Why You Should Do Competitive Research
Do you know what your competitors are doing? If not, it’s time for you to take some time and figure out what businesses in your space are and are not doing well. Competitive research is a core practice that helps you grow and evolve your business and helps you stay alert to any changes in your industry.
The unfortunate truth is that many people don’t do competitive research because they don’t even know who their competitors are because they have never paid attention. Thankfully, this is an easily remedied blind spot that can have a big payoff.
Competitors come in all shapes and sizes and sometimes, they might not even be in your direct industry or city. This is especially true when it comes to the digital space. There might be someone else ranking for your target keywords, getting your social media audience to pay attention to them, delivering better emails, and forcing your ad bids higher.
It’s good to think of competitive research as not only a way to get a leg up on another business, but to also grow through learning and discovery. It will help you serve your customers better, spot new opportunities, hone your marketing tactics, build your brand, and expose you to new tools and techniques.
There are four main categories of competitor research you should keep an eye on:
Google Alerts popularized the ability to get an email alert whenever a company, brand, or person is mentioned online. These emails provide quick snapshots of the competitor landscape and help ensure that you are staying on top of the buzz around your competitors. Take your time to set up the alerts well to make sure that the emails are useful and not just more clutter in your inbox.
You need to have the right keywords with the right message to get the most benefit out of your online spend. There are a whole host of tools like SpyFu, AdEspresso, and Google Keyword Planner that can help you figure out which words are ranking the best and about how much they cost. Think of them like a cheat sheet for how to win the bids for online ads.
By far one of the most abstract categories, content research is one of the best research habits to get into, as long as you do it with a goal in mind. Take some time each week and look over what your competitors are doing with the content on their website, emails, and social media. See if you can borrow any of their ideas and improve them. Each customer you push to your content instead of theirs is another potential dollar.
If you are not doing SEO yet, it’s time to start. You want your pages to show up first in search results, so knowing how to do good keyword research is essential. Google Keyword Planner is a great tool for this. Integrate as many keywords as naturally as possible into your content. The more your SEO sounds like natural language patterns, the better.
One tool we recommend for SEO competitor research is Traffic Travis. Traffic Travis is software that will allow you to check your keyword ranking, see how your site is performing, find backlinks, and what edits you need to make to improve your SEO score. Here is a blog post on how Traffic Travis can be used to do competitor research.
If there is one thing that you add to your to-do list to improve your marketing, competitor research should be it. It helps you stay up to date on what people are responding to and helps your business grow and get better.
If you need help with competitive research or any other aspect of your digital marketing, please contact us!