It's all very well focusing on your own business and avoiding dangerous shifts in direction by mimicking your competitors. But knowing your enemy can help you beat them in business. The better you are able to do competitive research, the better you can adjust your own marketing strategy. It's not wise to change your business model just because something's working for another business. But knowing your competitors' strengths and weaknesses is a key to gaining better market share. Copying what works is just plain good business sense.
The better you are able to analyze and compare what's working for your competitor, the more you can adjust and improve your own strategies
Monitor Website Changes
Knowing when your competitor has changed or updated his website helps you keep ahead of their marketing strategies. If your business is a local gym and your main competitor is running special offers on their homepage, you’d want to know about the offers as they are updated, right? It helps to keep up with the tactics other businesses are using to get customers. If you don’t know about them, you can’t evaluate and adjust (if required) your own marketing strategies.
Visual Ping is a tool that lets you monitor websites for changes. Keep an eye on the competition’s special offers pages or pricing pages. Get an alert when their front page has a makeover.
Backlink analysis helps your marketing strategy in the following ways
- Shows you which types of businesses and websites are interested in the topics, products, and articles on your competitor’s website. You and your competitor are in the same industry (in most cases), so this information can be used to create new content or new products that might also appeal to these linking websites (or similar websites).
- Uncovers websites that might be interested in linking to your site.
- Provides anchor text information. Anchor text is the words or phrases that people use when linking to another site. An example might be “Fat Frog Media” as anchor text and the HTML link is https://fatfrogmedia.com. The words and phrases used can help to influence rankings.
These backlink checker tools help you discover who is linking to your website and your competitor’s websites:
Keyword Ranking Analysis
What organic keywords are competitors' sites ranking for? If you’re not doing keyword research, you’re missing out on valuable marketing intelligence. SE ranking allows you to see your competitor’s search engine positions for tracked keywords and compare them to your own positions. This is invaluable for improving the search engine reach of your target keywords.
It doesn’t matter how good your content marketing is if someone else has a higher ranking for the keywords that bring in traffic.
SR Ranking is a great keyword tool that also offers website audit and PPC analysis.
As well as providing the keywords that your competitors are ranking for, Ahrefs will also let you see the frequency at which your competitors publish blog posts and how often they update content. If you're looking to spot emerging trends, a good place to start is watching what prolific publishers in your space put out in terms of content. Ahrefs is also a superb tool that will help you discover new trends and keywords.Big players in a niche usually have their finger on the pulse of trends and will start posting regular content long before their competitors are posting anything.
Your business rival’s content, social media posts, and online mentions are a gold-mine of data to help you improve your own marketing. What if you could get notified the instant someone mentions your competitor online? Use brand monitoring apps to get alerts when your competitors brand name, keywords, or industry are mentioned.
Professional brand monitoring tools to monitor your target keywords include
Set up your keywords and find out when your competitors talk about something or the industry talks about them.
- your competitor posts a new blog article
- when someone tweets, comments, or posts an article on social media (Google, Facebook, Twitter)
Another great use for Awario is monitoring keyword phrases that can help you acquire customers. For example, let’s imagine you have a yoga studio local business. You can monitor the internet for phrases like “Looking for a good yoga studio nearby”, or “can anyone recommend a yoga class in town?”. You, or your marketing team, can pick up the email alerts and respond to the mentions. Help them with their queries and score new clients. Easy.
Want to know what type of website your competitor uses? Would you like to try the technology your competitor is using for their marketing campaigns?
Built With is a free tool that gives you a ton of information on a website's tech and marketing tools.
BuiltWith will also show you the website’s email tools, content management system (if used), content delivery network, and some of the plugins used.
The chrome extension WhatRuns is another excellent tool for checking a website’s tech stack and marketing tools.
Facebook Spy Tool
For most businesses, social media profiles exist for brand awareness. Certain niches are suited to social media traffic generation but for the majority of websites, social just doesn’t send customers like organic, paid, and referral traffic. But that’s no reason to ignore it. The benefits of brand awareness can’t be understated. Why do you think Coca-Cola and Nike advertise so heavily when everyone knows who they are?
Facebook and Instagram are two of the biggest social media platforms and are ideal places to monitor your competitors. Use Likealyzer to see what's working for your competitor on Facebook. Find out which posts get the most likes and shares.
Google Ads Spy Tools
Many Google Ads managers don’t realise that you can see what keywords the competition are bidding on. Google's Auction insights lets you see how your ads compare to their ads in the auction (position, relevance, the percentage of clicks, etc).
These tools are free but often get left ignored. That's a pity because they offer insights into the ad strategies of websites in your niche. know your enemy well if you want to beat them.
Once you’ve received the minimum threshold of activity (determined by Google) you can use the auction insights tab to check how your ads perform against your competitors.
Email Marketing Analysis
If your competitors are big on email, it’s worth analysing what they are doing to market to their audience via this channel. Email is still the best marketing channel based on ROI so it can’t be ignored.
Owletter lets you receive and analyse your competitor’s marketing emails.
As they say, great artists copy. Take inspiration from the emails and emulate anything that looks like it could resonate with your audience. Owletter is also handy for storing all those email newsletters that fill your main inbox.
Which marketing tools do you use to beat your competitors with?
Keith is the founder of Fat Frog Media. He has worked in the tech, fitness, food, and hospitality industries. Keith helps businesses improve their marketing and conversion rates.