How To Spy On The Competition To Improve Your Growth Marketing Efforts
The backbone to a successful growth marketing strategy lies in one’s ability to understand the competition.
When marketers discover how buyers engage with industry related content, and how it plays into their purchase-making decisions, every channel of a marketing stack can be optimized to achieve growth goals.
Social media, technology, and content audits are very telling in terms of what people love and dislike, about a brand and their products. These also give clear insight into how consumers view the various components of an industry.
These three pockets also offer clarity into what the common problems are that buyers deal with, and what the most popular pain points are while showing how certain products and services offer the best solution.
Today’s savvy growth marketing agencies that offer SEO, paid media, inbound, and other strategies create detailed guidelines for social listening and data farming tactics with the goal to optimize growth stack conversion rates.
Here are some insights shared from the WEBITMD team to help businesses and marketers alike discover competitor data that matters when it comes to improving growth marketing results.
Increase Top of Funnel Traffic by Analyzing Social Media Data
Any complete, masterfully executed growth stack will either offer inbound marketing, SEO, or both. If it makes sense for the sales cycle, and in fact the client’s growth stack contains inbound with marketing automation, driving traffic to the sales funnel will be crucial.
In this case, SEO and paid media will be the lead strategies for attracting searchers and funnelling them into a workflow.
In order to drive traffic, audience targeting is vital for SEO and paid media. To use social media as a way to hack your competition, you must first identify which platforms their customers engage.
For example, visual lifestyle brands like a surfboard company would be on Instagram and Facebook, while a law firm would typically have engagement on LinkedIn and Facebook.
Once you’ve nailed down which platforms your competition is on, you will want to create a checklist of things to look for that will give insight into what kind of content your customers value that can be used to drive traffic from your SEO and paid media strategies.
Consider these questions:
• Which topics get the most likes and shares?
• Which topics get the most comments?
• Who are the people engaging the content (buyer personas)?
• How long are the articles that get the most engagement?
• What are the keyword opportunities?
• What common pain points / joys are being expressed?
• What product / service features do people love the most?
This kind of information can be used to optimize a number of internal strategies within your growth marketing stack.
From creating Facebook lookalike audiences in order to target new people likely interested in your products, to creating buyer-focused content that will rank for various stages of the buyer’s journey, social media recon will give up tons of valuable data that can empower your growth marketing strategy.
Use Technology to Gather Information on Your Competitors
There are a number of tools that help marketers gain keen insight into their competitor’s tactics and approach that can be used to optimize their growth marketing strategy.
Start with Open Site Explorer. This is a Moz tool that combs through your competitor’s backlink portfolio and identifies their top web pages. Remember, your ability to generate traffic from SEO will come down to rank ability. When you are able to identify your competitor’s top performing pages you can dissect them for ranking factors.
From pinpointing target keywords to tags and titles, using top performing web page data will allow you to refresh your current SEO strategy to help increase top of funnel traffic generation.
Google’s ranking algorithm pays close attention to backlinks, so knowing which referring domains your competition has relationships with will help you improve your own backlink portfolio with relevant, high-authority links.
As you start to improve the quality of your backlinks, your ranking will elevate. And once your backlink portfolio is healthier that your competitors and gives Google a greater reason to trust your site, your ability to be found online and generate valuable traffic will dramatically improve.
SpyFu is another great tool to gain valuable insight into the competition. It is valuable for PPC because it shows paid strategists how many monthly PPC clicks a competitor gets, their AdWords budget, and how many paid keywords they rank for. It also shows side-by-side comparisons with your organization and theirs.
SpyFu also reveals organic data about your competitors that can be used for your own optimization considerations. However, we have only touched the tip of the iceberg.
Nacho Analytics by SpyFu allows marketers direct access to their competitors’ analytics, which is extremely value for generating traffic from both PPC and SEO alike.
By learning which web pages and blogs your competitors engage the most and convert from, you can optimize your own content outperform your competitors, achieve improved rankings, drive more traffic to your lead nurturing funnel, and spike your conversion rate.
Look for the Gaps
The idea isn’t to match what your competition is doing. Rather, you want to look for missed opportunities for improving your growth marketing tactics while remaining focused on your target audiences.
More importantly, you want to use data on your competitors to identify any gaps in your strategy, and even gaps in theirs.
For example, you might discover that you and your top competitor have backlinks from the same referring domains, and your blog is focused on the same topics using the same context. Yet the competitor ranks better, and drives more traffic to their site than you do.
Upon closer look you discover the competitor is internally linking between their blog articles, and they link from each blog to the homepage.
This is known as the cluster model, and it improves SEO and conversion rates because it offers structured content that’s easier for Google to crawl, and it presents a better user experience because it allows visitors to easily find the content they are looking for.
A lack of this would cause a massive gap in any growth marketing strategy. By reverse engineering the competitor’s blog model, marketers can create their own structure while making it stronger, and even more buyer focused.
Stay Focused on Goals
Finally, avoid the temptation to go down a rabbit hole of data. You can also use the best tools to spy on your competitors and make all kinds of fascinating discoveries that will open channels for going off track.
Certainly make notes, but always remember that your goals are to increase traffic to your sales funnel, and convert leads into buyers.
In the beginning look for data that will directly help you optimize your own efforts for improving your growth marketing strategy, and then get more granular throughout the ongoing optimization process.