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4 smart tips on how to monitor your competitors

Whether you're in marketing, sales, management or any other division, you are constantly gathering information from clients, internal processes, the market, competitors,… Smart companies can shift these information flows into systematical processes, to create an information framework that influences decisions, better known as business intelligence. A main part of this intelligence is knowing what your competitors are doing. So how can you, as an email marketer or online marketer, keep track of your competitors?

To begin with, it's needless to say how valuable this information is. If you know which emails your competitors are sending, which content they use, at which frequency they mail out, which wording they use in emails and online, etc… you have a solid set of elements that can help to refine your own strategy.

Let's say you are small telecom operator, who tries the challenge the big players in the market. With some simple analysis you can find out when the big companies send out their emails and which content they send. For instance, they usually send on Thursday and they focus on promotions for new devices. If you are a challenger, you can schedule your campaign on Friday, and challenge their content. For instance: a better promo, a more specific service, or more in-depth content. In essence, if you know exactly what your competitors are doing, you have the upper hand because you can anticipate what they're doing.

But how can you keep track of competitors? Here are a few tips to get you going.

1. Email

  • Visit their website and sign up for all their newsletters.
  • Keep track of who has an easy sign-up or those who have a though sign-up procedure. Check whether they have a sign-up incentive, if they confirm emails,… Next monitor and take note of when you receive emails. After a couple of months you have a nice grid that shows you all the communication moments.
  • Next, go for an internal analysis and monitor the content they send, which promotions, tone-of-voice. If you systematically do this, you are building up solid know how.

2. Online

  • Go to their website, click the right button and click ‘view source'. Next perform a search CTRL+F and type keyword. The coding will reveal which keywords they use as metadata.
  • With a free tool like https://ahrefs.com you can enter a website and find out which are its top pages.
  • A tool like wayback machine http://archive.org/web/ shows you which updates a site has undergone over a certain period of time. Which makes it easy to spot changes.
  • Set up Google Alerts. This is where you can enter names or data about which you want to receive an email update, if something should change on the web.

3. Social

  • Follow their social channels and index the timing and frequency of their messages. There are lots of tools that can help you. One of the easiest ones is https://monitor.wildfireapp.com
  • Monitor which posts create the most engagement and write down your findings on the content.

4. Offline

  • If your competitors have a brick-and-mortar store, visit it and see how they communicate with their customers offline.
  • Find out if they use off to online conversion methods, like sign-up desks.
  • Track their advertisements and determine the type of content they use.
  • If you use these tips, you will quickly gain valuable insights. However, as with all business intelligence setups, there is no direct return. But if you start using these techniques now and update them daily (it only takes about 20 minutes), we promise you: you'll have tremendous insights within 90 days.

 

Conclusion

Use smart methods to track what your competitors are doing and update your findings on a daily basis. You will soon be able to anticipate every move they make.

Posted on
Aug 22, 2014