Competitive research (and the analysis, development and application of that research) is vital to the success of most businesses. It is even critical when it comes to mobile apps and development. Not only are you spending valuable time and resources on identifying and investigating competitors to gain a larger share of your consumer base, but you are also tasked with ensuring the competition is incapable of poaching current customers. In order to stay ahead in this arena, it is necessary to adapt and change – when required – core marketing strategies, research methods and tactics to maintain an awareness of industry-general and competitor-specific marketing trends.
Identifying the competition is the first step to determining which competitors you can learn from (or should worry about), and which aren’t worth your time or energy. Differentiating between the two can make the difference between a successful, informed campaign or a failed attempt.
Google and other Search Engines
Perform a brief search (read: first two pages of results…three, max) for your product or service in Google and other search engines. Every hit that is not your company is a competitor.
Perform a query similar to the quick search you did in Google (or another search engine) and check out relevant social media: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and even Instagram or Pinterest.
The Phone Book
Though it’s hard to believe, yes, phone books are still a thing, and no, not every company has a site, blog or profile. A quick glance in the yellow pages can help find a competitor that lacks an online presence.
If you have an established online presence social media is essential, it is often beneficial to look at what your current followers, fans and friends are liking, following or sharing that isn’t from your company. Locating consumers that promote your company and a competitor’s company is a prime opportunity to earn that customer’s complete loyalty.
From your fairly simple list of competitors that you compiled with the tips from above, you should now have an idea of the general level of your competition. Your next step is to figure out which of these businesses are worthy of your attention: which company (or companies) present the greatest competitive challenge(s)?
SEO and Keywords
This, too, falls into the very obvious category. If you prefer to do this the old fashioned way, prepare to do a lot (a lot) of searching, counting and pasting. If you’re seeking to be competitive – but not necessarily seeking competitors (see the difference?) – using some free SEO tools can help you skim the surface of what the keyword world looks like in your industry.
Analytics and Engagement
Measuring the amount of engagement – replies to posts and comments, shares, retweets, etc. – is a good way to establish a baseline for the competition. if you have 100K fans and $200M in revenue, but Company XYZ has 57M fans and tens of billions of dollars in revenue, it’s pretty obvious who the competition is.
Measuring and tracking statistics about keywords, promotions, coupons, special offers, videos, posts, comments and the multitude of other data streams is a big job. There are plenty of companies that provide web analytics services for that reason. It takes a lot of experience and understanding to turn data into actionable insights. More than an average employee can handle for an average company, depending on the size of the competition pool. SEMRush and the team behind this successful, informative approach to big data and marketing offer affordable, reliable, streamlined options for identifying – and monitoring – companies of interest in your competitive field. You can find out what their doing in all areas of digital marketing, from google adwords to design changes.