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How to Analyse Competitors and Set Up a Digital Strategy in 40 Minutes

Angela Baker
25 Nov 2019 • 7 min read

Knowing a little bit more about your competitors might be a priority for you. Perhaps you’d just like a little bit more information, or maybe you’re trying to improve your digital strategy.
However, it can be hard to know where to start. You’re not alone in feeling like this - many companies feel overwhelmed when they try to set up a competitive digital strategy.
A solid marketing strategy will always include a comprehensive competitive analysis. That being said, only 40% of marketing integrates a competitive analysis insight into their strategy. This can have cataclysmic effects.

Why you should analyse your competition 

Crafting a competitive analysis is not an easy task – but it is an essential step of a marketing strategy – it should come before planning efforts and budget definitions.  

When you do a competitive analysis, you’ll have a more significant idea of the strengths and weaknesses in your industry. There’s arguably no better way to uncover any blind spots, than by looking into the competition.  

Side note: It will also give you a great understanding of your own company.  

  

Who needs a competitive analysis? 

In short, you do.  

There have been theories flying around that you don’t need to know about your competition, and that your product or service will speak for itself. While this may be true in some circumstances, for long-term thinking, this is never the case.  

Your product or service might be unique, but does your target audience know that? 

Long-term strategy building has to be a lot more comprehensive than the short-term. This includes everything from product marketing, your budget, and everything revolving around your competition.  

Think about it, all the major companies that dominate our planet now learned from the best. You can always learn something, and you can continually improve your strategy as you go along.  

You also need to find out what makes you different from other companies – why would your target audience come to you instead of your competitor? You don’t want to emulate your competitors, you want to stand out from the crowd and be different.  

A competitive analysis will give you insights so that you can market yourself differently and better. So, to summarise who needs a competitive analysis – anybody who wants to portray themselves as a superior business.

Below, we’ve listed the best ways that you can analyse your competitors and set up a digital strategy – all super quickly.  

  

Step 1 - Identify your competitors  

Of course, the first step is identifying your competitors. At the very least, you should investigate three competitors. These should be relevant to you and your goals.  

Once you’ve chosen a selection of competitors to study, you should consider: 

  • What tone is prevalent throughout their copy, blog posts, and landing pages? 
  • What are their unique selling points? 
  • What is their company culture? For instance, their people, mission, ethics, and mission? 
  • Look into their branding and visual identity. How do they display themselves, and is it useful? To go the extra mile — find out what design agency did their site and app.

    Step 2 - Browse their website 

    Visit each competitor’s website through the eyes of a customer or client. Put aside all your bias and knowledge, and try to put yourself in your audience’s shoes. 

    What are your first impressions of a site? What would you do within 5 seconds of visiting, and is it positive?  

    Look into the navigation, user experience, graphic and digital design, and load time. What are your competitors doing better than you? Also, where are their downfalls? Do you have similar issues?
      

    Step 3 - Find the strengths and weaknesses 

    This brings us onto our next point, discovering the strengths and weaknesses of each site and company.  

    Understanding this for other companies allows you to discover what makes you different. Find out the strengths and weaknesses of all your companies, and where you can improve.  

    For instance, look into: 

    • Funding sources 
    • Employees 
    • Revenue  
    • Reputation  
    • Updates  
    • Relevancy  
    • How often they attend events and shows 

      The answer to the majority of these questions is available through online tools and websites. Even a quick look at their social media should answer tonnes of questions.  

        

      Step 4 - Study their content  

      Part of a digital strategy is content. It’s arguably one of the most important aspects of SEO and digital promotion. If, for instance, you are an advertising agency in Melbourne, your online presence should be calibrated respectively.

      B2B marketers know just how important content is, and your competitor’s content needs to be studied profusely.  

      This is the most important part of your competitive analysis, so you should spend a little bit more time on this part.  

      There are three main parts to look out for, these are:  

      • Direct Product Competition - What do they say about the product or service, which is most like yours? 
      • Inbound Marketing - How do they use their content for inbound marketing? How does it compare to yours?  
      • Content Optimisation - What is their level of optimisation? Are they using SEO to more of an advantage than you? 

        Also, don’t forget to check out their social media channels. These also fall into the content category and are vital for digital marketing.  

        Don’t hesitate to use a wide variety of tools and services available on the web like Grammarly, Is Accurate, Pick The Writer, and Hemingway to improve your writing and potentially be consulted to niche writers. 
          

        Step 5 - Look at their analytics  

        With all the nitty-gritty details out of the way, it’s time to take a look at your competitor’s analytics.  

        It can be a little overwhelming when you first see the analytics, especially as there’s such a large amount.  

        This is where screen-scraper programs come in handy. These will pull a variety of options from different sources, and help you to track analytics.  

        The key metrics to track are: 

        • Ad spend per month  
        • PPC keywords  
        • Organic Keywords 
        • Ad text  
        • Pay per click competitor

          Step 6 - Constantly track your competitors  

          You should constantly be staying on top of your competitors and all the analytics.  

          You can set up email alerts to stay current with your competitor’s business. This will allow you to make any necessary moves as you go along.  

          Track their blog posts and social media – always stay ahead. 

          You can also create alerts for your competitors every time they are mentioned in media or backlinked. This gives you a solid idea of how much your competitors are being talked about.  

          For this, you can use Google Alerts, Mention, Talkwalker, or Bing.

          The final step is to analyse your data. Initially, the data you collect from your competitive analysis might leave you a little confused. This is why you need to include yourself in your analysis.  

          Give yourself credit for areas that you’re outperforming, but also be critical on places that your competitors are doing better - don’t let your personal opinions cloud your judgment.  

            

          Conclusion 

          Your competitive analysis, when following these steps, shouldn’t take longer than 40 minutes.  

          When using these techniques, you will be left with the foundations for a focused digital strategy that will address all your weaknesses and strengths.  

          So, make sure to schedule an in-depth competitive analysis with us. You cannot miss this important step out of your strategy. 

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