, press releases, news, case studies, buyer guides and so on.
Once you know what type of content and the quality of the content your competitors are publishing, it gives you a better perspective of where you need to put in more effort and resources.
If your competitors are consistently publishing case studies, this could be a part of the reason why your quality leads are going to your competitors.
If your competitors tend to blog three times a week compared to your one article every two weeks, it will be beneficial for your company to start generating more traffic to your site by blogging more frequently about relevant topics. But don’t just blog because you want to add more content, it won’t generate more traffic if the content you are adding isn’t remarkable.
4. Analyze their SEO Structure
Next question that needs answering is what kind of SEO are your competitors using?
If your company has a blog, you know how important your SEO structure is. While conducting a competitive analysis of the type of content your competitors are generating; it is also beneficial to check out the SEO structure of that content.
What types of keywords your competitors are using is very vital to conducting a proper competitive analysis. Even more, how they are using these keywords count. Also by looking at your competitors’ keywords, you can generate a list of additional keywords that you can start to target.
You may not have the same budget as your competitors. So when trying to rank for specific keywords, rather than looking for keywords that have high search volumes, look for keywords that have lower search volumes, these types of keywords tend to be long-tail keywords making the keyword more specific.
5. Look at their Social Media Integration
A company’s presence on social media is becoming increasingly important every day and every company is utilizing each platform differently.
The next step of your competitive analysis should be to determine how your competitors are using social media and integrating it into their marketing. Not only is it important to see if your competitors can be found on social media platforms but you also want to see how effectively they’re using their profiles.
What type of information are they posting? Do they ever post? Are people following them? Do they have cover photos and profile photos? Do your competitors have awesome social media profiles? If they do, how much can you learn from them?
Maybe a company might not even be a direct competitor, but find a company in your industry that’s established and develops great content, learn from key influencers in your industry.
As you carry out this competitive analysis and let it inform your startup’s marketing strategies, your competitors are going to respond. Thus competitor analysis needs implementation and updating from time to time.
For more, visit www.smefinance.org