Let's face it.. competition can be rough and for some businesses even scary. However, you must understand your competitors in order to grow your business.
Your Website vs. Their Website
This is probably the easiest gut comparison to make. Of course you can compare the "look" of their site but the design is not what matters most. What you want to look for on your competitors webiste is:
Site pages- What types of pages are shown?
Is their site easy to navigate?
Quality Content- Do they have a blog?
Does it appear that they have an Inbound Marketing Approach- Are there value-offered downloads?
Is their site about the website visitors and not themselves-
Are you being the teacher in your industry or are your competitors owning that role? "If you are not the purveyor of free quality content for your niche, someone else will be.” While it’s difficult to objectively measure the quality and effectiveness of someone else’s content marketing from the outside, the following factors can yield rich insights:
Types of Content
Is your competitor blogging, or have they mastered a presence with an astoundingly broad mix of content, like webinars, valuable white papers/ebooks, and Podcasts? Are they spending time investing in their audience to show how much they care? Having creative, interesting and helpful content on your website is a sure-fire way to grow your audience.
How often are your competitors blogging? Do they blog twice a year or weekly? Subscribe to their blog to determine whether they have a schedule, and how rigorous it is. Compare that to your own strategy. Where your business is missing something, that's a gap that traffic is finding somewhere else.
What about online presence? What social platforms are competitors using? If you can only count Facebook, it's time to do some research quick on social media and get up to speed. Does your competition stick to Facebook and Twitter, or are they using all social media networks equally? Do they experience better engagement on any given platform from what you can see (i.e. popularity, frequency hits, likes etc.)?
Timing and Frequency
How often does your competition post to their social profiles? How effectively are the companies you are examining responding to customer service complaints, questions, and compliments? Quick responses matter, and a company that stops monitoring in the evening and on the weekends misses out on key sales.
What is their Online Following?
Some believe it's good to be either loved or hated and never in between. Some just want to be loved, period. Whichever is the case, digital charisma and attraction have a big influence on a web presence' competitiveness. If everybody hates your site, they're not going to feel inclined to visit it, much less order any your company's services or products. The opposite is true as well. So sentiment really matters, with hopefully positive sentiment rising and translating into sales.
While total social followers offer little value on their own, monitoring the growth of your competitors’ social following can give insight into the efficacy of their strategy. On Facebook, pay attention to how many people are “talking about this.”
Quality Content- What type of Content are they producing?
Is your competition only talking about themselves? Are they effectively targeting content to buyer personas, or sharing items which don’t seem to fit? Are they setting themselves as the expert? How does their formula of content match up against yours? Do you have any at all besides a sales landing page?
Are people sharing their content? Does your website instill passion versus competitors? Do people want to share your content and spread it around? If so, then competitively it's doing far better than those sites people want to ignore. The number of shares may seem like a silly thing but it is a clear, quantified measurement of what people think about your content. The more who share the higher your competitive rating.
Check out Hubspot's MarketingGrader.com and compare yourself against them. Or let us run a free comparison for you. Engagement really does matter for inbound marketing and getting the most out of its related activities. This is why a competitive comparison is key to realizing what your company needs to improve. If your investment in marketing is just shooting out blind, then it's both a waste of time and money. Quantifying results may be disappointing at times, but it gives the best perspective on a business' position in the digital world and how that matters for sales. And ultimately knowing where to improve in a targeted manner often results in a noticeable improvement in sales performance as well.