In today’s competitive landscape, staying ahead is crucial for success. Gaining valuable insights to understand your competitors can give your business a significant advantage. The good news is that you don’t need days or weeks of intensive research to gather this information.
In this blog, we have practical and effective methods to help you gain critical competitor insights that strategically drive your decision-making so your business scales new heights.
We will explore various techniques and marketing strategies to help you quickly assess your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, identify market trends, spot opportunities, and make informed choices to stay ahead in your industry.
So let’s get started with an overview of competitor insight.
What is competitor insight?
Competitor insight refers to the process of understanding and gaining knowledge about the actions, strategies, strengths, weaknesses, and overall performance of your competitors in the market. It is a crucial aspect of competitive analysis, which involves monitoring and analyzing the activities of rival businesses to gain a competitive advantage.
What are the objectives of competitor insight?
Here are the main objectives of competitor insight.
- Identifying strengths and weaknesses: Understanding what your competitors do well and where they are lacking can help you capitalize on their weaknesses and reinforce your company’s strengths.
- Identifying opportunities and threats: By analyzing your competitors’ strategies and market positioning, you can identify potential opportunities or emerging threats in the market that may impact your business.
- Benchmarking performance: Comparing your performance with your competitors allows you to gauge how well you are doing in the industry and where improvements are needed.
- Enhancing your strategy: By learning from your competitors’ successes and failures, you can refine your business strategy to stay competitive and address changing market demands.
- Customer insights: Analyzing your competitors’ interactions with their customers can provide valuable insights into customer preferences, pain points, and expectations.
Essential competitor insights to consider for success
Competitor insight #1: Who truly leads the market?
While planning a marketing campaign, looking beyond just your main rival for insights and strategies is essential. While brand awareness, estimated market share, and PR appearances are important, revealing the competitor with the best reach and traffic is crucial.
To get a more accurate digital benchmark:
- Focus on the top competitors (five) in rankings that closely compete with your company.
- Identify the competitor with the highest traffic volume over the last 12 months.
- Pay attention to whether the competitor’s growth has been exponential or stable and if they experienced any decreases during specific periods.
Don’t rely solely on their offline popularity; consider their website a benchmark. By analyzing their successful and unsuccessful activities, you can gain valuable insights to inform and improve your marketing campaigns.
As you thoroughly examine each aspect during your competitor analysis, namely business, sales, and marketing, it is essential to conduct a simplified SWOT analysis simultaneously.
This entails observing your competitor’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats whenever you assess their performance.
To initiate this process, consider the following questions:
- What areas does your competitor excel in? (e.g., products, content marketing, social media)
- Where does your competitor hold a competitive edge over your brand?
- What is the weakest aspect of your competitor’s business?
- In which areas does your brand outshine your competitor?
- What areas could your competitor improve upon?
- Which aspects of your competitor’s presence pose a potential threat to your brand?
- Have there been any market opportunities that your competitor has successfully identified?
Competitor insight #2: Which hidden seasonal trends could you potentially miss or fail to notice?
Many businesses experience seasonal fluctuations in their activity levels, making it challenging to distinguish between spikes caused by seasonal factors and those influenced by other variables.
An instance of such fluctuations is when there’s a need to utilize the remaining budget before the quarter ends, leading to a surge in paid traffic to the website. Another example could be a new Marketing Head after the New Year, who could introduce fresh ideas and shift focus toward blogger relations, resulting in increased website visits.
Analyzing traffic metrics from current and previous years is essential to assess these trends. Start by identifying the peak month for website visits of your main competitor, then compare this data with the overall market and other industry players.
This analysis will help you determine if the increase and decrease are consistent across the industry and reveal the underlying reasons behind such fluctuations. Repeating this procedure for periods of decline will provide further insights into the patterns and dynamics at play.
FitGear experiences a notable surge in website traffic and sales every January. At first, they attribute it to the “New Year, New Me” fitness resolutions that people often make at the beginning of the year. To validate this assumption and gain deeper insights, FitGear’s marketing team analyzes traffic data from the current year and compares it to the previous year.
Upon examination, they find that the spike in website visits during January is consistent over the two years. Additionally, they research their main list of competitors and discover that they also experience a similar peak in website traffic during the same period.
By investigating further and considering industry trends, FitGear’s marketing team concludes that the January increase in website visits is a seasonal trend across the fitness equipment market. People actively search for fitness products and exercise gear as they commit to their New Year’s resolutions.
With this understanding, FitGear’s marketing team optimizes their advertising and promotions during January, ensuring they capitalize on the increased interest and potential sales. They adjust their marketing messages to align with New Year fitness goals, making the most of the seasonal spike in activity.
Competitor insight #3: Is your competitor more effective in serving your target audience than your own efforts?
Merely relying on raw traffic figures can offer limited insights into a brand’s online success. A company’s ability to satisfy user demands on its website plays a crucial role; when users don’t find what they seek, they naturally depart.
Therefore, a traffic analysis tool is essential to discover your competitor’s crucial user engagement metrics, such as average visit duration and bounce rate.
If you find that a competitor has outperformed you in the same metrics for your niche, here’s what you should do:
A. Investigate their website traffic journey: Examine the various channels and media platforms they use to attract a well-targeted audience. Understanding how they drive traffic can provide valuable insights for your strategy.
B. Analyze their subdomains and top pages: Look into the structure and content of their website that users find appealing. Identifying the elements that resonate with their audience can inspire improvements in your website.
C. Draw inspiration from their activities: Learn from their successful tactics and activities. While you should avoid copying directly, taking inspiration from their approach can help you refine your strategies and better cater to your target or similar audience.
Competitor insight #4: What are the best products, and how do your competitors attract target users to them?
Once you know that you have a portion of overlapping users, the next step is to explore your competitors’ leading products/services and determine the most effective marketing channels responsible for driving most of their traffic.
Suppose a data analytics team at Netflix conducts analysis and discovers that a significant percentage of their subscribers also have subscriptions to Hulu. This understanding highlights a shared user base between the two platforms.
Intrigued by this finding, Netflix investigated further to understand why some users have both subscriptions. They take a closer look at the top content offerings on Hulu and compare them with their own top shows and movies. Additionally, they analyze Hulu's marketing channels to drive traffic and gain new subscribers.
Through this analysis, Netflix hopes to gain insights into the preferences of its overlapping user base and identify potential opportunities to enhance its content library or improve marketing strategies to attract and retain more subscribers.
By understanding the user crossover and studying its competitors’ products and marketing channels, Netflix aims to optimize its services and strengthen its position in the highly competitive streaming industry.
Now that we’ve discussed the competitor insight you need to emphasize let’s talk about the process of competitive analysis in depth. While we’ve covered some pointers in the earlier section, it’s vital to emphasize the same for a cohesive flow.
The process of competitive analysis
Let’s dive into the best practices you can take to conduct a comprehensive competitor insight analysis.
A. Identify direct and indirect competitors
Initially, it’s essential to determine your actual competitors in order to make accurate data comparisons. Strategies that succeed in a business like yours might yield different results for your specific brand.
To achieve this, you can categorize your competitors into two distinct groups: direct and indirect.
Direct competitors refer to businesses offering products or services that resemble your own, operating within the same geographic area.
On the other hand, indirect competitors provide products that differ from yours but have the potential to fulfill the exact customer needs or address similar problems.
Imagine a small bakery (One Cup Sugar) that makes cupcakes and custom cakes. They have direct competitors like Sweet Delights Bakery and Fancy Cupcake Corner, who sell similar treats in the same area.
In addition, One Cup Sugar also has indirect competitors like Healthy Treats Café, which appeals to health-conscious customers, and Celebration Balloon Store, offering budget-friendly cake alternatives for parties. Knowing about both types of competitors can help the bakery improve its strategies and stay competitive.
B. Understand the product offerings of your competition.
The core of every business is its product or service, which serves as an excellent starting point. To begin, it is essential to thoroughly analyze your competitors’ entire product range and the quality of their offerings.
Additionally, pay close attention to their pricing structure and any customer discounts they may offer. Several crucial questions should be taken into account during this analysis:
- Are they positioned as a low-cost or high-cost provider?
- Do they primarily focus on volume sales or one-off purchases?
- What percentage of the market do they currently hold?
- What are the defining characteristics and needs of their target customers?
- Do they employ different pricing strategies for online sales compared to traditional brick-and-mortar transactions?
- How does the company distinguish itself from its competitors?
- What distribution channels do they use to deliver their products or services?
C. Research the sales tactics used by your competitors
Navigating the complex world of sales analysis, especially when assessing your competitors, can be quite challenging. In order to gain a competitive edge, it’s imperative to delve into various aspects and unearth essential insights. Here are some key areas to explore.
- Sales Process: Understand how competitors approach potential customers and convert leads into sales.
- Sales Channels: Identify the various platforms and locations competitors sell their products or services.
- Multiple Locations: Assess the advantage of their multiple locations and how it impacts their market reach.
- Expansion and Scaling: Determine if competitors are expanding or downsizing, which can reveal their plans.
- Partner Reselling Programs: Look for collaborations or partnerships extending their sales reach.
- Customer Insights: Explore why customers choose not to buy from them or end their relationship.
- Revenue and Sales Volume: Gather data on their yearly revenues and overall sales performance.
- Discounting Practices: Analyze if competitors regularly offer discounts on their products or services.
- Salesperson Involvement: Evaluate the level of engagement their sales team has in the process.
D. Consider your competitors’ pricing and perks.
Understanding the dynamics of pricing your product is essential for success. Several crucial factors contribute to determining the right price, with SEO competitor analysis being significant.
If your product features are superior compared to competitors, consider setting a premium price above industry standards.
However, to justify the higher cost, your sales representatives must be well-prepared to articulate the unique value proposition your product offers, highlighting the benefits that set it apart from the competition.
On the other hand, you might identify a niche for affordable products in the market. In this case, pricing your product lower than competitors could attract prospects who seek high-quality products without breaking the bank.
While competitor pricing is crucial, it’s not the only aspect to consider when determining the right price for your product. Other factors, such as production costs, target audience preferences, and market demand, must also be considered.
Another valuable strategy is to evaluate the perks and incentives offered by your competitors and adopt similar tactics or introduce your own unique perks. For example, if competitors offer referral discounts or extended free trial periods, consider whether such offerings align with your brand and can be integrated to attract and retain more customers.
E. Analyze the marketing strategy of your competitors.
The quickest method to assess your competitor’s marketing endeavors is by analyzing their website. Make sure to take note of the following items and record the specific URLs for future reference:
- Check if they maintain a blog.
- Check whether they have whitepapers or ebooks.
- Identify how frequently they post videos or webinars.
- Check if they have a podcast.
- Look for static visual content such as infographics and cartoons on their site.
- Check for any slide decks they may have.
- Find out if they have a FAQ section.
- Take note of any featured articles.
- Look out for any press releases they have published.
- Check if they offer a media kit.
- Find out whether they have any case studies available.
- Check if they publish buying guides and data sheets.
- Analyze their online and offline advertising campaigns.
Keeping an eye on what your competitors are up to is crucial to running a website. Website competitor analysis tools help you get insights into your competitors' online activities and marketing strategies.
F. Pay attention to the content strategy employed by your competitors
The next step in competitor insight analysis is examining your competitor’s content strategy (content quantity and frequency) to see how much they publish regularly.
You can start by reviewing a small selection of their content to assess its quality, accuracy, depth, tone, and readability. Then, move on to check if their content is freely available or requires opt-in. Look for author information with bylines or bios.
Evaluate the use of images, which includes both generic stock photos and custom illustrations. Lastly, determine the effectiveness of their content marketing strategy to gauge its impact on their audience.
When evaluating your competitor’s content, take into account the following inquiries:
- How precise is their content?
- Are there any language inconsistencies?
- What level of depth does their content reach? (Is it merely introductory, scratching the surface, or does it delve into advanced topics with high-level concepts?)
- What tone do they employ?
- Is their content well-structured and formatted for easy reading? (Do they use bullet points, bold headings, and numbered lists?)
- Is their content freely accessible to everyone, or do readers need to opt in?
- Who creates their content? (Is it an in-house team, an individual, or multiple contributors?)
- Do their articles have a visible byline or bio attached?
G. Learn about the technology used by the competitors.
Knowing the technology your competitors utilize can play a crucial role in streamlining your company’s operations and fostering progress within the organization. For example, you may find favorable reviews about a competitor’s customer service during research.
Upon investigation, you may discover that they employ advanced customer service software that you haven’t tapped into yet. Armed with this knowledge, you have the chance to enhance your own processes and outshine your competitors.
H. Assess your competitor’s content engagement
To assess the level of reader engagement generated by your competitor’s content, you must observe the response of their target audience to the materials they publish.
Examine the average count of comments, shares, and likes on your competitor’s content and determine the following:
1. Which topics elicit a stronger response compared to others?
2. Are the comments predominantly negative, positive, or a mixture of both?
3. Which subjects receive more attention and tweets from the audience?
4. How do readers react to Facebook updates regarding particular content?
Additionally, note whether your competitor uses tags to categorize their content and whether they have incorporated social media to follow and share buttons for each piece of content.
I. Observe their promotion techniques
From engagement, move to your competitor’s content promotion strategy. Focus on these key factors:
- Keyword Density: Check how often keywords appear in their content.
- Image ALT Tags: See how they describe images for better search engine optimization. Providing information about images on a webpage is both crucial for accessibility, search engine optimization, and user experience.
- Internal Linking: Observe how they link within their own content.
Plus, ask yourself these questions to prioritize your efforts:
- New Keywords: Use keyword research tools to find keywords competitors have been using, but you still need to catch up.
- Popular Content: See what content gets shared and linked to.
- Social Media: Identify platforms your target audience uses.
- Backlinks: Discover sites linking to your competitors but not you.
- Content Sharers: Find who shares your competitor’s content.
- Referral Sources: Know who sends traffic to their site.
- Keyword Difficulty: Use keyword difficulty checkers to find out how hard it is to rank for desired keywords.
Use these insights to improve your content promotion strategy and stand out in the market. Adaptability and innovation will lead you to success!
J. Inspect their social media handles and preferred platforms.
One crucial aspect to consider while devising your marketing strategy is assessing your competitors’ social media presence and ability to drive engagement.
Examine how your competitors are successfully engaging with their audience through social media. Take note of whether they incorporate social sharing buttons with each article on their website. Observe if they prominently display links to their social media channels in the header, footer, or other visible sections.
Furthermore, pay attention to the use of compelling calls-to-action with these buttons.
Remember that your competitors might be utilizing social networks you are not currently present on. In such cases, it’s beneficial to explore how these platforms could potentially benefit your business as well.
To gauge the impact of a new social media platform, analyze your competitor’s engagement rates on those sites. Begin by checking if your competition has active accounts on the following platforms: Facebook. Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, and Reddit.
Upon finding their accounts, gather the following quantitative data from each platform:
- Number of fans/followers
- Posting frequency and consistency
- Content engagement (e.g., comments, shares)
- Content virality (number of shares, repins, retweets)
By closely monitoring your competitors’ social media strategies, you can gain valuable insights into successful practices and discover potential opportunities to enhance your own social media marketing efforts.
How Does Scalenut help with competitor analysis?
Scalenut’s Article Writer does more than leverage the power of AI to create content on the go. You can use this tool for competitor insight analysis. By analyzing the top 30 URLs that rank for your targeted keywords, this tool provides valuable competitive insights, such as average word count, the number of images, hashtags, and SEO scores.
You can access the outlines of these top 30 URLs and sort them based on their rank and SEO score.
Furthermore, this tool assists you in social listening by presenting the questions your target audiences ask on platforms like Quora, Reddit, and Google. Additionally, it offers questions that your competitors are addressing, along with AI-generated questions.
In a world where competition constantly evolves, pursuing competitor insight and market research should be an ongoing process. Embrace the challenge, embrace the knowledge, and embrace the opportunities it presents.
With a clear understanding of your rivals and a strong commitment to innovation, your organization can carve out its path toward sustained growth and prosperity.
Competitor insight is not merely imitating what others are doing but rather using the information to strategically build a unique approach to managing your business. By incorporating these strategies into your business operations, you’ll be better equipped to navigate the dynamic landscape of your industry and position yourself for long-term success.
Why is competitor insight important?
Competitor insight helps businesses identify opportunities and threats in the market, enabling them to make informed decisions, refine their own strategies, and stay ahead of the competition.
What kind of information should I focus on when analyzing competitors?
Key areas to focus on include their product offerings, pricing strategies, marketing tactics, target audience, customer feedback, and overall market share.
Is competitor insight only relevant for large businesses?
Competitor insight is valuable for businesses of all sizes (large, medium, or small businesses) as it helps them adapt to market changes, identify niche opportunities, and build sustainable competitive advantages.
Can competitor insight be used for collaboration opportunities?
Competitor insights can reveal opportunities for collaboration or partnership with rival companies, leading to mutually beneficial outcomes.
Scalenut, an AI-powered SEO and content marketing platform, covers the entire content lifecycle. From devising content strategies to crafting detailed briefs, generating content, and applying optimal SEO practices, Scalenut has streamlined the entire process, making it effortlessly manageable. For those curious to uncover the various features of this tool, feel free to create a complimentary account.