If you haven't done anything in relation to your competitors, it's definitely time to start right now.
The top 3 reasons to have a comprehensive Competitive Intelligence plan and information are to:
Where Should You Start?
I'm sure you know your top competitors in your industry, or in your region. Simply write down a list of the top three to five competitors as well as some hot-button areas that are important in relation to your business and your competitors.
That could be your marketing, or service, or product features for example. Build a list around these top areas that affect revenue when it comes to your business and those of your competitors.
Where's Some Good Info?
You can use a combination of external facing and behind the scenes channels and tools to obtain some insights into your competitors.
On the external facing, you should always start at your competitor's websites, but also look at their social feeds. You can learn a lot about what they're up to from those two channels.
Behind the scenes, there are tons of tools available.. so I thought I'd focus on 3 quick areas.
SEOquake even provides keyword density and long tail keywords, so you can really see what your competitor's website content is doing for them.
For the social side, there are 3 great options I like to use. In Facebook, you can go into the pages to watch section which is actually in your insights and add in your competitors pages.
It will give you information on how their audience is growing and how their posts are engaging so you can watch that and compare your page against theirs.
It even gamifies things a bit by showing who is in the lead.
For advertising, if you go to your competitors pages in Facebook, there's a transparency section that you can actually see what advertising they're running through Facebook or Instagram, and there's a lot of good info that can be pulled from the ad library.
To get a full picture of your competitor's digital advertising, you can head over to adbeacon.com. It's a great tool where you can just put in your competitors URL and it will give you all types of information data wise on aspects like what they're doing as well as actually seeing some of the advertising that they're running so you can pull you creative and copy ideas.
There are so many more tools for different aspects of marketing CI, that we can't possibly go into all of them here... but the idea is to find the right ones and use them as an advantage for your company.
On average, companies are competing against 29 other companies, so it pays to differentiate. Let's take a look at your marketing as part of a quick, helpful chat:
Level of Focus
80% of companies actually have at least one person working part-time putting together some insights on the competitive intelligence side of things. It's obviously a focus for businesses, especially for enterprise size businesses. For SMBs I think it's also an important piece that most do not think about enough, but it should definitely be added into your mix of business and marketing processes.
Support Other Aspects
Competitive Intelligence can also support business knowledge and strategies like your SWOT analysis.
Obviously your competitors make up the other players in your industry, but instead of seeing them as a hindrance... shift your mindset to let them define or help you support insights on the opportunities and threats for your business and industry.
You're not on an island... and what your competitors are winning at and losing at can help define strategic moves for you in the future, so you're the one left standing.
Unfortunately a lot of businesses don't update their competitive information so a lot of businesses put it together one time and say ok there it is...done. But you have to put together a cadence of how often you're going to update your competitor information.
This can really assist in achieving the beneficial results of Competitive Intelligence. Dependent on your industry and resources, make updates at least annually.
You'll then have a view into new competitors in your industry and what your your competitors are doing, both from a marketing and a general business perspective. Obviously they're constantly moving, planning new strategies, new products & services, and spinning up new marketing campaigns. It's always good to know that information.
You Gotta Have Goals
Link up the creation and updates of your Competitive Intelligence to your goals. Whether you're using KPIs or OKRs to put together and track your goals, it's important to bring the competitive intelligence pieces into that mix so you can also track them.
This serves to provide key results for CI and relate everything back to the benefits of improved marketing, sales teams, and strategy insights discussed earlier.
But The Big Benefit Is...
Ulitmately, the revenue boost is the main benefit of following a CI process, as 91% of companies who implement it actually see a bump in revenue thanks to competitive intelligence.
Obviously adding CI and a proper process into your business is an important piece that I hope you got a few ideas for from this post.
Marketing is constantly evolving, and there are tons of opportunities that SMBs are not taking advantage of in order to boost revenue.
It pays to discuss your strategies over a quick chat.