Competitive research – what does it mean to your business? Do you equate the concept to “spying” and eschew it outright, or do you already have your competitors wiretapped and under surveillance? Regardless of which camp you’re in, you should know that there’s more to be earned from competitive analysis than just a direct advantage over your competitors. It doesn't matter how inconsequential you think it may be: all SMBs can benefit from studying their competitors.
To get the most value from your competitive research, ask yourself the following questions:
In order for competitive research to work, it has to be both insightful and applicable . Say you run a store that sells used clothing – it may be very insightful to know that the store next to yours ranks #1 in a Google search for “shoes”, but it’s not applicable to your business if nobody searching “shoes” is looking for used shoes.
Whenever you gain insight, you need to look at it through a critical lens and make sure acting on it will result in a win for your business. The most rewarding research gives you applicable insight and can change the way you operate – even offline.
For example, if you notice a significant number of alerts and mentions from competitors and local influencers (follow the weatherman and see who follows him/her in turn!) about “snow pants”, chances are there’s an opportunity to satisfy excess demand. You may want to stock up on snow pants and even run a promotion to edge out competition, benchmarking competitors’ previous campaigns.
Competitive research isn’t a one-and-done task. You should be building it into your routine. It’s not as difficult as it sounds – once you get comfortable with the tools available, acting on insight becomes effortless. More importantly, you’ll begin to naturally pick up insight as you go – paying extra attention and seeing things you hadn’t noticed about your competitors’ digital strategies before.
To get yourself in the habit, we suggest setting aside a few minutes each day to perform a simple exercise:
The next step is to action those items, but there’s no hurry at the beginning. You should be more concerned with getting into a good routine and growing your understanding of what your competitors are up to. You’ll need to get things off the ground eventually, but waiting a bit and doing things properly is smarter than taking stabs in the dark.
Competitive analysis is easier than ever, but also much deeper than ever before. There’s an ocean of insight out there. Cast a wide net and worry about the big fish later.
Set up alerts to track how your brand (and your competitors’) is being mentioned, then adjust your plan based on what you find successful within your vertical or target audience.
Finding out which advertisements are working for your competitors will help you decide which will work for you. Let them do the research while you maximize ROI based on the insight.
Take a look at what your competitors are writing about. If it resonates with the same audience you’re targeting, deconstruct the piece and expand on any areas you’re an expert in. Finding subpar articles and creating something ten times better is a successful strategy when done right.
Dig through competitors’ keywords to see what they’re targeting. It doesn’t mean you have to compete – in fact, you may see a quick-win opportunity in optimizing for a keyword that your competitors have forgotten.
There are more tools than ever right now - a quick Google search turns up loads of results, but here are a few we can vouch for. (And no, we’re not getting anything in return for sharing these.)
SpyFu – generate loads of insight into your competitors’ keywords. Very handy if you’re not quickly able to determine what your competitors are targeting.
Google Keyword Planner – at times frustrating, but this is from the horse’s mouth, so don’t ignore it. Not as strong as a competitive tool, but great for tracking your own progress once you’ve borrowed some insight.
– find the most popular articles and keep an eye on major influencers via the share tracking functionality.
Feedly – track articles in your vertical and use advanced search to track mentions.
Monitor Backlinks – it’s very likely that your competitors are being linked to by resources that would also gladly link to you. Grab some quick wins by reaching out to any “gaps” between you and your competitors.
Spotzer is proud to announce a partnership with Infusionsoft to provide an innovative best-in-class solution for websites and paid search campaigns within Google. The new digital products will take advantage of automation and analytics tools to give Infusionsoft's SMB customers an edge over their local competitors.
Spotzer will create websites for SMBs and optimize them for Pay-Per-Click (PPC) performance using Spotzer’s proprietary ad serving technology, Ad-Direction . The unique localization tool will integrate with Infusionsoft’s powerful automation software to fine-tune campaigns and generate effective leads for their customers.
If you’re planning to open an innovative technology company in Europe, your options just became clear. The European Union Committee of the Regions recently named their top three European cities for innovation , and we were quite pleased (though not surprised) by the results:
#1 – Amsterdam, Netherlands
#2 – Turin, Italy
#3 – Paris, France
Amsterdam edged out a field of 36 competitors across the EU to claim the title of “iCapital” (Innovation Capital of Europe). Each city received a substantial cash reward to support further efforts in sustaining growth in innovative tech fields.
Spotzer’s global headquarters are based in Amsterdam. It makes sense that these cities are topping the charts for promise and potential, as we’ve seen massive interest in high-quality digital products in these markets; some reactionary, wherein a disruptive offering could easily transform the status quo, and some traditional, following a more linear and predictable path to innovation.
Spotzer sees these awards as confirmation of our direction – not only from a product perspective, but geographically as well, and we look forward to continuing our contribution to these fantastic cities.