Run a Competitor Analysis
To run a competitor analysis is a lot more than just looking at your competitor’s social media and seeing what they’re doing.
When you run a competitor analysis, you’re acquiring new information that, in the end, could help your business grow and prosper. Competitor analysis is built to help your business understand what other popular businesses in your sector are doing; giving you more of valuable insight into what could work for you, and more specifically, what does work for audiences similar to yours.
Identifying true competition
First and foremost you will need to understand who your true competitors are. You can divide your competitors into two categories.
Direct: businesses that offer a product or service that could pass as a substitute for yours, operating in the same location, etc.
Indirect: one that provides products that are not the same but could still satisfy the same customer need or solve the same problem.
Competitor analysis allows your business to adapt and adopt new strategies
What are you comparing?
Of course, all competitor analysis’ is going to be different and compare different things. However, the three main categories that should be compared are business (products/services), sales and marketing.
To begin with, you will need to analyse your competitor’s products/services, the quality of them, pricing, any discounts, and so on. Some questions to consider include…
Do they focus on volume sales or one-off sales?
What pricing structure are they using?
A sales analysis may be one of the more tricky parts. You will want to try and find answers to questions like…
What does the sales process look like?
What channels do they sell through?
Are they expanding?
Some of the answers to these questions may be difficult to find out, and it may be a matter of searching online for annual reports or simply trawling through their website to try and find out as much as you can.
Look at your competitor's website and answer some of the following questions…
Do they have a blog?
Do they create eBooks?
What visuals do they use?
Then it’s about determining how many of each of these things they have if they have them. Work out the frequency and amount. Then determine the quality of all of the content they have on their website. When reviewing the content, ask yourself…
How accurate is the content?
Are there any spelling or grammar errors?
How in-depth is its content?
What tone and voice do they use?
Once you’ve completed all this, look at where and how they share the content they’re making. Whether they’re present on social media, if they send out any newsletters, if they’ve optimised their website for search engines, and so on.
A competitor analysis shows you where you stand in comparison to your competition
SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats):
For each competitor, it’s important to complete a SWOT analysis; more specifically, for all categories discussed above, if possible. A SWOT analysis means taking note of your competitor’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Some questions to answer when completing a SWOT analysis can include…
What is your competitor doing really well?
Where does your competitor have an advantage over others?
What is the weakest area for your competitor?
Performing a competitor analysis
Start collecting data
You’re now ready to begin the actual process! It’s recommended to set up a spreadsheet with three different tabs with the three categories discussed above; business, sales and marketing. It’s then a matter of putting all the questions you’re wanting to answer down the first column, and then listing all the competitor's names on the first row.
Once you’ve gathered all the data and the information you can/need, you can then move on to highlight rows or boxes of data that stand out. For example, things that show your competitors are doing really well.
Simply put, a competitor analysis enables you to understand your competitors on a much more advanced level and will put you in a suitable position to be comparing your business to your competitors.
You need to monitor exactly what they’re doing. Whether it be on their social media, on their blogs, in terms of their sales process, and so on. Everything they’re doing is an indication of something you should be doing or something that you could be doing better. Of course, doing a competitor analysis does not mean you can mirror everything a certain competitor is doing; it’s about looking at what they’re doing and how they’re performing and seeing if any of their ideas or concepts can help you progress as a business.
You can learn more about how to run a competitor analysis here on our Marketing Hub.