Competitor analysis helps you identify and maximize marketing opportunities for your brand. Learn how to apply it, to get more bookings
Tomasz is the Head Of Marketing at Surfer, a platform that merges content strategy, creation, and optimization into one smooth process.
When was the last time you analyzed your competition? Would you even know where to start? In this guide, we show you how to conduct a thorough competitor analysis with a view to driving more bookings.
Competitor analysis allows you to analyze your competition alongside your own company so you can make the necessary changes to thrive. Observing your competitors can also help you present your business more uniquely.
Competitor analysis is an evaluation of your business and its products or services in comparison to direct competitors in your market niche. When performing a competitor analysis, you should compare the following aspects of your competition’s business model with yours:
Though it may seem better to only analyze companies with the same market share (or similar) to yours, don’t ignore startups completely. It may be worth analyzing their approach to identify new approaches or innovations they may be coming up with.
Depending on the type of insight you want, you can analyze your whole business compared to your competitors or focus on a specific aspect(s) of your business. For instance, if you’re looking to improve your entire business process, you can compare your business model with your competitors.
If you want to drive more bookings for your services, you’ll only need to compare your competitors marketing efforts with yours. You want to check what channels they use and the type of content they distribute. Do they take part in any events? What about brand collaborations? Do they use any unique tools that could be winning them more bookings?
You may also want to investigate their customer experience. This could involve analyzing customer reviews and testimonials on Google Reviews and even on social networks.
Quality competitor analysis can help you improve your business, especially if you operate in a highly-saturated market.
The first reason to perform a competitor analysis is to understand your company’s strengths and weaknesses. If you know where you are strong, you can focus your business strategy on this aspect and take full advantage. With your weaknesses, you can make improvements, so you don’t fall behind your competition.
Competitor analysis also helps you identify and take advantage of trends in your target market. Additionally, performing a competitor analysis helps you understand the market you operate in. You may be familiar with some of your competitors, but analysis can help you discover new arrivals you didn’t know about. Further, you can identify companies that are gaining traction and will become a future threat.
Planning future growth is another advantage of performing competitor analysis. The analysis will give you the data and information you need to grow. For example, the market demographics you need to target or skill gaps your company has.
Now that you know the ‘what’ and ‘why’ of competitor analysis, it’s time to find out the ‘how.’ It's important to objectively assess your strengths and weaknesses when conducting a competitor analysis. Don’t make assumptions about your competition or rule anything out beforehand.
That said, here are four key steps to conducting an effective competitor analysis.
You will likely be aware of some of your main competitors, but there are several techniques to finding them.
One quick and easy technique is to use SEO software that allows you to identify and observe competitors' through their performance on search engines. This is because statistics indicate that 93% of online experiences begin with search engines, and for a business looking to get more bookings, you shouldn’t ignore such insights.
For instance, the Growth Quadrant tool on Semrush’s Market Explorer allows you to see market leaders, game changers, niche players, and established players within your market.
You also need to find out your organic competitors. Organic competitors are the companies that use the same keywords as you do. Some SEO tools will have a competitors tab that allows you to enter a keyword and see the other companies using it. To determine major competitors, look at traffic and the number of keywords they rank for.
For example, if you input ‘what is a digital business card’ into Semrush, you will get this list of organic competitors:
Finding your paid keyword competitors is vital as well. Paid keyword competitors are companies competing for paid advertisement space with specific keywords. Most good SEO tools will have a paid competitors tab that allows you to see which companies you are competing with for these keywords.
By using these techniques, you will be able to find your direct competitors with ease. Identifying your competitors lays the groundwork for other aspects of competitor analysis. Also, the information allows you to assess your competitors’ ads and keywords so that you can target untapped keyword opportunities for your business.
Once you identify your key competitors, you can organize them into a competitor grid. A competitor grid is a spreadsheet or table where you can compile your competitor’s information and data. Organizing your research information will help you compare your findings and easily identify trends.
The competitor grid should have columns that list your competitors alongside the data points you need to learn about your competition. Some of these data points include:
You can start with the basics and add more columns as your research progresses. Here’s an example of a starting point for a competitor grid.
Creating a competitor grid will allow you to analyze your competitors’ information more effectively. This way, you can better position your business in the market to attract prospects and get bookings.
Assessing your competitors’ 4Ps allows you to understand their marketing strategies and unique offerings. In turn, this provides insight for developing plans that will help you attract more bookings. So, the 4Ps include price, product, promotion, and place.
Let’s start with ‘product’: The questions that need answering regarding competitors’ products are:
Knowing what customers like about competing products or services can also give you ideas about how to present yours to the target market.
The second ‘P’ is ‘price.’ What are their price points? You also need to determine what pricing model they use. Is it a one-time payment or a subscription service? Consider their sales and discounts as well.
Your competitor’s promotion efforts need to be considered too. Which channels do they advertise on? For example, social media, print, and email marketing. What are their marketing tactics? Do competitors’ websites have better landing pages, for example? What is their content marketing strategy? Evaluate their unique selling point as well.
‘Placement’ is the final ‘P.’ Place refers to where the product is sold. Is it online or in a physical store? You also need to determine if they sell directly to customers or through a third party, like a retailer. In this context, you want to look out for the platforms competitors use to schedule their bookings. Are they using third-party platforms or directing customers to their website?
Once you have answered these questions, you need to condense the information. Short bullet point lists are the best option for this and will make references to the information much easier later on.
A successful SWOT analysis will help drive more bookings by helping you understand your business. The SWOT analysis checks essential aspects of your business using a grid template. The four quadrants are strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Here’s an example:
Strengths are what your business excels at, your unique resources, and your competitive advantages. Weaknesses are areas you need to improve, resources you lack, and areas where your competition is beating you.
Opportunities include new resources, new markets, and industry trends that you can maximize. Threats are factors or events that can negatively impact your business, either internally or externally. But threats differ from weaknesses as they are usually outside of your control. Examples of threats include economic changes, technological changes, or rising costs.
Assessing your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats just takes a bit of brainstorming. Creating a physical SWOT analysis grid and adding sticky notes can help, or you can do it digitally. It’s best to get several people on board for multiple perspectives. Also, the people shouldn’t all be from the same department or area, as key elements can be missed.
SWOT analysis makes assessing the condition of your business far easier. This should be done periodically, as your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats may change. Also, back up your previous SWOT analysis findings so you can compare them to your new findings.
Keeping an eye on the competition is a vital business strategy that’ll help you improve your marketing and general business efforts. You risk falling behind if you don’t know who your competitors are and what they are doing right.
We’ve shown you how to run an effective competitor analysis and gain insight that’ll help you get more bookings for your business.
The first step is to identify your top competitors. Then, you need to create a competitor grid to organize your information. Identifying your competitors’ 4 Ps is also important. Finally, you need to perform a SWOT analysis that’ll help you understand your company better.
With these tips, you’ll be able to effectively assess your own company and your competition and make the most effective changes possible.
Tomasz is the Head Of Marketing at Surfer, a platform that merges content strategy, creation, and optimization into one smooth process. With almost a decade of experience in the industry, he is responsible for incorporating and executing marketing strategies. Currently, he manages a team of 5 wonderful experts.