Monitoring your competitors is essential to understand their behaviours and actions, which will help you adapt quickly to market changes, learn customer demands, solve industry issues, and make better business decisions.
As a result, you can strengthen your brand’s market position and deliver products and services to address your audience’s pain points. This, in turn, will help you beat competitions, register more business success, and achieve top name and fame in your industry.
This article will help you understand all about competitor monitoring, its importance, and how to do it effectively.
So, let’s get started!
What’s Competitor Monitoring?
Competitor monitoring is a strategy by which an organization attempts to identify its potential competitors, learn their actions (like marketing campaigns, content, website changes, etc.), anticipate their future moves, and determine their strong and weak points. It helps the organization understand their industry and target audience more, do’s and don’ts, and determine which strategies can work for them to achieve more success.
Monitoring competition is necessary for every business to remain ahead in the race and beat the competition by creating unique, profitable strategies. Here’s why monitoring your competitors is helpful.
Why Should You Monitor Your Competitors?
Any business strategy seems incomplete without monitoring your competitors. You ought to understand their moves to learn what to do and what not to. It will help you know what strategies are working for your competitors, and if your audience is the same, you can also implement those strategies and possibly improve your current ones.
Let’s get into the details as to how competitor monitoring can benefit your business.
It’s easier to spot others’ mistakes than your own and probably cheaper too. Using the data gathered from your competitor monitoring and analysis, you can draw conclusions like issues associated with your rivals’ marketing strategies. Then you can compare it with yours to figure out if you are making the same mistakes. And if you do, you can correct them easily. This will be a learning opportunity for you as to what not to include in your marketing strategy.
Stay Updated with Current Industry Trends
Studying your competitors gives you an idea about what’s trending in your industry. Thus, you can use this information to shape your campaigns, products, and services. Keeping up with trends is vital to offer what your target audience is looking for instead of continuing the same old pattern that has become obsolete and possibly driving your customers away.
Determine Strengths and Weaknesses
Analyzing your competitors will give you a fair idea about their strengths and weaknesses. You can compare rival brands to understand where you excel and where you can learn from them to optimize your strategies, be it marketing campaigns, products, and services, or your pricing. You can also fix what you are lacking while strengthening your plans.
Discover New Brands and Audience Base
A large number of start-ups and new businesses have been set up in recent years. So, if you don’t know who you are fighting with, how can you win the battle?
With competitor monitoring, you can learn new competitors and their strategies that have helped them make a good impact on the audience. You can use this data to reshape or optimize your strategy and ensure you stay ahead of the race.
Furthermore, monitoring competitors helps you learn the new audience base your competitors are targeting. It can be a potential opportunity to make more sales and revenue.
Now, the biggest question, how to do it?
How to Monitor Your Competition?
Before you begin monitoring your competitors, it’s essential to identify them. You must know about your biggest competitors, industry leaders, and newcomers. Keep a check on where their target markets are and whether that matches yours. In addition, find where your competitors have expanded their marketing territory and their performance. It will help you discover an untapped potential market for your products and services.
So, when you already have a list of competitors, don’t stop there; continue monitoring new entries. And then, here are some of the strategies you can implement to monitor your competitors.
Monitor Their Online Activities
Monitoring your competitors’ online activities is advantageous. You must know:
- What they are doing online
- Where they are mentioned
- Whom they are working with
- What their PR and ad campaigns are
- What products and services they are marketing for, and so on.
This is sometimes called media monitoring, where you can track keyword mentions associated with a brand on the web. It will help you gather valuable insights such as blogs, websites, or media where the brand is mentioned, author’s name, publishing time, location, reach, audience sentiment, engagement, impact, and other details.
You can conduct media monitoring with the help of an automation tool to find relevant keywords and media mentions, get notifications on new searches for a given keyword, track social media, etc.
Doing a simple search on Google can give you so much information about what your competitors are doing. For example, search for your main competitor’s brand name on Google and go to tools, then filter by “past 24 hours” or “last week” to get the latest results where they are mentioned.
So, when you have gathered all these insights, compare them to yours to understand your performance. It will give you an idea of where you are lacking, where you can improve, and what you do better than them and optimize your strategies.
Keep an Eye on Their Content Efforts
Analyzing your competitors’ content can help you understand their content strategy. It will also help you learn if your content is better than them, or you need to up your content game by comparing their content to yours.
It can be done in various ways:
- Check their top-performing content: Evaluate your competitors’ best-performing content like blogs, articles, etc., through social shares and engagement metrics. You can learn what keywords they are ranking for, topics their audience engages with, article length and quality, and more.
- Discover top keywords: choosing the right keywords can help you change your SEO and content strategy dramatically. You can use tools to monitor your competitors’ keywords, search volume data, competition for different keywords, etc.
- Attend their webinars: Webinars are an excellent form of content marketing to engage your audience, position your brand, and establish your knowledge on a specific topic your audience wants to know about. So, attend your competitors’ webinars to learn how they are doing it, whether you are a new or a seasoned brand. It will help gauge your audience’s interests, reactions, and engagement rates.
- Sign up for their newsletters or email updates: Emails are still effective, and newsletters are performing well in todays’ content strategy (of course, if done right). Hence, it will be fruitful to learn how your competitors are doing with their email marketing, such as what information they are presenting, how, its frequency, etc. In addition, you’ll learn about their culture, campaigns, news, and events and keep yourself updated and improve your strategies continuously.
Monitor Your Competitors’ Social Media Presence
Monitoring your competitors’ social media accounts is another excellent strategy. Social media is booming, and modern customers want to keep up with your social accounts for news and notifications.
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So, it’s important to supply them with fresh, unique, and problem-solving posts to keep them engaged with your brand. For this, you can monitor your competitor’s social media presence by following them to learn things like:
- What platform do they use
- Types and frequency of posts they share
- Topics they cover
- How their posts are doing
- Who engages with their posts
- Tracking content on their profiles, such as Instagram and Twitter bios
Gather this information to up your social media strategy. You may also want to refresh your social media profile with the latest information growth and keep uploading new, value-driven posts across different platforms to engage your users, grow more followers, and increase your chances of conversions.
Monitor Their Marketing Strategy
Continuously monitor your competitors” overall marketing strategy and then analyze and compare them with yours. For this, you must keep an eye on their ad campaigns, content, email marketing, conferences, PR presence, webinars, affiliates, and more. In addition, learn what influencers they work with and how effectively the plan is working out for them.
- Tracking their PR presence like articles on the web and newspapers will help you understand their media interests and improve your PR strategy.
- Similarly, tracking who covers your competitors like bloggers, journalists, influencers, and other content creators on their blogs, websites, or YouTube channels will help you discover your possibilities. You can use the insights to build a long list of all those who can tell your story and feature your products and services to give you wider recognition among your targeted audience.
- Watch out for new products or services your competitors launch and how much impact they are making on their customers. Chase the public reactions to understand whether their new move was successful or not. You can use this insight to learn how to pull a similar stunt even better.
Read Competitors’ Customer Reviews
Tracking your competitors’ customer reviews will give you an idea of their strongest and weakest points. You must look at your competitors as if you are their target customer, not like that one competitor who always wants to pick the negatives of a brand.
So, wear your customer hat and analyze your competitors’ products, services, and marketing strategies. You can do it both online and offline, but online is the easiest and faster way to do it. You can check their online reviews on sites such as Google Customer Reviews, Yelp, Tripadvisor, etc., relevant to your offerings.
This will give you information on how the customers feel about a brand’s products and services, what difficulties they face while using them, and the satisfaction levels with the customer support.
In addition, it will give you details about their pricing, marketing performance, and other minor details that may help you shape or reshape your products, services, and marketing strategies. It will also prevent you from repeating the same mistakes your competitors made, enhance your performance, and improve your strong points to delight your customers even more.
Check Their Website Regularly
Your website is the first place your customers will land and check out your offerings and how your products/services can benefit them. If you represent it well, they may consider your offerings or become your regular reader.
So, regularly getting a sneak peek at your competitors’ websites will help you understand the recent changes, news, events, and product launches. It will help you understand how they are presenting information and how user-friendly their site is.
You can use the insights to improve customer experiences, such as putting out better web copy, product descriptions, high-quality blogs and articles, images, contact information, navigation, and other parts of your website that the visitors may turn up to find information.
Think about how you can make it is easy for the customers to find information, make payments, get contact details, etc., and improve it.
Check Competitors’ Pricing Pages
Pricing your products and services is crucial, especially if you are new in the industry. And even if you have an established business, you must track your competitor’s pricing to ensure you are not overcharging or undercharging for your offerings.
Because if you overcharge, you may scare your customers away, or if you undercharge, your customers may doubt the quality of your offerings. Hence, the best way is to find a middle ground is while analyzing how your competitors are doing it. It will help you make an effective pricing strategy that can attract more customers to your brand, of course, if your quality is decent.
For this, regularly check your competitors’ pricing pages to learn what price they have set up for which service or product, what features they offer under what price range, whether or not they have included any free trials and other related stuff. And it’s important to keep doing it regularly to stay updated with current pricing changes in your industry.
Sneak Up on Their Job Boards
Finding out the positions your competitors are hiring for will give you an idea of their next strategic move.
For instance, if they are hiring a PPC specialist, they will soon be investing in paid advertising. It’s a clear indication of their marketing strategy, which you can also consider and do better to garner more leads and conversions.
Therefore, continuously track all positions they are hiring for. If you want a similar marketing strategy, you can also start your hunt as soon as possible and uplift your marketing game or develop new offerings.
Automate Tracking Process
Last but not least, monitoring your competitors has become easy if you use an automation tool such as Visualping. Such tools can be game changes for your marketing strategy as they can:
- Automate your search process to save your efforts and time on manual tasks
- Process a massive amount of information in a given time
- Perform without errors to prevent delays in your marketing campaigns and ease competitions
- Gather information faster from every corner of the web
Let’s take the example of Visualping to understand how automation tools can help you monitor your competitors.
Visualping is a great tool to monitor changes in your competitors’ sites and marketing strategy to save you and your team from the hassles of going through hundreds of rivals’ web pages and analyzing each page to take notes for changes.
You just need to enter a target website and hit “GO,” It will show all the information on recent changes. In addition, you can get notifications about the changes by giving out your email address and choosing a frequency like every 5 min, hour, day, or week. It also comes with advanced functionality to compare the sites by visual, text, element, or area.
And the best thing is, you can try Visualping for FREE and see how you can monitor your competitors and get the benefits out of it.
- Simple and powerful analytics to track changes
- Alerts via text, email, API, Slack, etc.
- Suitable for a variety of use cases such as price monitoring, career page tracking, new product launches on eBay, social media tracking, monitoring ads, traffic changes, research reports, news sites, etc.
- Has completed 5+ billion checks and notified 800 million changes to date
- Visualping is suitable for businesses of all types and individuals like content marketers, SEO professionals, and more.
You can choose monthly or pay-as-you-go subscriptions to use the resources according to your needs. Their pricing is as follows:
- Starter: FREE, 2 pages/day, 65 checks/month
- Intensive: $13/month, 40 pages/day, 1300 checks/month, high-frequency searches, email support
- Intensive 4k: $24/month, 130 pages/day, 4000 checks/month, high-frequency searches, email support
- Intensive 10k: $58/month, 333 pages/day, 10,000 checks/month, high-frequency searches, email support
- Intensive 20k: $97/month, 668 pages/day, 20,000 checks/month, high-frequency searches, email support
- Custom plans: contact their sales
For corporates, they have three plans starting from $20/month for 130 checks/day and 4000 checks/month with extra features such as:
- Dedicated account manager
- Training and demos
- Phone support
- 99% uptime guarantee
- Secure servers
- 2 months of FREE service for annual plans
Monitoring your competitors can help your brand in many ways by improving your marketing and pricing strategy, shaping your products and services, and attracting more customers. As a result, you can witness more marketing success and improved sales and revenue. And to save time and effort, you can use tools like Visualping to get competitive intelligence.
Infographic created by Clover, a POS system company