Competitive Strategy: How to Analyze Your Competitors in 2022
Competitor analysis helps businesses refine their own strategies. It includes identifying new marketing, development, and business opportunities. Competitor analysis pinpoints underserved areas of a niche or industry and provides incentives for brainstorming and business planning.
So let’s take a deep dive into how competitor analysis can help you in 2022, how you can best execute it to your advantage and without overspending your resources.
Choose Them Wisely
In order to truly benefit from the competitor analysis, you need to carefully choose the businesses you will be examining. Choosing a competitor you can’t actually compete with can cause a lot of frustration and unnecessary waste.
Make a varied list of competitors to start with, including both the top names in your niche, brands who are doing just a little bit better than you are, and those who are trying to catch up to you.
You can base your list on current search engine rankings, as it will be the easiest to track. Or you can devise your own system, based on real-world facts you are already familiar with.
The key is to populate your list with a wide range of competitors and to have a specific reason for choosing all of them. If you don’t understand how they are competing with you or why, leave them out.
Figure out what you want to compare
You then want to figure out what you will be comparing. There will certainly be some intangible impressions you can’t quantify that you should. However, in order to have the most value and sense, you need to identify some key metrics that you will use to measure one brand against the other.
While this list is by no means exhaustive, here are some of the metrics you should consider using as your performance indicators:
- Rankings for common keywords
- Keywords unique to a competitor you could utilize yourself
- Social media mentions
- Number of followers
- Engagement per post
- Social media ad keywords and targeting
- Influencers they work with
- Backlink profile quality
- Rate of backlink acquisition
- Customer reviews on third-party sites
- PPC campaign keywords
- PPC campaign targeting
- Voice and branding
- Blog post topics
- Rate of publishing new content
- Content promotion channels
There may of course be other metrics you want to keep an eye on, depending on your niche.
You may want to skip a fair few of these as well: there is no need to analyze every single aspect of a competitor’s business, unless you are actively trying to compete for a specific share of their market and audience, or if you are just building your business from scratch.
Find an easy way to keep track of data
Having identified the metrics you want to analyze, create a sheet either in Google Sheets or in Excel that will house all of this information.
You can also download a template and tweak it to your needs if you don’t want to build your own competitor analysis process. It can also help you identify some further metrics you want to take note of.
Make sure that the sheet is easy to use for you: as long as all the people who need to understand it find it clear and easy to follow. You don’t need to worry about how other companies have structured theirs.
Your main objective is to have a very clear overview. List your competitors in order of importance, and don’t forget to add in your own data as a benchmark!
Examine their website
Before you start looking at the way a competitor is promoting their business and driving traffic, you should take some time to analyze their website.
Examine their website layout and how easy to navigate it is. Take a look at the design and the color story they have chosen.
Read through their main page and sales page copy, and pinpoint their key selling points, and what their appeal is. What do they blog about, and how do these topics fit into their overall marketing strategy?
You will need to put your thinking hat on for this step, as there are very few metrics and tools that can help you. You need to make some logical conclusions and reach your own discoveries.
You will also want to monitor website changes regularly, to see what a competitor is updating and when, and determine what the results of these changes are. Are they growing or stagnating?
Look at the bigger picture
Competitor analysis is not just about looking at someone’s website, backlinks, or keywords. You need to take the big picture into account if you are true to gain valuable insight.
For example, a competitor might have a really outdated website, but they may run a radio ad that gets them a lot of traffic. Or they may be doing some guerrilla marketing in their area and get a lot of foot traffic that way.
Visit your competitor’s store or premises, check them out on social media, google their brand name, speak to their customers to see what the end-to-end experience is like. This will help you see the big picture and discover exactly what gives you that competitive edge you are looking for.
For instance, if a competitor has awful customer service, you can make this your selling point, and pick up a lot of their frustrated customers.
Take a look at their pricing model
To ensure you are truly competitive, compare others’ prices to yours. Determine how their products and services differ from what you are offering, and what their main selling points are.
If your product or service is better than your competitors’, you’ll be able to justify a higher price. But if it is inferior or just the same, don’t expect to get away with it: customers and clients are quite savvy in finding the best deal. If they feel they are being ripped off they won’t be doing any business with you.
The time you invest in competitive pricing analysis will be worth your while, as you can discover some significant room for improvement, and alter your prices if necessary.
Test their product or service
Finally, you want to do some real-world analysis too and actually do business with your competitor. Make a purchase or hire them to perform a service. This will provide heaps of first-hand information you can’t access any other way.
If you don’t want to do this yourself, ask a friend or family member to do the research for you. Make sure they take meticulous notes of the entire process and report back.
This is the kind of data that can give you the sharpest edge, as it takes a fair amount of effort to gather, and most businesses won’t want to take the time to gather it.
These seven competitive analysis tactics will help you discover what your competitors are truly made of, and help you improve and develop the kinds of products and services that will put you on your niche map.
Remember that research without implementation is useless, so act on the data you discover as soon as possible.