“The most essential element of successful Business strategy is that it derives its success from the differences between competitition with a significant advantage to the one that knows the other’s behavior”.
Competition Topics: Why? Prep, Moz’ Open Site Explorer, BuiltWith, Majestic, AhRefs, What Runs Where, Wayback Machine
You may ask yourself why you need to do a Competitive Analysis (CA) for your marketing or how will helps you create a Marketing Plan. You know which companies are direct or in-direct competitors, but not much more than that. You may be subscribed to the Competitions’ newsletter or even follow them on Social Media, but there’s so much more to understand. You need to know what your Competitors are doing and how they differ from you.
What’s your Competition Up To?
This article is going to focus on the marketing aspect of the Competitive Analysis and how you can benefit from learning about what your Competition do off & on-line to find new opportunities. Whether it’s a Website you can reach out to for a Back-Link or a way to get inspired for your next Ad copy, it’s important to always be on top of what your competitors are doing.
All Startups have Competitors.
All startups operate in a very competitive & fast-paced environment. A competitor does not just do exactly what you do, where you do it, nor how your operation works.
If they “target” the same Audience & solve the same Problem, they’re a Competitor.
It doesn’t matter if you have different features or user interface – you are competing with that company for the user’s time & attention to perform the identical activity. Companies that gain strong knowledge about their competition & their activities can make better decisions in their marketing strategies.
Prepare an Online Competitive Analysis.
Before starting to create a Marketing Plan, prepare an online Competitive Analysis to act as a bench-mark and help build your marketing & sales strategy.
Here are the Top 7 Tools
You may start using these 7 tools, right now for free, to get to know your competition and keep an eye on what they’re doing online:
AhRefs [AR] is a tool that tracks Back-Links, SEO keywords & Mentions of your competitors. Their service is quite comprehensive and includes several services in 1 product. Unlike other tools on this list, you can’t really try AR for free. You’ll be asked to your enter billing info before being able to see anything (your short free Trial). Because it’s so comprehensive, it can be a bit of an over-kill if you don’t have a dedicated person on your team for SEO or marketing and you can make do with the other tools on the list.
A Good Ratio has to be Smaller than 1.2 (TF/CF). This is a great tool for you as well to check that you are not linked from Spammy low-quality websites. If you see you are linked in ways you don’t want to be known for, you can use Google’s Disavow Links tool (carefully) and remove them.
BuiltWith (BW, not BMW) BW gives you inside information on all the tools your Competitor uses on their website. Entering your competitor’s URL, you can see A/B testing, then use the results to help your company. Do they use Email marketing? Which analytics did they set up? This inside information is both useful marketing-wise, (if your competitors use one channel, maybe you should consider using it too). It can help you decide which technologies to implement on your website. Look at TechCrunch, for example. You can see they’re using dozens of different analytics tools, advertising tools, etc. I sometimes like using BuiltWith when approached by a company for a partnership, just to see if the company uses its own product.
Majestic shows you all the referring websites & Back-Links your competitor has. It also has a unique feature of showing you Trust vs. Citation – meaning, what is the ratio between the number of times your competitor has been cited and the number of trusted websites it has been cited it. Why is this interesting? Well, this way, you can tell if your competitor has links from reputable & “legit” websites or if it applies a Spammy SEO strategy.
Moz’ Open Site Explorer (OSE) Moz OSE is a comprehensive business intelligence tool. By entering your competitor’s URL, you can see their inbound links, which pages on their website are top performing ones, anchor text used to link to their website & overall SEO metrics of the URL. The free version provides you with the top results and if you need more, you can sign up for a 30-day trial. By using OSE, you can get a plan which determines which pages you should have on your Website that would work best. Consider reaching out to them as well, see which anchor text they use (keywords linked to the website, which indicates and SEO strategy) and more.
Wayback Machine [WM] is the internet’s archive. Using it, you can see when your competitors replaced their Home Page and how long they had a certain version for. The more reputable the website is, the more it’s being sampled. Look at CNN.com for example.
What Runs Where [WRW] is your Ad spy. It is a paid service, but if you run many display or text paid campaigns, it could be great intelligence tool for you. Their pricing is a bit steep for a startup, but you can start with the free trial and see if it’s worth your budget to continue. The company cruises the Web and can show you the Ads your competitors run on both mobile & desktop. Let’s just say that if you see a competitor running an Ad for a long period, it’s probably an Ad that works and from which you can gain value for planning your next Ad.
Comments: Do you know any other good Tools for Competitive Analysis?
from Startup Grind 2/17 enhanced by Peter/CXO Wiz4biz