“Competitor is a clue for your digital marketing strategy”.

By looking at your competitors, you can easily plan your strategy and way forward. What works well for your competitors may work for you as well.

“What content strategy is working for them”, “what is not working for them?”, “How they are doing it”, “Who they are doing for?”, a competition analysis helps you analyze the ins and outs of how your competition works. Let’s understand how to do it in steps.

Determine Who Your Competitors Are

Figuring out who your real competitors are to compare the data accurately is the first important step you do. What works for a business similar to yours may not work for your brand.

So how can you do this?

Divide your “competitors” into two categories:

i) Direct competitors – They are businesses operating in the same geographic area that offer the same product or service, and that can be a substitute for your business.

ii) Indirect competitors – An indirect competitor is one that operates in your geography offers products that are not the same but could satisfy the same customer need or solve the same problem.

It may seem simple enough to you on paper, but these two terms are often misunderstood. When you compare your brand, you should only focus on your direct competitors. This is something many digital marketers often get wrong.

Let’s understand this by an example: Raymond and Levi’s both sell clothes and serve a similar target audience. But as we dive deeper, we can see that the actual products are not really the same; one brand is formal-centric attire, while the other focuses on stylish everyday outfits.

Despite Levi’s serving the same target audience, it does so with entirely different types of clothing, making it an indirect competitor of Raymond. Even if they are slightly different, this tiny difference is enough to make a big difference.

Now, this doesn’t mean you should neglect your indirect competitors completely. It may be possible that Levi’s could start making formal clothes, which would certainly change things for Raymond.

Start with making a list of direct and indirect competitors. Keep these competitors on your radar. It’s also essential to keep checking on indirect competitors.

Related: All You Need To Know About Creating A Killer Content Strategy

Analyze How Your Competitors Market their Products

Like products, analyzing your competitor’s digital marketing strategy is equally important. The fastest way to gauge their marketing efforts is to analyze their websites. Go through every section of the site and jot down the following items. Do this for each competitor.

  1. Do they have a blog?
  2. Do they have a podcast?
  3. Are they creating whitepapers or e-books?
  4. Do they have a page for videos and webinars?
  5. Are they using infographics and cartoons?
  6. What about slide decks?
  7. Do they have a FAQ section?
  8. Are there featured articles?
  9. Do they have press releases?
  10. Do they have a media kit?
  11. Do they have case studies?
  12. Do they publish buying guides and data sheets?
  13. What online and offline advertising campaigns are they running?

Analyze Your Competitors’ SEO Efforts

You, as a digital marketer, should analyze the SEO efforts for effective content promotion made by competitors. It will help you develop your content promotion strategy.

The following questions can also help to know what to pay attention to:

  1. What are the top-ranking keywords and monthly organic traffic from them?
  2. What is the difficulty level of those keywords?
  3. Which keywords are your competitors focusing on that you still haven’t tapped into?
  4. Which content of theirs is highly shared and linked to?
  5. Who else is sharing your competitors’ content?
  6. Who is referring traffic to your competitor’s site?
  7. What are other websites linking back to your competitor’s site?

There are several free tools like SEO Analyser that will give you a comprehensive evaluation of your competitor’s search engine optimization.

Look at Their Social Media Presence, Strategies, and Go-to Platforms

The next thing you need to evaluate when it comes to marketing is your competitor’s social media presence and engagement rates. It’s also important to know which social media platform is working best for them.

Start with the following social media platform to see if your competition has an account on these platforms:

  1. Facebook
  2. Twitter
  3. Instagram
  4. Snapchat
  5. LinkedIn
  6. YouTube
  7. Pinterest

Related: Are You Working On Right Digital Channels For Your Brand? Let’s Check

After you are done with the platform check, look at the following quantitative items from each platform-

  1. Number of followers
  2. Frequency and consistency of posting
  3. Level of content engagement (Are audiences leaving comments or sharing their posts?)
  4. The virality of content (How many shares, retweets, and repins do their posts get?)

These quantitative items give you the idea that potential reach your brand can achieve, and it helps you determine if a social media platform is worth your time. After you collect this data, generate an overall grade for the quality of your competitor’s content. This will help you gauge the rest of your competitors using a similar grading scale. If your competitors are using social networks to reach their audience, it’s worth leveraging them.

You now know the importance and advantages of competitive analysis. Most importantly, it helps you understand who’s doing what and which strategies are the most successful. Whether you are a beginner or an old player in digital marketing, you should do this regularly.