A Guide to Performing a Competitor Analysis

A Guide To Performing A Competitor Analysis
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What is a Competitor Analysis?

A competitive analysis is a vital part of building your digital marketing strategy because it tells you not only who you are working against, but what has been working for them and what hasn’t. This insight is important as it can save you quite a bit of time and resources, avoiding the trial-and-error period that many brands in your market have to go through to find success.

This research involves identifying:

  • Who your competitors are
  • Their business strengths and weaknesses
  • The product/service strengths and weaknesses
  • Customer needs – especially those that aren’t being met

Taking the time to conduct adequate competitor research can help your business jump ahead of the game.

What Belongs in a Competitor Analysis?

It’s important to understand what belongs in a competitor research report, especially if you are working on a competitor research template that can be used repeatedly. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A detailed description of your target market
  • Descriptions of your products/services and how they compare to those of current solutions on the market
  • Current/Projected market shares, sales, and revenues
  • Pricing model comparisons
  • A detailed comparison of your current marketing plan and that of competitors

Once you’ve got your competitor research template organized, then you can get started.

How to Conduct a Competitor Analysis

Thanks to the many available tools on the internet, conducting thorough competitive research is a lot easier than you may think. Even if you aren’t using a tool designed explicitly for competitor research, you’ll want to make sure you are following each of these steps:

  • Identify your main competitors: These are the individuals who have already established themselves in your market and built their community of supporters.
  • Carefully analyze each competitor’s online presence: This means analyzing their websites, social media pages, and even their email marketing practices. The goal here is to understand their marketing efforts, what they are sharing with their community, how they interact with their community, etc.
  • Analyze their business strategy: How are they marketing their products/services? How are they pricing their products/services? What do their sales look like?
  • Where have other brands succeeded/failed: Knowing this helps you identify market gaps and learn from others’ mistakes so you can avoid them entirely.

These are all required steps when conducting your competitor research. However, it’s essential to remember that competitor research shouldn’t be a one-time project. Ideally, you should be conducting fresh research each time you are preparing to launch something new.

5 Competitor Analysis Tools to Consider Using in 2021

There are plenty of both free and paid tools at your disposal to help you with your market research. Not quite sure where to begin your search? Here are five market analysis tools worth looking into:

1. U.S. Census Data Tools

If you’ve never used U.S. Census Data Tools, you’ll want to begin by watching their Data Gems videos, explaining how to access and utilize the data available. From there, you can start using their tools, which cover:

  • The Labor Market – Statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics
  • Income Statistics
  • Money Statistics – Data from the Federal Reserve Banks
  • Economics – Data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis
  • Industries – Access to the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS)
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2. U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Entrepreneurship Education

Helpful information that you can find in the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Entrepreneurship Education resources include:

  • General Business Data and Statistics
  • Demographics – People and Population
  • Consumer Statistics
  • Economic Indicators
  • Employment Statistics
  • Income and Earnings
  • Money and Interest Rates
  • Production and Sales Statistics
  • Trade Statistics

3. Google Analytics

While the first two options are great for finding more general market information, if you want something more customized to your audience and niche, then you’ll want to check out Google Analytics. This is a free tool that gives you direct access to your brand’s analytics to help you better understand who your audience is.

This tool allows you to create several different reports, including:

  • Acquisition Reports
  • Advertising Reports
  • Audience Reports
  • Behavior Reports
  • Conversion Reports
  • Real-Time Reporting
  • User Flow Reporting

Should you decide you want a little more information, you can upgrade from the free subscription to Analytics 360, giving you access to Data Freshness, Unsampled Reports, and Roll-Up Reporting. Of course, that’s not all. Once you’ve reviewed your information, you’ll be able to picture who your ideal client is, what they’re looking for, and who’ve they’ve likely turned to before coming to you.

4. BuzzSumo

BuzzSumo is an amazing tool that allows you to dig even deeper into your market analysis by showing you what’s trending and with whom. For example, if you enter a specific keyword into the search bar, you’re given a list of the best performing content on the web, across social media, and even a list of top influencers.

Even better, BuzzSumo allows you to track your competitors and analyze the content they are putting out, giving you some extra ideas of what is working with their audience and how you can create even better content to share with your audience.

BuzzSumo does require a subscription. However, you can give it a try for free for 30 days.

5. Moz

Moz is another great tool for building your business strategy, especially when it comes to content creation. They have recently announced their local market analytics, which allows you to create detailed market reports that include competitor research, gap identification, multi-SERP sampling, market metrics, and more.

Like BuzzSumo, Moz does require a subscription to access their latest tools, such as their local market analytics tools. However, you do have the option of a 30-day free trial as well.

How Competitor Analysis Helps You Build Your Digital Marketing Strategy

Whether you’re building a brand-new startup or getting ready to release a new product or service, conducting competitor research helps you strengthen your digital marketing strategy. Here’s how:

1. Helps You Understand and Keep in Touch with Your Market

Conducting competitor research gives you an idea of who you are up against and helps you view the market from your customer’s point of view.

How? By putting you in their shoes. To truly understand your competitors and their tactics, you need to conduct your research as if you were one of their clients, allowing you to identify what works and what doesn’t when it comes to your customer journey map, communication tactics, etc.

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2. Helps You Identify Market Gaps

By analyzing your competitor’s business tactics and successes and failures, you will start to identify gaps in the market. These gaps show you what has worked for your competitors in the past and what is currently working for them now. They can also show you what hasn’t worked so that you can avoid mistakes made in the past, helping you save time and valuable resources.

Competitor research provides you with an opportunity to fill in marketing/business gaps that your competition may not address.

For example: Can your product be purchased online without talking to a sales representative?

  • If the answer is yes, you want to make sure your e-commerce strategy is flawless to ensure the best customer experience.
  • If the answer is no, you need to make sure your content includes engaging promotions that encourage your visitors to reach out to a sales rep to move forward with a purchase.

Again, this step helps you better build your digital marketing strategy to ensure you are giving your potential customers something that your competition doesn’t.

3. Enhances Your Marketing Process

By analyzing your competition’s marketing efforts, you’ll have a better idea of what consumers in your market are looking for as far as content and communications go.

Customers no longer expect sub-par communications. They expect to be treated like the individuals they are and receive prompt replies to comments and questions. They also expect you to create and/or curate content relevant to them and their needs. By conducting competitor research, you’ll be able to see how your audience has reacted to certain types of content and tones of voice – better preparing you for creating content and conversing with your leads in the future.

Knowing your audience is an essential part of your business strategy. Another vital piece of that puzzle is knowing who your direct competitors are, how they work, and using that information to outperform them. This is why B2B competitor analysis is important when creating both your business and marketing strategy.

What is a B2B Competitor Analysis?

A B2B competitor analysis is an examination of the competitors working within your industry. Not only does a competitor analysis help you identify your competitors, but it allows you to carefully evaluate their strategies to see where they’re succeeding and where their weak points may be.

When done right, a B2B competitor analysis will tell you:

  • Who you are competing against
  • The strong points in their strategy
  • The weak points in their strategy
  • Any potential gaps or missed opportunities in their strategy

This analysis can give you insight into who makes up their customer base, what they need, and how you may be able to outperform your competitors by utilizing industry trends.

How to Perform a Detailed B2B Competitor Analysis

If you’re ready to take your business and marketing strategy up a notch, then you’ll want to consider conducting your own competitor research. With the right market research tools at your side, this can be a lot simpler than you may think. Not quite sure how to get started? Simply follow along with this B2B marketing research template:

1. Identify Your Competitors and Categorize Them

You want to take the time to categorize your competitors appropriately:

  • Primary Competition: These individuals are your direct competitors, and that means they likely have similar products and services as you do and target the same audience as you do.  
  • Secondary Competition: While these competitors may sell something similar to you, they are likely selling to a completely different target audience. For example, you may be selling Porsches while your competitor is selling Chevys. While you’re both selling cars, those looking at your products are interested in a much more luxurious, high-end product than those looking for a Chevy.
  • Tertiary Competition: These are considered competitors that do not sell the same products as you but are still within your niche. For instance, if you sell jewelry, a tertiary competitor may sell gemstones. These are important to note if you are planning on scaling your business later on down the line and expanding on your products/services.
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2. Analyze Each of Your Competitor’s Online Websites, Social Media Sites, and Reviews

Research your competitors’ online presence. This means looking at their website, their social media profiles, and checking out their customer reviews on these locations and other online business listings.

This helps give you an idea of what they are doing, who they are interacting with, and how. It also tells you if their customers are pleased with how business is conducted with your competitors, allowing you to move on to any potential gaps that may need filling.

3. Research Your Competitor’s Sales Tactics/Results, Etc.

You’ll want to not only research your competitor’s sales tactics but their results as well. That means finding answers to questions such as:

  • What is their sales process? What does it look like?
  • What channels are they using to sell their products/services?
  • What does their annual revenue look like?
  • What is their average annual sales volume?

From there, you’ll also want to do some research into how they price their products/services, especially if they are similar to yours. Don’t forget to note any promotions they are running and any past promotions to see how customers have responded.

4. Review Their Content Marketing Strategy

It doesn’t matter if it’s in the form of videos, infographics, whitepapers, or blogs – you want to take the time to review what kinds of content your competitors are creating.

Make a note of how your competitor’s audience is responding to their content. Are they leaving comments? Asking questions? Sharing via social media? This will help give you an idea of what kind of content works well and doesn’t when it comes to your audience engagement.

5. Complete a SWOT Analysis

While you’re taking a look through your competitor’s sales, marketing, and business strategies, it’s essential to start running a simplified Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) Analysis.

As you analyze each of their strategies, you want to jot down notes regarding where your competitors are succeeding and where they can improve. You want to make sure you find opportunities to one-up them or any possible threats they may impose upon you.

B2B Competitor Analysis Done Right with CadenceSEO Consulting

Here at CadenceSEO, we understand that every successful marketing strategy requires statistical research to back up each move you make to better your business. We work with your team to properly research your market and competitors and formulate a plan of action to see your business dreams become a reality.

Need help conducting your B2B competitor analysis? Then contact us today!

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