Category: GeneralPublished: 18/02/2016
No-one likes to hear that they’ve been doing something wrong but many people would welcome the opportunity to find out what they could be doing better. Running digital marketing competitor analysis can be a daunting task to even consider, however, if it’s done properly and with an open mind, it can help you to gain the advantage. You know what works for you currently and what you have tried in the past. You will also have an idea of what your potential budget is. Therefore, you can use the data that you collect to combine what you already know with what your competitors are doing better.
We’re not particularly looking at those that you aspire to or for that matter, those that you have left in your wake but businesses of a similar size and standing as yours that appear to be doing well enough. Follow the basic process outlined below (in this order) and it will give you an idea of how well they are doing, how readily they are being found, and crucially, what you can look to do better than them.
What we're looking for here is not only how well their website ranks in searches, or how much they are spending on PPC advertising. We need to look at the whole picture 'from search to success’ to find out how well (or how poorly) they are converting website traffic into business. This is the kind of detail that your digital marketing supplier should be looking into when they are proposing to run a targeted campaign within your chosen budget.
Do the following first of all for your own website, make some notes for yourself and then do the same for your chosen competitors.
Find out which competitors (if any) are coming up more regularly than you in Google’s search listings for search terms that you consider to be most relevant to your top products and/or main services. Ignore PPC Google Ads here and also ‘company specific searches’ - if a business isn’t being found for their company name locally then they are in real trouble. We're looking only at 'organic' searches here for what you do.
Check the links and the descriptions added below them in the search listings:
• Do the links contain the search term that you typed in?• Do they contain unique page/product relevant information in each case or are they the same each time?• Do they ‘encourage’ you to click through to view the page/product on their website? • Do they contain any incentives that you don't (eg. free UK delivery, 24 hour delivery available, price match promise, UK's leading supplier etc.)?
Using the same keywords, now check which of your competitors (if any) are running Pay Per Click ads for your main products and services. Click on some of the ads. Do the links take you directly to relevant product/services pages, or always the home page? Then consider...
This is akin to walking into a shop for the first time. If it looks like a poor when you come through the door, then the chances are that you'll double back and leave before even going down any aisles - even if you already know they have a product that you want. Now consider…
• Does the page load quickly enough?• How do the pages look when you land on there? • Is the layout clean and easy to navigate?• Are the images used of a good consistent quality and are they detailed enough?• Does the layout work well on both desktop and mobile?• Do the images have people (faces) in them wherever possible (on top level pages especially)?• Does the website earn your trust enough to make you want to find out more?
If the advert or organic link you clicked on directs you to a product or service page, consider what information the page contains:
• Does it deliver enough information quickly and clearly at the top of the page (before you need to scroll down)?• Does it then deliver key technical specifications further down the page for those who need it?• Is the text written in easy to understand language or is it overly-technical? Easy to understand is obviously best.• Is the photography of good quality and does it back up the key information delivered in the text?• Can the user select product variants conveniently on one page (colours, sizes dimensions)?• Are most key times 'in stock'?
This part really starts with the SEO and promotion parts above and runs right though design and content. The descriptions shown in search results should have already given incentive to view the page/product and the design and content should have made good on that promise, then worked to convert your visit to a ‘goal’. The goal of the site or page may only be an enquiry form, or more obviously, an online sale or order. Check your competitor pages to see if, after delivering key information, are they making it much easy for the user to make the decision to buy from them than you are.
Any 'barriers to sale' at this, or any of the previous stages will render the whole process useless... and any investment in good SEO or PPC ads is money wasted unless the buying process is simple and effective.
This part now looks at how you can harnesses existing/previous customers to get repeat orders and to recommend you. Check to see if your competitors are using a blog and Social media effectively to gather feedback and to share updates from their website.
• Are they publishing regular, relevant updates on a blog or news section on their website? (we're not talking staff night out photos or retirement notices here. If they're doing that, their doing it wrong.)• Do these articles contain internal links to relevant products or connected information?• Are they posting links to news articles on social media to gain more traffic?• Do they appear to maintain a dialogue with customers and contribute to discussions on connected social media pages or industry forums?• Are they 'boosting' posts or running ongoing sponsored ad campaigns on Social Media to build their following or to direct traffic to their site?• Are they running emailers to an existing database with new offers and key updates, maybe they have a sign-up facility on their site?
The above should provide you with enough information to help you decide what you need to do better and give you a general overview of how you are currently performing online. It should also give you an indication of how meticulous your digital marketing partner should be approaching your business.
Here are Big Red we look to form at a long term partnerships and develop support strategies for our customers - not to simply build a website and dump it on you. That's not how we work. If you would like to work with us on your digital marketing, please don’t hesitate to contact us. It could be the beginning of a long and fruitful relationship.
Look out, here comes the goal conversion...
Big Red can help.
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