How to do a competitor analysis

What is a Competitor Analysis?

Competitive analysis is research intended to collect data on rival businesses. You’re looking closely at what they’re doing, how they’re doing it, how it’s working for them, and how big of a threat it is to your business.

Think of it like this: When a football team is preparing for a game with one of their biggest rivals, it’s not uncommon for the coaches to study tapes of the other team playing games. They’re checking their plays and tactics, planning on the best way to beat the competition. Competitor analysis is pretty similar to that practice. You’re looking at the state of your competition to prepare your team best.

What to look for in a competitor analysis

Most competitor analyses examine these key elements:

Who is their target audience?

Typically, you and your competition have a similar audience. That’s what makes them your match. But it’s still possible that they’re reaching markets that you’re not, and if so, why aren’t you getting those leads too?

What makes them unique?

Every business has some sort of spin or story. What’s theirs? How have they earned their place in the market?

What do they market as their significant benefit?

By identifying your competitors, you can better understand both your market and your competition. For example, how well does their highlighted feature work for them? If that’s their pride and joy, what tactics should you pursue to outshine them?

What’s their pricing?

Have their prices changed? If so, why? Do they offer any specials or discounts?

Take the time to look into the how and why here. Just because they’ve dropped their cost, that doesn’t mean you should rush to do the same.

How is their website performing?

You’ll want to examine their ranking in SERPs, SEO, search tools, design, and layout.

Your market can be so varied and diverse that you may be inspired to make a few updates or changes to your site.

By learning how their website performs and why they’re at that level, you can key into good and bad practices. All of that data will help you optimize your company website and start driving more traffic, hopefully, and better leads.

What’s their customer experience like?

Analyzing their customer experience can benefit you in the same way that assessing their website performance can. Adapt and improve your interface based on what they do well, and steer clear of any severe customer friction points that they may have.

How do they approach marketing?

Analyzing your rival’s marketing techniques will help you stay current on new industry trends and may even inspire some ideas for your business.

You’ll want to examine their marketing from top to bottom:

  • Content marketing: What blog topics are they writing about? What content types?
  • Social media marketing: Which channels are being used? How are they engaging with customers? How frequently?
  • Email marketing: Do they have a company newsletter? Do they offer promo codes or discounts regularly?

What do customers say about them?

This is where the grapevine is the sweetest. Dive into your competitor’s customer reviews and social mentions to get a real insight into what your audiences are saying about them.

What’s the language they use? Any common complaints? What do they praise the most?

You can compare this with your customer feedback and clearly understand where you stand about your competition in the customer’s eyes.

A step-by-step guide to running a competitor analysis

So how do you perform a competitor analysis?

It’s essential that your research stays organized and structured so that the data you collect appropriately reflects their business. Here are the steps to running a practical analysis:

1. Find your top 10 competitors.

2. Analyze their website.

3. Dive into their content.

4. Analyze their SEO

5. Look into their customer feedback.

6. Identify gaps in your own business.

7. Adapt your strategies and monitor results.

The best competitor analysis tools 

  1. Ahrefs
  2. Buzzsumo
  3. Moz
  4. SEMrush
  5. Alexa

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