The word ‘competition’ seems to have a negative connotation in the entrepreneur world, but I’m not exactly sure why.
Can’t healthy competition push us to be better and stronger at what we do?
Heck, it might even slap us out of a lazy streak, or inspire us to take on a hot topic from a different angle! In my opinion, that is healthy energy that should always be flowing in your business!
So the question becomes, how can you harness this energy and information to give your business the boost it needs?
I know, it sounds like a boring task that should be done once a year by a bunch of corporate monkeys, but it is really something everyone (and I mean everyone!) should be doing on an ongoing basis!
Competitive analysis isn’t about comparing yourself to others to see who is ‘better’, but is about giving you perspective about where you stand in your target market.
There are several tools that can be used to do this investigation and most are free (yay!). The three insanely useful tools I'm focusing on today will not only help you get better at competitive analysis, but also be at the top of your game, and stay there!
This tool allows you to search for any site on the internet, and take a sneak peek at it’s site stats!
You can also search two sites side by side and get a comparison. Again, the idea isn’t to see who necessary is ‘better’, but more so to give you a reading of the size and breadth of traffic some of these sites are bringing in.
Just enter in the site URL and start scrolling through the data.
This is a pretty cool way to see how your competition is doing in terms of monthly traffic, where their users are coming from, and how much time they are spending on the site. It can also provide some perspective on a blind spot that you were previously unaware of!
Another extremely helpful feature you'll find in SimilarWeb's results is the Social Referral Statistics, which can save you a TON of guesswork by telling you where your target audience is hanging out, and which social media platforms you shouldn't waste your time on!
I know this tool isn’t the prettiest, but you can’t get away from the fact that Google has a massive database of benchmark data that shouldn’t be overlooked!
Just go to your Google Analytics account (if you don’t have it installed and have WordPress, check out this post) and go to: Reporting > Audience > Benchmarking > Channels.
Here you can see how you stack up against other online businesses in a couple of key metrics. (Make sure you’ve selected your industry type correctly on the top left part of the report!)
Don't get bummed out by a sea of little red arrows!
Again, all these reports can give you a sense of your site’s position, specifically relating to your businesses’ industry, so use that information to start turning those arrows green!
A great way to think about it is this: if you have a brick and mortar business, isn’t it important to see what else is around your store on the street? If you're selling baked goods, and so is one of your neighbours, shouldn’t you check out what strategies they're using, and which ones are proven to work?
This knowledge will help you shift your game plan accordingly, without having to go through the trial and error part!
This final tool is more socially related, giving us data on your competitor's engagement on social networks.
Not only can you search specific websites to see their most shared content, but also search specific topics that you're interested in writing about to see how it was received by readers.
Talk about a powerful investigation tool!
You can even create an alert (if you want to go a bit more "info-stalker" with it!) about a specific site or content topic.
There are a number of paid features as well, but you can squeeze a lot of useful information just from the free data!
See how this type of research can be beneficial to your business?
Instead of taking a hard blow to your ego (which is completely possible!), use this information to kick things up a notch in your business, and help you stand out in the crowd!
Do you use these tools already in your research? Tell me...
Which of these tools has been most helpful in scoping out your "competition"?
Guest Post Written By: Cinthia from Digmorphosis
"I'm a Digital Strategist, helping creative entrepreneurs with their web analytics and systems auditing. A creative (paper lover) myself, I understand the digital struggles and overwhelm that goes on when running an online business. My goal is to bring balance, helping merge digital and analog aspects of your business!" Let's Connect: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
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