Why You Need To Be Spying On Your Competitors

If you own or manage a business, you should know what your competitors are up to at all times. More facts. Less guessing. Because everyone likes facts.

I can argue that knowing the facts about your competitors is just as important as knowing the facts about your own business. And I’m sure you know your website’s monthly traffic, the number of employees you have, your sales, and your expenses (or at least I hope you do).

With that in mind, it’s time to start spying on your competitors. Below are five quick steps to get you started today:

1) Who Are Your Competitors?

First, start by finding out who your competitors are. Very important.

Do a thorough analysis of your market by searching the web for terms related to your business, browsing online directories, social media accounts, review sites, etc.

This will help you find all the competitors in your area so you know what you’re up against. Don’t let any slip through the cracks.

2) How Are Your Competitors Advertising?

Once you find out who your competitors are, it’s time to investigate their advertising campaigns.

Are your competitors buying billboard space at Times Square, going door-to-door, producing commercials, or advertising online? Given that it’s 2015, they’re probably at least doing some type of online advertising.

If they are dabbling into the wonderful world of digital marketing, find out if they’re gaining a wider audience through paid search, display advertising, remarketing, social media, content marketing, email marketing, or some combination of any or all of the above.

Depending on the type of business you’re in, certain types of advertising work much better than others. For example, if you’re trying to sell real estate, then a text ad might not be your best bet. People generally like seeing pictures of homes before they book an appointment with a realtor. We can be pretty hard to please!

Why is this information valuable? Well, let’s say you find out your competitors are getting leads through paid search. What can you do next? Simple − find out which keywords they’re bidding on. If they’re using display ads, then find out what size ads are working best, the site placements, etc. etc…

With this type of research you can then estimate the number of impressions, clicks and leads your competitors are getting through online advertising. You sly devil!

Next, you can see how you stack up.

3) How Does Your Performance Compare?

Once you know how many leads your competitors are getting online (if any) and what type of ads are working best (if any), then you can compare with your online performance.

If they’re advertising online and you’re not, then maybe it’s time to consider creating your own campaign.

If you’re not ready for that, then there’s some other stuff you can do. The little things also help.

Like what? Well, start by paying a bit more attention to the type of ads you’re seeing, where you’re seeing them, and the call to actions they’re using.

You’ll also want to see how well you’re performing in search engine results by typing in different keywords relative to your business and analyzing how you rank.

4) Do Your Competitors have any Exclusive Offers?

After that, try to find out if your competitors have any type of exclusive offer they’re advertising. This can include loyalty programs, coupons, e-books, or webinars.

If your competitors are advertising exclusive offers and you’re not, then that will most definitely eat aware at your market share.

5) What about Your Website?

Oh yeah, websites, phones, apps… Can’t forget about those!

Make sure you check out your competitors’ websites. Let’s pretend that you’re legitimately looking to buy something from them *wink wink*.

After you do that, ask yourself how your website compares to theirs in terms of design, speed, and usability. Is it mobile responsive and user-friendly? All good questions to ask.

Who Are My Competitors

If your competitor’s website is mobile-friendly and looks a lot newer than yours, then that might be a sign you’re falling behind. Buyers today decide which products to buy online based on how much they feel they can trust the business. The first step in building this trust is through your website.

If you have a website already, I’d suggest performing a complete website audit every once in a while, as well as speed and page optimization tests.

We can think of this like an oil change for your car. You might have a broken link or a crappy engine. Either way, try not to let these things slide for too long. Your competitors might be on the ball or they might not be. Won’t hurt to find out.

Recap/ TL;DR

In order to effectively compete you need to have a thorough understanding of your competitors’ strategies and online performance. This information will help you better position your business and spark creative growth strategies to win over your target market!

Evan White

Evan White

Director, Digital Projects

Evan is a not-so-self-proclaimed tech geek that has helped public companies, Fortune 500 enterprises, and SMB clients implement technical solutions to marketing challenges. Evan and his team at Neumarkets help B2B companies ramp up customer acquisition and customer lifetime value in order to achieve their next level of growth and set the roadmap for continued success. In his bookmarks there are links to tech blogs, and Formula 1 news. When not geeking out, you'll find Evan traveling or playing beach volleyball.