How to Surpass the Competition with a Competitive Analysis

Written by Ian Landsman · 12.22.2022

As a data-driven marketer, you know that metrics are essential to the success of your marketing campaigns. However, if you aren’t leveraging your competitor’s data as well, you are missing out on insightful information that can improve the performance of your initiatives.

A competitive analysis can tell you so much more than what is working and not working with your marketing campaigns. It can also reveal new available markets, help you anticipate trends, and provide you with a helpful industry benchmark.

If you want to surpass the competition this year, you need to use their data strategically. Here are six tips to help you leverage your competitor’s data to dominate your market.

Focus on One Area First

Many digital marketers are easily intimidated by the sheer amount of data they have at their fingertips. Luckily, you don’t need to digest this data all at once.

If you try to analyze your competition’s social media, SEO, and PPC strategies all at one time, you are going to end up with a data overload. Additionally, the competitive intelligence you do gain will likely not be very detailed.

When it comes to performing a competitive analysis, you need to do a single area well, as opposed to many areas poorly. Start by focusing on one area in the beginning and dive deep into their strategy for it. You will come away with better insight that you can use to fuel your marketing campaigns.

Utilize Competitive Analysis Tools

The explosion of digital technology has provided marketers with an abundance of competitive analysis tools. The good news is that many of these services are either free or affordable to all eCommerce marketers.

If you have decided to focus on analyzing your competitor’s content marketing, you can leverage a tool like BuzzSumo to find content that is currently trending across social media. You can also use your marketing automation platform to identify your top posts and find gaps in your content marketing strategy.

Marketing automation software usually has a number of features that allow you to track and compare data from your competitors. If you’re looking for free competitive analysis tools, there are a few good ones that you can leverage, as well.

For example, you can monitor brand mentions with Google Alerts, gain insight into a competitor’s site ranking with SimilarWeb, and research your competitor’s keywords with SEMrush.

Group by Size and Importance

It’s tempting to focus on the biggest eCommerce companies dominating your niche in the industry. While they have insight that will benefit your eCommerce business, you can’t forget to analyze the smaller businesses, as well.

In fact, small online retailers can provide your own eCommerce store with a goldmine of valuable data. It’s not uncommon for them to spot new trends before bigger brands catch sight of the next big thing. These small online retailers could also be targeting a new market that you haven’t considered yet.

Before you gather competitive intelligence, make a list of your biggest rivals, and be sure to include those who are similar in size, as well. By comparing your key metrics to those of your peers, you can establish a benchmark for your eCommerce store and see how you stack up against the competition.

Don’t Copy Your Competitors

It’s a popular adage that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. However, copying your competitor’s strategies isn’t the purpose of a competitive analysis.

This intelligence is effective at illustrating what is working for the competition. You can learn from their strategies, but you shouldn’t simply rewrite their content. Instead, you need to take their ideas, expand upon them, and put your own stamp on it.

For instance, let’s say that you have noticed one of your competitors is getting tons of shares and likes on a blog post about choosing the right suit for a summer wedding. If the existing post is 750 words long, make yours 1,500 and add more value to it. Don’t just increase the length of the piece. Add quality links to other great online content. Provide more helpful tips. Then polish it up with some visual appeal to encourage people to engage with it.

This is commonly known as the Skyscraper Technique. It’s highly effective, but only if you add value—not simply length—to your content!

Keep Up with Their Marketing Efforts

A competitive analysis can uncover powerful insight that can help you grow your eCommerce business, but in order to surge ahead of the competition, you need to continuously track your competitors’ marketing efforts and collect data.

Staying up-to-date on your own marketing efforts is hard enough, so it’s understandable if you’re wondering how other marketers have time for this! Thankfully, the answer lies with marketing tools.

For example, you can keep up with any new content that your rivals post with Feedly, and tools like Fanpage Karma make it easy to follow their social media accounts.

At the very minimum, subscribe to your competitor’s email newsletter and see what they are sending to their audience. By staying in the know, you will be the first to notice big changes that can change how you approach your marketing strategies.

Always Test Your Own Experiments

It’s logical to assume that if something works for your competitors, it will probably work equally as well for you. However, you still need to test your ideas before unveiling them to your customers. Though you may be similar in size and operate in the same niche, your business is unique in many ways.

As a rule, you should always test any changes you make to your website and track the results. By taking a data-driven approach to every facet of your marketing, you can identify what changes make a positive impact and maximize your ROI.

Use These Tips to Analyze Your Competitors and Advance Your Business

Technology has dramatically changed how we analyze our competitors. As more business owners adopt a data-driven approach to marketing, it is now essential that you utilize your competitor’s metrics in addition to your own.

Today, there are a significant number of competitive analysis tools available to businesses of all sizes. By making smart use of these tools, you can employ agile strategies and win a greater share of the market.

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Ian Landsman
Ian founded HelpSpot in 2005 with the goal of making every interaction with your customers simple and efficient.
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