If you want your business to benefit from digital marketing, you’ll obviously need to develop a solid strategy for your content and marketing efforts. However, many businesses overlook a very important aspect of digital marketing strategy: the competition.
Do you know how you measure up against your competitors from a digital marketing standpoint? Have you considered checking out the competition’s strategy to increase the efficacy of your own? Do you know what a competitor analysis is, or how often you should perform one?
Don’t make the mistake of overlooking the competition as you develop and refine your digital marketing strategy. Here’s what you need to know about keeping an eye on your competitors.
Why Should You Monitor Competitors?
There are quite a few reasons why you should monitor your competitor’s digital marketing strategy. Let’s take a look at the most important.
You’ll learn what’s working for them.
The most apparent reason for monitoring the competition is because by doing so, you’ll get an idea of what’s working for others in your industry. For example, your competitor may have a wildly successful social media campaign. While you won’t want to steal their ideas, knowing that their content is engaging and shareable will allow you to incorporate your own ideas into your digital presence.
You’ll learn what’s not working for them.
A successful digital marketing strategy is one that’s always evolving. As your competition refines their strategy, they’re bound to make some mistakes. By watching them, you have the opportunity to learn from those mistakes. For instance, you may learn that they recently launched a PPC campaign that flopped. Learn from their mistakes and save yourself valuable time and money.
You’ll identify the white space in the market.
In every industry, there’s “white space.” This is true for products and services, but it’s also true for your digital marketing strategy. Take a look at what your competitor is not doing, then do it. Consumers today are constantly bombarded with advertisements, whether it be through email, banner ads or even social media. Identify a new way to reach your target audience – one that’s not used by the competition, and you’ll find you’re ahead of the curve.
You’ll be better able to assist and understand their underserved customers.
Consumers today don’t hesitate to share their experiences with a brand. They’ll post reviews, post to social media or otherwise make their feelings public. Use this to your advantage. By listening to the competition’s customers, you can learn more about your target consumer as well as what your competition may be doing that’s displeasing those customers.
Free Strategies for Monitoring Your Competitors
You now know why monitoring the competition can help you develop your digital marketing strategy. However, you may be unsure how to proceed. Here are five free ways you can stay up to date on your competitor’s digital marketing.
Read their blogs and newsletters.
It’s simple enough: subscribe to the competition. Sign up for the product updates, the email newsletter and follow them on social media. By doing so, you’ll learn how your competitor is targeting consumers and may give you some ideas to implement into your own strategy.
Use Google Alerts.
Google Alerts is another free tool you can use to keep up to date on your competition’s marketing efforts. Add the company name to your list, then add a few relevant keywords. For example, you may subscribe to Pencils Are Us to begin with. However, you’ll also want to add Alerts such as Pencils Are Us “product updates,” and Pencils Are Us “corporate responsibility.”
When you subscribe to your competition via Google Alerts, you’ll get a great idea for trending content ideas and get a general idea of how the company is doing with PR. As an aside, while you’re subscribing to the competition’s Google Alerts, it would be wise to also subscribe to your own!
Use the Facebook Pages to Watch feature.
Facebook offers a fantastic tool for monitoring the competition. It’s called Pages to Watch, and it’s free to use. Simply go to your Insights page, go to Overview and go to Add Pages. Add at least five other pages to watch, and you’re all set.
The Pages to Watch feature will tell you how your marketing efforts are stacking up against the competition. Further insights include what type of content your competition’s customers are engaging with, what time of day the competition is posting and more.
Set up Twitter Lists.
If you’d rather go incognito than publicly follow your competitor on Twitter, use Twitter Lists. By setting up a private Twitter list, you can keep an eye on the competition’s blog posts, social media, comments and engagement with followers. Note that you may alternatively choose to set up a public list if you don’t mind the competition knowing that you’re monitoring them.
SEMrush is another incredible (and free) tool that will help you monitor your competition. Not only will you identify the keywords and SEO factors that are driving customers to your competitor’s site, you’ll also identify exactly who your competitors are! We strongly recommend you register for a free SEMrush account. Simply enter your URL, then play with the tools available on the platform.
Monitoring your competition’s digital marketing is critical to the success of your own strategy. Be sure to check in often; create a folder in your inbox for emails, Google Alerts and other information pertaining to your competitor. Then, take a few moments daily to catch up on updates.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money on monitoring tools. Sites like Facebook, Google and Twitter make it easy to do so for free. Knowing what is – and what is not – working for the competition will make your digital marketing strategy all the more effective.