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The Essential Guide to Spying on Your Competitors

The Essential Guide to Spying on Your Competitors

Competition is a great way to make yourself a better marketer. You might be satisfied with your own results, but looking at a competitor can inspire you to keep trying. And why not let your competition help you become even better?

Today I’m going to share my best tips for spying on your competitors and using their successes and failures to improve your marketing strategy!

Find Your Competition
You’ll have to locate your competitors before you can draw any comparisons. But how do you do it?

Go to your preferred search engine and put in any keywords that someone could use to find your business. The brands that come up in that search (especially the ones that are outranking you) are your competitors.

For example, if you’re marketing for a home aide service, you would look up your city and some keywords from your industry. if you’re selling a product, include words that describe that product to help you find your competition!

Start Spying
You’ve got a lot of options when it comes to checking on your competitors. Use Google Alerts to set up a regular notification when anything new is published by or about your competitor. Just to be safe, you may even want to put an alert on their CEO.

If you’re receiving a lot of notifications about them, they’re probably sending out regular press releases or email newsletters. I recommend signing up for their email marketing pieces – it’ll help you see what they’re sending and how often! This can be a great way to see what they’re telling their audience. Even better, you may find gaps in their content that you can fill!

And of course, there’s the simple method of just following their social media accounts. Take stock of what they’re posting and how their audience is responding, and you’ll be ready for the next part of your social media recon plan!

Run a Competitive Analysis
To see how you stack up to your competition, you’ll need to compare. That means looking at a few key metrics!

How many followers are they getting, and how long has it taken them to amass their following? For example, you might be intimidated by their 50,000 page likes, but if you only notice that number growing by one or two per week, then you know they aren’t doing much to expand their audience.

It’s also smart to remember that followers don’t always translate to customers. What’s their engagement like? See which of their posts are getting attention and which are being ignored. This will help you determine what should and shouldn’t go in your content mix!

Keep Tabs
This isn’t something you want to do once and ignore for the rest of the year. Compile all your information so you can check back in and update your numbers. This will let you track how effectively you’re using their own strategy against them!

Start by creating a spreadsheet. Put in the name of each competitor and links to anywhere they have an online presence. Record monthly intervals of things like their follower count. Engagement is harder to assign a hard number, but maybe set up a numerical system for yourself: a zero if they’ve had next to no engagement that month and a ten if their audience just can’t get enough in another month.

This whole process will save you time as you check your competitors’ social media channels and see how they’re stacking up to your own!

Stay Informed
One of the worst things you can do is shove your head in the sand and pretend that your competitors’ actions won’t affect you. Keep on the ball, see what your competitors are doing, and you’ll be one step closer to leaving your competition in the dust!

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