Knowing your competitors is the first step to getting clues on how to beat them. Competitive analysis is a systematic approach to know your competitors better. To carry perfect competitive analysis, you need to define your competitors first. Surveys and interviews of the prospective users of your website certainly can help in competitive analysis. The current post is about getting insights into how to approach competitive analysis systematically and precisely.
We are living in a stiffly competitive era where getting an edge over your competition is among the success formulae. To know how to beat your market competition, you must have a complete idea of your competitors. What they do, how they achieve success, and what are their strengths and weakness.
The systematic approach toward competitive analysis is the way to access the required information regarding your competitors. Therefore, today, we are going to know how to take the right approaches to competitors’ website analysis to beat your competition in the market.
Who Will Be Respondents In Your Website Competitive Analysis?
To carry out an unbiased competitive analysis, the selection of unbiased respondents matters more. If you think to include your staff among the list of respondents, it might be a mistake, as they never are unbiased respondents. The best way is first to identify your prospective users or customers; a user persona can help you in due course.
Your ideal respondent’s would-be customers who have dealt before your competitors. So, they can give you accurate information regarding the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors. Similarly, you can include employees who have worked with your competitors and know many things unrevealed to the market.
Third-party web development and marketing agencies which have worked with your competitors can be among the ideal respondents.
Types of Your Competitors
In the web design and digital marketing industries, two types of competitors exist – Direct competitors and Indirect competitors.
Your website’s direct competitors are those offering the same kind of features and functionality you will provide in your website. Moreover, your competitors target the same audience you will target for your website.
Your website’s indirect competitors offer the same set of features and functionality in their websites but target a different audience. In other words, they are solving the same sets of issues but for a diverse user base. Alternatively, we can say they are solving the same set of problems but offering different solutions. And this is important to know for you.
Prerequisite Tasks before Going to Competitive Analysis
There are some prerequisite tasks you need to accomplish right before jumping into the competitive analysis.
- Setup SMART goals for your website. SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.
- Analysis of the performance of your website at the present moment.
- Recognize your high-value users (HVU).
- Conduct user interviews and run a guerrilla survey to know your users and their preferences.
- Develop a user persona.
- Prepare a user journey map.
Define Who Your Competitors Are
Many rely on assumptions to define their competitors, and it misleads them. Therefore, taking a systematic approach is essential to bring precision to the competitive analysis. One more thing you need to keep in mind is that your competitors will change over time because new competitors will enter the landscape and change the entire scenario of your competition.
There are three main courses to determine your competitors precisely.
1 – Survey Your Prospective Users for Your Competitors
Running a survey of prospective users, particularly those who have accomplished user journeys on competitors’ websites, can give you subtle clues and provide details of your need to know your competitors.
In due course, here are some basic questions you must ask prospective users to know exactly who your competitors are.
- How do your prospective users conduct online research to know the products or services they are looking for?
- Which keywords your prospective users are using during online research?
- Have they approached websites similar to your website during their online search?
- Do they know any company or organization offering similar products or services your website offers?
- Do they think of using other companies for their needs instead of your company?
- Why do they think of others?
- What are your evaluation criteria they use in making a decision?
2 – Survey Your Sales, Marketing, & Account Teams for Your Competitors
We know sales, marketing, and accounting departments are direct and indirect touch points for your actual users.
They often encounter your prospective users and almost know their preferences. Moreover, they have a complete sense of how prospective users evaluate products and services offered by you and others in the market.
So running a quick or detailed survey may prove fruitful and give you perfect insights into your prospective users to know your required information.
3 – Look At User Persona’s Perspective To Know Your Competitors
Step into the role of your user persona and think of keywords your user persona use to find the products or services you offer. Find out whether your user persona will use technical terms or be comfortable with only general terms.
Similarly, determine whether your user persona will use formal or informal language. You need to take the same approaches and run research on Google and other search engines. Of course, the Google Suggest tool can help you a lot to find out the terms your user persona will use in their research.
When you think of using Google search, the SERPs are obviously listing your ultimate competitors. Write down the companies they listed on the first three pages, and you will find enough sample size for your competitive analysis
Prepare and Use Competitor Analysis Worksheet
The competitor analysis worksheet is a heat map to rank your website against your competitors. Once you enter the values in the worksheet, it changes colors according to the strength and weaknesses of the competitors’ websites.
The greener the cell, the more likely it is, indicating the competitors’ strengths. The redder the cell, the more likely it is to show the weakness of the competitors. Thus, the worksheet can present the visual presentation of the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors and give you clues while preparing strategies to beat them.
Moreover, you can get an average score for each website on the top of the sheet. Therefore, it is advisable you focus on the biggest competitors and formulate strategies to gain an edge over them.
1 – Evaluate Your Competitors’ Strategies
To be precise and limit the sample size, you must narrow down your competitors. It would be best if you kept competitors who also are on the list of your sales and account team as well as in the eyes of your user persona.
Below are some crucial questions that can help you narrow down the list of your competitors.
- Does your competitor’s website focus on the same primary business objectives you have?
- Similarly, do you both have the same user persona or target audience?
- What about the effectiveness of your website and competitor’s website in guiding users in their user journeys?
- What about the effectiveness of both websites in achieving the primary objectives?
These questionnaires certainly help you to be precise in evaluating your competitors’ strategies. For instance, if you are getting an average low score, it means you are betting on the wrong competitors and need to look for the right ones.
It would be best if you did not leave any gap in evaluating your competitors’ strategies. For example, you must ask the following questions to get answers.
- Do you miss something in your persona that your competitors already targeting?
- Do you miss an important business objective that your competitors have covered?
- Do you miss a genius strategy that your competitors have applied?
Suppose you are getting answers in “Yes,” you are leaving some gaps in your strategies. If you get responses in “No,” you are lucky and have a chance to beat your competitors.
2 – Obtained User Feedback On Your Competitors’ Websites
It is lengthy because you need to obtain feedback for your and your competitors’ websites through a long questionnaire. It would be best if you offered some compensation to the participants. You might get answers from your B2C prospects somewhat easily, but getting feedback from B2B prospects may be difficult.
By the way, there are four main areas where you can ask for feedback.
1. User experience
There is a ready-to-use questionnaire available on the web.
If you think about surveys by third-party services, you can think of Survey Monkey or AYTM (Ask Your Target Market) like services, as they carry online surveys beautifully and precisely.
Who Will Carry Your Website’s Competitor Analysis On Behalf of You?
It is certainly an experienced team of web designers, web developers, and marketing professionals together can carry your website’s competitor analysis on behalf of you. How will you find such a team? Of course, we would like to suggest you the team of RP UXCollab in the USA can help you in due course and give you excellent results that will lead your website to shine!
Call the marketing team and web designers to discuss your requirements for the next web designing project and ask for some case studies to show how competitor analysis has made a difference.