We all know the saying, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” In business, your enemies are your competition and you do need to keep them close. Obviously, this doesn’t mean you treat them like you would a personal enemy during a battle. However, you should know what your competition is up to and always be looking for ways to learn from them.
You don’t want to learn from your competitors, and then copy them. Instead, you want to use the information you learn and understand how you can beat them. Here are a few of the many ways you can keep your competition close, regardless of the size of your business.
Spy on Competition with Search Tools
You can use a number of different tools to keep a close eye on your competition online. With the right tool, you will know how often your competition’s website sees visitors and how they are getting them. Some of the top tools include:
- Ahref’s Organic Traffic
- SEOmonitor Competition Insight
These tools will help you see what your competition is up to for both organic and paid search traffic.
The right tools will show you how your competition is getting traffic and where it’s coming from. When you know where your competition’s traffic is coming from, you can even the playing field. For example, if you discover the keyword phrases bringing them the most traffic, you can use this information to create content and SEO around those keyword phrases and take over a portion, if not all of that traffic.
Online Customer Engagement
What type of website does your competition use? Is it mobile-friendly? Do they provide multiple support options?
You can simply check out the websites of your biggest competitors to see what they offer. Check the website on a smartphone or tablet to see if they use a responsive design and check their support options. Once you have a good idea of how they are operating online, you will know what you’re up against.
If your competition doesn’t offer something you can offer, offer it and leapfrog them. For example, if they don’t use a mobile-friendly design and you do, you may hop over them in the search rankings and you may grab all the mobile traffic they are losing.
Of course, following your competition on social media will help you keep them close. You can use some social snooping tools to see what they are doing and the kind of success they are experiencing. Some of the top tools include:
- Social Bakers – This program will send you notifications whenever your competition outperforms you on social media platforms. You will see how and why they outperformed you, as well.
- RivalIQ – Provides data from social network channels allowing you to consolidate and track your competition.
- Fanpage Karma – Gives you a look at the presence of your competition on social media and tracks things, such as the best topics, best time to post and the best types of posts.
You can find out quite a bit about your competition, such as the social networks they use, the types of posts they provide, how often they post and much more.
Check out Their Blog
It’s easy to figure out a competitor’s content marketing strategy from their blog. You can see how often they post, if they are using personas, what type of posts they provide, how long the post are and how they are formatted. This can give you a good idea of what you need to do to beat them.
For example, if your competition is listed high in the search engines for a blog post of only 300 words, you may be able to take over the spot if you can provide a longer, more detailed post and optimize it properly.
Newsletter or Email Marketing
Keeping your competition close is easily done by subscribing to their newsletter or list. This will give you access to every email they send out to promote blog posts, products, services or anything else. Most likely, they have an automated system with 30 to 90 days’ worth of messages, which you will gain access to by subscribing.
You can easily track how often they send emails, what the emails are about, what they link to, what they are promoting and much more.
There are many other ways to keep your competition close. These tips will get you started and allow you to see what your largest competitors are doing to attract attention. You can also look at the trade shows they attend, how they provide customer service and many other areas of their business to get an idea of how you can beat them.