First of all, what is an Online Competitive Analysis – It is an opportunity to review your top competitors and their online marketing strategies. In the online world it is much easier to obtain company information and marketing materials than in an offline environment. Access to increased, more in-depth information, allows a small business greater opportunity to benefit from the data provided in an online competitive analysis.
An analysis makes it possible to understand your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, as well as your own. What’s included in an Online Analysis? Here are some typical elements of an Online Competitive Analysis:
1) Who are Your Top Competitors?
2) How are they trending over the last few months?
3) How long have they been online?
4) What Products/Services do they offer?
5) Pricing and Pricing Structure.
6) What features and benefits do they think differentiate them from the competition?
7) What is their Main Sales Headline or Pitch?
8) Do they offer an Affiliate Program? If so, which Affiliate Program do they use?
9) Are they currently offering any promotions or incentive programs?
10) What is unique or different about their website?
How does knowing this information benefit you and your company? By obtaining this information you can:
1) Identify WHO your main competitors are and access the threat levels of each individual company.
2) Recognize weaknesses in what you are offering your customers.
3) Plan how to improve what you are providing your customers and how you are providing that service.
4) Distinguish your strengths and what makes you stand out from the crowd.
5) Determine your Differentiating Value Proposition – What is the single thing that makes you unique and the best in your field?
6) Identify what factors drive success in your particular market space. Often, the key factors in success are different than what you might think prior to a thorough analysis.
7) Define what steps you need to take to improve your market position.
What are the typical steps in completing a Competitive Analysis?
1) Check Multiple Resources to identify competitors – Most Effective Competitive Analysis will compare three to five leading companies in your market
a. Natural Search Results
b. Trade Organizations
c. Business Registries
d. Data from Web Analytic sites that show what sites are Referring people to your site.
e. Social Media Word of Mouth
2) Determine the Fundamental Success Factors for your industry.
a. Rate your company in these factors.
b. Rate your competitors in these factors.
3) Define the competitive strengths of each competitor and your company.
a. What makes each company unique?
4) What strategic relationships do your competitors utilize?
5) Make Note of any unique or creative ways your competitors interact with their customers.
6) Analyze ratings and rankings to determine the effectiveness of your competitors marketing strategy:
a. Google PageRank
7) Identify the revenue models of each of your competitors. Are there areas you aren’t sourcing to produce revenue?
In today’s fast paced world, staying in touch with your customers and understanding your competitors is crucial. Plan to perform an Online Competitive Analysis on an annual or semi-annual basis, based on the competitive environment of your industry.
Taking the time to create an effective online competitive analysis can be difficult and time consuming. There are highly trained Internet Marketing Virtual Assistants that can put this information together for you. Utilizing a trained professional allows you to benefit from their expertise as well as focus your time and attention on the important results of the online competitive analysis.