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Competitive Marketing Strategy: 5 Ways to Stay Ahead of Competitors

Competitive_Marketing_StrategyYou’re already behind if you’re not paying attention to your competitors’ marketing. 

After all, you’re marketing to the same people. If they are better at hooking prospects, shouldn’t you know how they’re doing it? If your competition has weaknesses, shouldn’t you take advantage of them?

When developing your marketing plan, ensure you review your competitors’ efforts. This analysis helps you determine the tactics that do and don’t work and a strategy that sets you apart.

Add these five ideas to your competitive marketing strategy:

  1. Analyze their websites
  2. Comb their social media
  3. Become a customer
  4. Track their SEO & traffic performance
  5. Talk to your customers

1. Analyze Their Websites

While they serve several functions, websites are primarily marketing tools. Customers learn a lot from what a website has and doesn’t have. A website with a clean and modern design, helpful information, and helps prospects quickly find remedies for their pain points gives them a better impression of the company. A site that looks like it’s from 1996, with outdated or irrelevant information, and doesn’t provide any potential solutions to problems gives the impression that the website is an afterthought. 

Since many customers first encounter a business online, a poorly designed website indicates that prospects are also afterthoughts

How does your competition stack up? Start with your top three closest competitors and pour through every detail on every page. How do they present information? Does the site have a logic that helps potential customers travel easily through the buyer’s journey? Take note of:

  • Blogs: Do they have one? How often do they post? What topics do they cover? Is the material helpful, accurate, and detailed? Is it mobile-friendly? What sources are they using?
  • Premium offers: Do they offer white papers, “Ultimate Guides,” infographics, pillar pages, webinars, case studies, videos, or workshops? 

In this analysis, evaluate the content from your perspective as an industry expert. Then, take off that hat and become a “customer.”

2. Become a Customer

The best way to get a handle on your competition’s customer experience is to become one yourself. Here are some ways to  consume what your competitors offer without shelling out cash:

  • Subscribe to their blogs, marketing emails, and newsletters
  • Download their premium offers (Consider using an email that isn’t your company email)
  • Visit their sites monthly or quarterly for any updates
  • “Like” them on social media (You know what they say about keeping your friends close and your enemies closer)
  • Sign up for a free trial or similar marketing offer 

In these ways, you experience your competitors’ marketing efforts as a potential customer. What strategies did you like? What failed to hook you? 

Use this to brainstorm your marketing strategies. Don’t copy your competitors. One-up them. Was their “Ultimate Guide to [Insert Service Here]” a good read? Great. How can you make it better? What did they fail to address? What did they get wrong? How could the writing or presentation be improved? 

You can learn from the good and the bad. Take inspiration from your competitors’ marketing efforts and do yours better. Remember, they are marketing to the same audience you are. Show potential customers you’re the better choice by presenting them with better marketing.

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3. Comb Through Their Social Media

Competitive_marketing_strategy_social_mediaMany companies use at least one social media platform. If you don’t use social media for your company or use it sparingly, evaluate which platform seems to work best for your industry and what messages resonate with consumers. 

When evaluating your competitors’ social media platforms, pay attention to:

  • What they are posting
  • Which posts perform the best
  • How many people engage with the posts 
  • The size of their followers
  • How they are using calls to actions 
  • Where they are posting (industry groups and pages)
  • What hashtags they use 

If they use it well, your regular social media analysis should give you a good idea of what the competition is doing

4. Track Their SEO & Traffic Performance

Competitor analysis tools such as Semrush or Google Seach Console are invaluable. You get several bits of information simply by typing a URL into their  search bars:

  • The organic and paid keywords they rank for
  • Their organic and paid traffic
  • The backlinks that refer to them
  • Their top-performing pages and subdomains
  • Their main organic competitors

You can see how these metrics perform over time and compare them to yours. Knowing these metrics allows you to see any holes in your current strategy. What keywords are your competitors ranking well for that you aren’t targeting? What type of content receives the most views? This analysis can help make more engaging content. 

5. Ask Your Customers

Your customers may be loyal and never leave you. However, your competition is trying to lure them away. Ask your customers what they think about your company compared to other companies. Why did they choose your company and not your competitors? What content impacted their decision to become your customer and not theirs? What value do your rivals offer that your customers wish your company did?

Consider doing a period customer survey to gather this information. Surveys help you better understand your customers’ needs, wants, and motives. This information will help you develop winning marketing strategies.

Your Competitive Marketing Strategy Is More Than Watching the Competition

Keeping an eye on your competitors is crucial for any successful competitive marketing strategy. However, it’s only one piece of the puzzle. Don’t obsess over what your competitors are doing. See what they do and do it better, but be authentically you. Differentiate yourself from your competitors by offering them value that only you provide. After all, the key is for you to stand out from the competition. 

Need Help Creating an Online Marketing Plan?

A solid online marketing plan will help you stay on top of your competition and help you generate new business. protocol 80 has helped companies turn their websites into lead generators for 20 years. Request your free consultation and see how your website can become a more powerful tool for marketing and sales.


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