by The Mauldin Group The Mauldin Group

What Internet Marketing Services Does Your Business Need?

As businesses look ahead past 2020, one thing is clear: the future is more digital than ever. We have developed into a device-driven society where everything, from work to entertainment and shopping, begins on the internet. This means your business will need a powerful digital marketing plan to stand out from your competitors. But how do you know how you’re stacking up? Internet marketing services, like a competitive analysis, can tell you.

What Is A Competitive Marketing Analysis?

A competitive marketing analysis is an approach where you identify your major competitors and research their sales and marketing strategies. With this information, you can create solid business strategies that outperform your competition. A competitive analysis helps you learn what your competitors are doing right and  can show you opportunities where you can easily one-up them by implementing a strategy they haven’t taken advantage of yet.

Tip: If the last “analysis” you did was a quick browse over a competitor’s website or social media pages, you’re probably missing out on key information that could help your brand grow.

Why Do I Need One?

Every business can benefit from regular competitor marketing analysis. By doing so, you’ll be able to identify gaps in the market, develop new products and services, discover market trends, more effectively market to your target audience. Any of these four elements can be huge boost to both your brand and bottom line.

How Do I Conduct A Competitive Marketing Analysis?

1. Identify Your Competitors

First, you’ll need to determine who you’re really competing with so you can compare your data accurately. Start by dividing your competition into two categories: direct and indirect. Direct competitors are businesses that offer a product or service that could be mistaken as a substitute for yours, and that operate in your same geographic region. An indirect competitor, on the other hand, is one that provides products or services that are not the same but could satisfy the same customer need.

internet marketing services-charts

When comparing your business, you should only focus on your direct competitors. You’ll want to routinely compare numbers with your direct competitors because the market can and will shift at any given time. If you’re not constantly seeking it out, you won’t be aware of these changes until it’s too late.

2. Determine What Your Competitors Offer

At the heart of any business is its product or service. You’ll want to analyze your competitor’s complete product or service line and the quality of those products or services. Also take note of their pricing and any discounts they’re offering. Here are some other helpful questions to consider:

  • Are they operating mainly bulk sales or individual purchases?
  • Do they have different pricing for online purchases versus in-store?
  • How do they differentiate themselves from their competitors?
  • How do they distribute their products/services?

3. Research Your Competitors’ Sales Tactics

It can be difficult to run a sales analysis of your competitors. For publicly held companies, you can find annual reports online, but privately owned businesses will require a bit more research.

You’ll want to track down information such as:

  • What does their sales process look like?
  • What channels are they selling through?
  • Do they have multiple locations?
  • What are the customers’ reasons for not buying?
  • What is their revenue each year? Total sales volume?
  • Do they regularly offer discounts?

These questions will give you an idea of how competitive the sales process is, and what information your sales reps will need to  need to compete during the final buy stage.

4. Analyze Your Competitors’ Internet Marketing Strategies

Inspecting your competitor’s website is the fastest way to assess their marketing efforts. Take note of any of the following items and copy down the specific URL for future reference:

  • internet marketing services-laptopDoes the website have a blog?
  • Do they post videos or webinars?
  • Does the company host a podcast?
  • Are they using infographics?
  • What about slide decks?
  • Do they have a FAQs page?
  • Are there featured articles?
  • What digital and print advertising campaigns are they running?

Usually, these elements will tell you if your competitor is paying for internet marketing services or if they’re attempting to manage things on their own. While they may be wise enough to realize the need for digital marketing, many businesses still struggle on their own when it comes to the research and creativity needed to construct a digital marketing strategy that fits their unique needs.

5. Discern Your Competitors’ Content Strategy

Once you’ve investigated the competition’s website, take a look at the quantity and frequency of their content. Do they have hundreds of blog posts or a just a few? Are they publishing something new each week or once a month? You should also pay attention to the quality of the information, writing, and visuals of their content. Are spelling or grammar errors present? Is their content free to anyone or do their readers need to opt-in? Who is writing their content? Do you scroll by stock photos or custom images?

6. Determine The Engagement Your Competitors’ Receive

To determine how engaging your competitor’s content is, you’ll need to see how their audience responds to what they post. Check the number of comments, shares, and likes on their content and find out if certain topics resonate better than others. It’s also important to check if your competitor categorizes their content using tags, or if they have social media buttons attached to each piece. Both of these can affect engagement activity.

7. Notice How They Promote Their Content

Next you’ll want to assess your competitor’s content promotion strategy. How do they get their blogs, articles, or videos out there for potential customers to see? Good content promotion focuses heavily on search engine optimization (SEO). So you’ll want to keep an eye out for specific keywords, internal and outbound linking, image ALT text, keyword density, and much more. If this sounds overwhelming to you, no worries. There are internet marketing services that specialize in SEO to handle the nitty gritty details for you.

Don’t Have Time To Do Your Own Competitive Marketing Analysis?

The Mauldin Group is an award-winning digital marketing agency. We retain a creative in-house team with a combined 30+ years of experience in the digital marketing and media design industries. Competitive marketing analysis is only one of our top-ranked internet marketing services. Find out what we can do for you by contacting us or calling at 866-438-7756.