For businesses with intent to grow and succeed, a strong Marketing strategy is essential. But where do you start? Many businesses choose to start with an apples-to-apples comparison by benchmarking their competition.
Discover how your strategies stack up and make the most of the tools and strategies provided below!
Understand Your Niche, Market, and Audience
The fundamentals of digital marketing begin with the goals you set and conclude with the methods you use for achieving them. Before you approach anything in regards to a Marketing Strategy, develop a deep understanding of where your company stands by determining who your competitors are, what your niche is, and who your audience is. With these factors considered, you’ll be able to take productive strides in your research. From here, you can begin your research.
Find Your Competitors
Selling a similar product or service creates competition between businesses, but some compete more within your market than others. For instance, if you own a car dealership that sells mid-priced cars, you would see a luxury car dealership as a competitor, but only to the extent that they sell cars. You would want to focus more on the dealerships that sell to the same audience as you.
Once the foundation for your research has been established, you can begin analyzing the parties of interest. You can begin your benchmarking research by conducting what’s called SWOT Analysis. This considers the Strengths Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats for your business and each of your competitors. The more you know about your business and its competition the more detailed your strategy will be.
What does your business excel in? Maybe you have excellent employees who perform great customer service, which means your business benefits from high retention and referrals. Find out what is currently making your business work and keep that in mind.
What is your business lacking? Maybe you lack an identity, which makes it difficult to attract new customers. While focusing on your strengths might be more pleasant, it’s imperative to understand where your business is being exploited. Be critical and don’t hold back.
Are there any potential opportunities worth exploring? Brainstorm. You could be totally unaware of an unknown market that would find your business valuable. Try to think outside the box and get creative with ways to break out.
Brainstorm and list any and all threats that you need to be aware of, in the event of a disaster. For instance, the chance of a seasonal drought that can impact production or demand for your product would be a threat to take note of.
You can start by surveying your customers so you can put their feedback to good use. Also consider where your competitors might be outperforming you and how this might affect your bottom line.
Tie it Together
Carefully perform the same analysis for each competitor that you deem worthy.
Compare your current tactics and strategies with what your competitors are doing and keep your SWOT Analysis in mind. Some strategies are more ideal than others, depending on your industry and goals.
Marketing strategies come in many forms, all created to complete different goals. Here we explain the differences between popular digital marketing strategies.
Marketing Strategies and How to Find Them
Since there is no such thing as a universal marketing strategy, we have to focus on one problem at a time. Fortunately, there are powerful tools that deliver the insight needed to give you the advantage for success. We’ll list a helpful tool to go along with each highly-effective marketing approach.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Moz defines Search Engine Optimization (or SEO) as “… the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results [like Google, Bing, and Yahoo].”
By keeping an eye on which phrases a site ranks for, you’ll be better able to influence who visits the site. For example, a plumbing business would likely want their website to come up at the top of Google when searches for “plumbers” or “reliable plumbers near me” are made but not “plums near me”.
Hacking Tool: SEMRush
SEMRush allows you to search a competitor’s website and gather information about their organic keywords, search rankings, as well as terms they have bidden for. This will help outline your competitor’s general SEO strategy, which can help you understand their place in the market, as well as your own.
PPC (Pay-Per-Click) Advertising
PPC Advertising goes hand-and-hand with SEO, as it works with paid search engine exposure. When you search for something on Google or Bing, a list of links will come up that are related to the words that you used. Rather than banking just on ranking high organically and hoping it works, you’re instead advertising with and bidding on keywords to reach users. The ads are right at the top and are usually the first entries users see.
You can bid on common (and valuable) search terms that are used often by potential customers. So the plumber from before would likely want to bid on terms that are common and reflect their business. These are the paid (or sponsored) ads you see when you use a search engine. The more relevant your landing pages are to the keywords selected, the less you will be charged per click, which makes more room for profit.
Hacking Tool: SpyFu
By providing a list of targeted keywords, SpyFu helps you understand how your competitors are leveraging AdWords, as well as their general PPC Strategy.
To tie into your niche within your market, analyze the way your competitors communicate with their audience as well as their online activity. The old saying “You are who you surround yourself with” exists for businesses too. You can learn a lot from where your competitors advertise and who they partner with.
Hacking Tool: Google Alerts
By adding, customizing, and saving the name of your competitors, Google Alerts will notify you when they’re mentioned online. It’s a great way to track mentions online, which is especially handy when multitasking.
Social Media Marketing
Like their branding, you can tell a lot about your competitors from what they post on social media. Having the ability to analyze content as well as how they interact with their audience can be an insightful way to understand how they’re winning over prospects.
Hacking Tool: Buzzsumo
This is an excellent way to track and monitor how well certain content topics are performing throughout a given market. By entering a common phrase, Buzzsumo will display engagement statistics across various social channels that pertain to your chosen keyword. Take it a step further by typing in a competitor’s domain and you can see where they’ve found success with their content.
Subscribe to competitor newsletters and discover what kind of Content Marketing and Promotional strategies they’re using. Once you’ve created a unique Branding Strategy, you can try using similar tactics with your own spin and style.
Hacking Tool: Your Competitor’s Newsletter
By analyzing their promotion selection, tone and overall content marketing strategy, you can see how your competitors are ‘nurturing’ their leads and generating sales/website traffic via email marketing. No third-party tool required.
No matter what business you’re in, you can expect to have competition. So keep your friends close, your enemies closer, and use the information you gather to your advantage.
Is marketing not your strong suit? The experts at Active Web Group have been in business for over 20 years and have serviced businesses of all sizes and industries. With proven expertise in Search Engine Optimization, Pay-Per-Click Advertising, Web Design, Email Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Digital Brand Management, and Content Development and more, we’re sure to have the tools to help you succeed. Contact us for a free quote. Can’t wait? Give us a call at (800) 978-3417 today!