When did you run a competitive analysis for your brand recently? Also, do you know how to do so? If you do not have the answer, you may be ignoring a critical intelligence tool that can provide your brand growth.
What Is A Competitive Analysis?
A competitive analysis, as we can say, is a strategy where you get to find out your competitors and research their marketing campaigns, sales, and products. This can be used in forming your own business strategies that are better than the competitors.
This analysis could help you understand how the competition operates and figure out potential opportunities where you could defeat them. You can also use them to rule the industry trends and check that the product meets all the industry standards.
Let us talk about the benefits of conducting competitive analysis:
- It helps you find out your product’s USP and how it is different from the competitor’s products.
- You can use competitive analysis to find what the competition is doing correctly. You need this information to stay relevant and ensure that the product and marketing campaigns both exceed the industry standards.
- The competitive analysis helps in finding where the competitors are failing. Find out the scope of growth in the market and test new marketing strategies the competitors have not thought of.
- Read through the customer reviews and find what is missing in the competitors offering. Use this information to see what features you can add to meet your needs.
- It will act as a benchmark against which you could measure the growth of your product.
Now, let us tell you how you can conduct a competitive analysis for the company.
Every brand gets benefitted from the competitive analysis. By performing the same, you can:
- Identify any gaps in the product market
- Create and develop new products and services
- Find out the latest market trends
- Marketing and selling your product more effectively
- Learning about any of the above components would give your brand the success it is looking for
How To Conduct Competitive Analysis For Your Company
1. Find Out Your Competitors
First, you have to find out who you are competing with. Only then can you compare the data correctly.
So how do you think you can do this?
You have to divide the competitors into two sections, i.e., direct and indirect.
Direct competitors are those that have a product or service that is quite similar to yours. Also, they operate in the same area as you do.
An indirect competitor, on the other hand, is one that has products that are different but fulfills the same customer need.
When we compare the brand, often, we only focus on the direct competitors. That is where we could be making a mistake.
2. Analyze Your Competitors’ Product Line
The heart of any business is its product so you should start from there. Analyze their product line and the quality they are offering.
Take a note of the pricing and discounts on offer.
Some questions that you can ask are:
- Are they high cost or low cost?
- Are they focusing on the volume of sales or just one-time purchases?
- What is the market share they are holding?
- Any specific characteristics and needs of their customer base?
- Are they using different pricing strategies for online purchases in comparison to brick and mortar stores?
- How does your competitor company differentiate itself from its other competitors?
- How are they distributing their products or services?
3. Learn Your Competitors’ Sales Tactics
You will find that running a sales analysis of these competitors could be difficult. Just find out answers to questions like:
- What is their sales process like?
- Which channels are they using for selling?
- Are they operating through multiple locations, and does this give them an advantage, and how?
- Are they thinking of expanding? Scaling down?
- Do they use partner reselling programs?
- What are the customer’s reasons for not buying their product? For ending the relation, they have with that company?
- What are the revenues they are getting? Also, the total sales volume?
- Do they have a regular discount on the products?
- How much is the involvement of the salesperson?
With the information at your disposal, you will know how competitive their sales process is. Plus, you will know what information is necessary to prepare the sales reps to prepare for the competition. Companies that are publicly held, you can see annual reports. But for privately owned businesses, you might have to research a bit.
Find information like this through your CRM. Or you could find out from the customers and know what makes them pick that product over others. Now run a report that will show all the prospective deals where there is a competitor. If you have not been recording this data, you should talk to your sales team. Ask them to implement a system where the prospects could be enquired about the companies they prefer.
Have a look at the competitor’s pricing and any perks they give. A lot of factors go behind correctly pricing the product. One of them is knowing how much they are asking for the product. If you think your product is better in quality than others, then you could make it expensive. But if you do that, your salesperson should explain to the customer why they should pay an extra price.
On the other hand, there may be a need gap in your industry for affordable products. Then you could charge less than your competitors. Again some factors come into play when deciding the pricing. You must stay on top of pricing so that your product is priced in a way that is reasonable for all.
You could also see any perks the competitors may have to give. See if you can match up to the same. For example, if he is offering a referral discount or a free trial version. If yes, you should match up and try to provide the same.
4. Understand Your Competitors’ Marketing Efforts
To understand their marketing efforts, you can use their website. Take notice of the following factors and copy the URL to check back later.
- Do they maintain a blog?
- Are they creating any whitepapers or eBooks for customers?
- Do they post webinars or videos?
- Do they maintain a podcast?
- Are they using any kind of static visual content like infographics and cartoons?
- Do they use slide decks?
- Are they keeping a FAQs section?
- Are there any featured articles?
- Do you see their press releases?
- Do they use a media kit?
- Can you see case studies from them?
- Do they publish any buying guides and datasheets for their prospects?
- What kind of online and offline advertising campaigns they are running?
5. Be Aware Of Your Competitors’ Content Strategy
Have a look at the amount of content posted and the overall content marketing strategy. Have they published hundreds of blog posts or just a few? Or, maybe, they have written five white papers and one eBook. See how frequently they post this content. Have they published a new blog every week or once a month? How often is there a new eBook or case study released?
It is likely that if you come across a detailed archive of content, that means they are very regular in the publishing. It depends on the topics they are talking about, but the content could help you decide the lead generation strategies to practice. Now evaluate the content quality. If the quality is not good, then the frequency of posting is not going to help. Just go through a few content pieces instead of seeing every piece and making it a lengthy process.
When you analyze the competitor’s content, you should think of the following questions.
- Is their content accurate?
- Do they have any spelling or grammar mistakes in them?
- What is the depth of their content? Are they only skimming the surface or discussing each and every aspect of the topic?
- What kind of tone they are using?
- Is the content readable, i.e., are they using bullet points, numbered lists, and bold headings?
- Are they offering the content for free, or do the customers have to opt-in to receive content?
- Who writes their content, i.e., an in-house team, a content creator, or multiple contributors?
- Have they attached any byline or bio to the articles?
As you go through the content, you should pay attention to the photos and images they are using.
Did you scroll through the stock photos, or were you enthralled by the images used? If they used stock photos, did they add quotes or calls to action that suits their business?
If the photos are custom, did they get them from graphic professionals, or was it done by somebody in-house?
6. Understand The Technologies Your Competitors Use
If you understand the technology your competitors use, it could help increase the momentum of your company as well. For example, you see that the competitor’s customer service is getting positive reviews. On further research, you get to know they use powerful software for customer service, and then you can use the same.
You could look at the competitor’s job listings, especially for engineer or web developer openings. His listing will include the skills he looks for in his employees, and you can know which technology they use.
7.. How Engaging Your Competitors’ Contents Are?
To find out how engaging your competitors contents are for the readers, you must see the target audience’s response to their posting.
You could check the number of comments, likes, and shares on his content to know more about:
- Topics that are accepted more than others
- Does it receive positive, negative, or mixed comments?
- Are people tweeting more about any topic than others
- The readers are responding better to any type of content
8. Competitor’s Content Promotion Strategy
After the engagement, you must proceed to their content promotion strategy.
- Keyword density in the copy
- ALT Text tags in the images
- The use of internal links
You may use the following questions to decide and focus on what you need to give more emphasis to:
- Which are the keywords that the competitors are using, and you are yet to pursue?
- Which of their content is shared and linked most in comparison to others? How does your content stand in front of that?
- What are the social media platforms the target audience is highly active on?
- Which of the other sites is linking to their site but are not linking to yours?
- Who all are sharing what these competitors are publishing?
- Who is diverting prospect traffic to their site?
9. Analyze Their Social Media Presence
The last section that you have to check is the competitor’s social media presence and his engagement rates. How does the competitor get engagement for their brand on social media platforms? Can you see social sharing buttons alongside each of their articles? Does the competitor add the social media channel links in the article in the header or footer or elsewhere? Are these links visible to the visitor? Can you see a clear call to action with the buttons?
If by chance, your competitor is using a social media platform that you are not using, then you should find out how that platform will work for you. To find out if a platform is worth your effort, check the competitor’s engagement rates on it. Visit the following platforms to see if they have an account there:
Now check the following:
- Number of fans/followers they have
- How frequently and consistently they are posting
- Is the content getting engagement, i.e., are the readers leaving any comments?
- Is the content viral, i.e., how many shares, retweets, or repins it has got?
Now go through their social media strategy:
What type of content they are posting?
Is their focus on driving the people towards the landing pages? Are they posting visual content that increases engagement and brand awareness? How much of the content is original, or are they posting curated content?
What is the tone of the content, and do the sources post regularly? How do they interact with the followers? Lastly, how frequently do the followers interact with that content?
Once you have collected all the data, you can give a grade to their content. This will help in comparing all your other competitors too.