Before we start designing a new website or putting together a marketing campaign, we always carry out comprehensive competitor analysis. This can often come as a bit of a surprise to the client, as their previous marketing agencies have either not told the client they were doing it, or just missed it off entirely to reduce costs!

So what is competitor analysis and why do we say it is so important?

Thereโ€™s an old saying that thereโ€™s no point in reinventing the wheel and there is some relevance here with your marketing or website. Every engineering company has many competitors, so it makes sense to see how well the other companies are doing and working out if you can learn anything from their success or mistakes. For instance, if one of your competitors is attracting huge amounts of high quality traffic and sales, it makes sense to work out how they are achieving this and to implement it for your own marketing.

But you shouldn’t just copy what your competitors are doing, in fact you should go out of your way to avoid this and find your own unique angle of approach. Having an idea of their strengths and weaknesses will help you to avoid falling into unnecessary traps, but will also provide inspiration when it comes to finding your own angle of approach.

Benefits of Competitor Analysis

So, what are the benefits of competitor analysis?

  • You can gain insight into exactly who your competitors are. People can often name a number of competitors who provide the same product or service, however after carrying out a comprehensive competitor analysis, it sometimes becomes clear that there are many other companies all in the same space โ€“ competing for the same phrases and keywords, yet are not necessarily a โ€˜real worldโ€™ competitor at all, but an online competitor.
  • You can analyse and take apart their strategies, working out which channels are working right now
  • You can then benchmark your own marketing against them in each channel
  • You can re-shape your marketing strategies and tactics
  • You can learn from their experience and mistakes

Are there any downsides to doing competitor analysis?

No, there are no direct downsides to doing competitor analysis, but one thing you need to be careful of is clouding your own ideas and judgement on the direction of your company and marketing based on your competition. Itโ€™s all too easy just to follow the herd and assume what others are doing is correct for you. It may be the right way for them, but it may not be the best way for your company to move forwards, so donโ€™t let the data cloud your own ideas and strategy.

Where To Begin With Competitor Analysis

Where should you begin with competitor analysis?

  1. Identify your competitors. Start off by entering keywords in Google that you expect your company to be found for. Make a list of all the competitor’s websites that are ranking in the first 20 spots.
  2. Input your competitor websites into marketing tools such as Similar Web or SEMRush. This will give you a breakdown of the traffic, where that traffic is coming from, the geo-location of the traffic and much more. Understanding where the traffic is coming from is essential to competitor analysis.
  3. Research how strong your competitor’s brands are. You can get an idea of this by seeing how much branded traffic they receive.
  4. How much of their traffic is organic?
  5. How many keywords are they ranking for?
  6. How much traffic is coming from paid sources such as Google Ads and how much is coming from social media?
  7. Check out their social media profiles and benchmark their stats. Add in the data and every month, visit their social media profiles and see if their audience is increasing or if they have gone stagnant.

Carrying out these 7 steps will give you a good foundation for competitor analysis. You can go more in depth than this but we recommend covering at least these 7 tasks to begin with.

Don’t get complacent after doing it once though… competitor analysis should be an ongoing process, carried out at least once a month. Itโ€™s often surprising when you find out who your real online competitors are, they often don’t match the competitors you list off the top of your head, yet these companies youโ€™ve never even heard of are targeting your clients.

Competitor analysis can be quite addictive as you start uncovering facts and figures you had never considered before. You may even end up enjoying the process!

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