Tag

target audience

Browsing

By Reb Risty.

Video content is in demand now more than ever. Social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram are continuously improving their video features to meet both business and consumer needs. In fact, according to recent HubSpot research, 45% of consumers watch an hour or more of video content per week on YouTube and Facebook.

Because of its accessibility and how engaging it is, the demand for video will continue to be a top priority for both businesses and consumers. A Cisco study forecasts that 82% of all internet traffic will be video by 2022.

Here’s how to start providing valuable video content for your target audience.

What types of video content can businesses explore?

One of the best aspects of video content is that there are various types that all serve different purposes. Businesses can experiment to see which types of content they would like to incorporate into their marketing strategy. Here are four types of video content.

1. Testimonials

Many businesses choose to create testimonial videos because they’re an excellent way to establish credibility and influence purchase behavior. Trust is the most important thing that businesses can establish with potential customers. Good testimonials convey that you are trustworthy and can deliver. Asking loyal customers to partake in an authentic testimonial video to share their experience with your business will give other consumers needed insight to purchase.

Possible barriers: While testimonials are certainly a great option for businesses, one potential pitfall is that testimonials may appear too polished and scare people away. Let your clients talk about you in their own words.

2. Brand Videos

These types of videos communicate your business’s brand to your audience, thus increasing brand awareness. Without an established brand that is effectively communicated, businesses will miss out on opportunities to market to their ideal customers.

Possible barriers: Certainly, brand videos are a great source to highlight your business’s brand. However, businesses first need to ensure that they understand their brand message and position. Keep each video message consistent and limited to two main points.

3. Product & Services Videos

Creating product and service videos gives your business a chance to educate consumers. Product/service videos are great for showing the difference between you and the competition. Additionally, you can spread awareness of products and services to a larger audience through video. The combination of visual, audible and reading make the information more memorable.

Possible barriers: Product videos are an amazing way to showcase your business offerings. With that said, business owners must ensure that they have spent enough time perfecting their products or services. Your product videos could be your audience’s first impression of your offerings. If your product or service isn’t top notch, they will quickly move on to the next business.

4. Tutorials

Tutorials have long been popular when it comes to video content, and for businesses that have the opportunity to teach their audience something, tutorial videos are the way to go. For instance, maybe you are a financial consultant and you want to show potential clients how they can use QuickBooks more effectively. Or, perhaps you have a skincare line and you would like to show your audience how to use your line of products together. No matter the type of business, you could benefit from creating a tutorial video to establish credibility and spark audience interest.

Possible barriers: While tutorials are a great way to establish credibility, they can become repetitive and possibly feel impersonal. Businesses need to ensure that they keep their tutorials fun and fresh. Don’t be afraid to add some personality to keep your audience engaged.

What should businesses ask themselves before diving into video marketing?

Video has become a frontrunner in content marketing. However, before diving into video content, businesses should consider a few things to drive the best results.

Producing quality videos takes time and effort.

While video content can produce amazing results, businesses will fail in their efforts if they don’t take the time to produce content that is reflective of their business. Remember, when you push your content out into the internet world, it is representing your business, so be sure that you are producing content that mirrors your business effectively and will make a good impression.

Don’t overthink your video content.

With that said, the most important thing is to just get started. Take baby steps. The internet is a fast-paced environment flooded with tons of business content. If you take too long to push out your own, your business could easily be forgotten.

Create and innovate.

Additionally, it’s important for businesses to be creative and innovative with the information they provide in their videos. Too often, businesses produce the kind of content that has been seen over and over again. If you want to see ROI, ensure that you are creating content that is fresh as a way to help your business stand out from the crowd.

Consider customer platforms.

Consider what platforms customers will use to view your video content. Not every platform is right for your audience. For example, YouTube is one of the most common platforms to house video content. Facebook is ideal for a large range of audiences, while Instagram is more favorable for the younger demographic and consumer products. Take the time to consider where your audience is and which platforms create the best opportunities for you to share your videos with them.

If you want to stand out from your competition and create content that is fun and engaging, start integrating video into your marketing program. There’s no better time to get started than now.

Feature Image Credit: Getty

By Reb Risty

Head REBL of REBL Marketing. Reb is a creative B2B marketer helping businesses tell their story one video at a time.

Sourced from Forbes

By Karen McCandless

In the past, marketers often employed a (rather unpleasantly named) strategy known as spray and pray. This involved marketing their business everywhere they could think of and to anyone who would listen. This kind of marketing was expensive, difficult to measure, and ineffective.

Spray and pray was often combined with batch and blast marketing, which involved creating one email blast and sending it to everyone on their customer list.

This was in the days before the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), so many unsuspecting customers ended up getting emails and other marketing communication that they hadn’t given their consent to receive.

Thankfully, most (but not all) companies have moved on and are using a more targeted and personalized approach to marketing. One of the tactics that savvy marketers are using is called market segmentation.

Overview: What is market segmentation?

Instead of having one huge customer list and sending every message you create to everyone on that list, market segmentation involves splitting customers with similar characteristics or interests into different groups.

Customers can be in multiple different market segments at once. You would then only send your marketing messages to the relevant segment(s).

What are the 4 types of market segmentation?

There are four main types of segmentation that you can use to split customers into more manageable groups. We run through these below and provide market segmentation examples for each one.

Type 1: Geographic segmentation

Location is one basic but important way to segment your customers.

For example, if you want to market ski goggles, you might want to create segments for people who live in states that get a lot of snow and that have particularly good ski resorts.

Or, when creating Thanksgiving promotions, you might want to create a simple segment for all your customers in the U.S.

Examples of geographic segmentation

Geographic segmentation can refer to both a specific location as well as the characteristics of that location. Here are some examples of both:

  • Climate: It makes sense to only market certain items (such as ski products) to certain climates.
  • Country: Different countries observe different holidays, so it’s important to make sure you’re sending emails that customers will understand.
  • City: If you have brick-and-mortar stores, you might want to create promotions that are targeted at certain locations in specific cities.

Type 2: Demographic segmentation

This is one of the most popular methods that marketers use to segment customers, as it’s one of the easiest and quickest segments to set up.

Examples of demographic segmentation

It’s important to remember that some demographic information, such as age, is always changing, so you need to continually update your segments. Here are some examples of demographic segmentation:

  • Age: You can target different products to different age groups, as well as use different marketing channels and content to cater to different generations.
  • Gender: While gender is becoming a much less important target market, there are still occasions when you might (and we emphasize might) want to segment by gender, such as marketing pregnancy products toward women.
  • Income: You could market your more expensive lines to customers with a higher income.
  • Family situation: Someone who is pregnant or has children may be interested in different products than someone who is single.

Type 3: Behavioral segmentation

While it’s easy to collect geographical and demographical information, behavioral segmentation takes more work since you need to collect and analyze more data on your customers.

Examples of behavioral segmentation

To successfully create behavioral-based segments, you need to understand customer actions. Here are some examples of behavioral segments you can create:

  • Past purchases: Has a customer bought your product or service before and, if so, was how recently?
  • Brand loyalty: Do they regularly interact with your brand across different marketing channels or do they regularly buy your product?
  • User status: Have they just signed up to your newsletter or have they stopped interacting with your brand?

Type 4: Psychographic segmentation

Psychographic segmentation is probably the most imprecise type of segmentation, but it also gives you the opportunity to show your customers that you care about them enough to take their interests into account.

Examples of psychographic segmentation

To understand how to create psychographic segments, you need to really listen to your customers so you can understand them better. Here are some examples of psychographic segmentation:

  • Brand loyalty: Do certain customers particularly like certain brands? For example, if you sell sneakers, you could create a segment of everyone who likes Nike.
  • Values and beliefs: Do you have customers who are vegan or who only buy organic sustainably made products?
  • Lifestyle: Do certain customers like to spend a lot of money on certain products, or to buy them often? For example, some customers may want to spend a lot of money on a trendy suitcase, while others may see this as extravagant and only want to buy a basic model.
  • Interests: If a customer has certain interests, then they might buy specific items more often and buy higher-value products. For example, keen runners will often spend more money on sneakers and buy them more frequently than non-runners.

How to create your own market segmentation

Now you know the different types of segments you can create, it’s time to get practical. Here are the steps you need to take if you want to segment your customer base.

Step 1: Unify your customer data

To create the most accurate, more specific segments, you need to ensure you are collecting as much information as you can on your customers. Record every interaction they have with you and every bit of information they share with you.

Once you have that data, you need to ensure that you store it all in one place, rather than keep your social media data in one location, your email marketing data in another, and your event data in yet another.

When you’ve unified this data, you can start to build up a complete picture of your customers and spot patterns.

For example, you might see that a lot of customers are clicking on articles about vegan skincare in your email newsletter. You can then create a segment of these customers and send them a discount code to encourage them to make a purchase.

Step 2: Create buyer personas

Your segments need to correspond with your business goals and your target market. There’s no point in creating segments of people who live in places where it snows a lot if you don’t sell winter wear.

Putting together buyer personas — which are fictional representations of your ideal customers, including their interests, favorite sites, and demographic data — can help you choose characteristics you want to create segments for.

For example, if your target customer has an income of over $80,000 a year or lives in a major city, then you can create a segment for each of those things.

Step 3: Do your research

Once you’ve created your buyer personas, you need to get as much information as you can on your current and potential customers.

Do keyword research to find out what they are searching for online. Look at what news websites they use or social media channels they favor.

Find out as much as you can on how your competitors segment their customers by signing up for their email newsletters, following them on social media, and browsing their websites.

Step 4: Talk to your customers

This step is particularly useful for psychographic segmentation. The best way to find out a customers’ interests, values, motivations, and beliefs is to ask them directly.

You could create a survey and email it to customers or post questions on social media asking for your customers’ opinions on certain topics. For example, you could ask how many of your customers are vegans.

Step 5: Use your website

Your website is one of your most important marketing channels and an incredibly useful sales and marketing tool, but it’s also often overlooked.

If you want to create behavioral segments, then you need to use your website data. What products or categories are people browsing the most? Which channels are they using to find your website? Which products are they buying?

This information can help you understand which kinds of segments you should be creating.

Step 6: Test, measure and repeat

There is no one magic bullet that will help you create your perfect segment. Some will yield results and some won’t, but you won’t know until you try. That’s why you need to create segments based on the steps above, test the success of your marketing messages against each segment, monitor the performance against your marketing KPIs, and make adjustments as needed.

Methods of market segmentation your small business should try

At The Blueprint, we want to make your life as easy as possible. That’s why we’ve compiled some methods and tools you can use to make the process of setting up customer segments much quicker and easier.

Invest in email list management

One useful way to segment your customers is to use your email list. Leading email marketing software lets you search for common characteristics and surfaces the results. You can then use this data to create segments with just one click.

Mailchimp takes this one step further by analyzing your customer data using its machine learning–based algorithm and building segments automatically based on customer behavior, such as how much time has passed since they last opened one of your campaigns.

For this to work, you need to ensure that you’re managing your email list, which is one of the most important email marketing best practices. This means adding and removing customers from the lists when necessary (such as when they haven’t engaged with your brand in six months).

Create more detailed signup forms

If you want to collect more information on your customers, then you need to create as detailed signup forms as you can without overwhelming customers. To do this, you need marketing or CRM software that allows you to build and design these forms.

SendPulse subscription form where you can select forms such as embedded, popup, floating, or fixed

SendPulse lets you customize your forms to improve sign-up rate.

SendPulse not only lets you add as many custom fields as you like, you can also choose the type of forms, such as embedded or popup, change the layout from vertical to horizontal, edit the notification text customers receive when they sign up, and track the success of the form in generating signups.

Use lead management software

Lead management software — or a CRM solution that includes lead management functionality — can help you create segments by understanding which of your leads you should prioritize and which you don’t need to focus on based on your marketing metrics and goals.

Lead scoring — a key part of lead management — is a process that determines a customer’s readiness to buy. This is a numerical value that is worked out based on factors such as a customer’s engagement with your company and demographic data.

Insightly dashboard screen showing graphs for campaign performance, number of prospects, audience growth, open rate, and other key data points.

Insightly provides detailed information about the status of each lead.

Insightly has excellent lead management functionality, as its dashboard provides an at-a-glance view of the status of each lead. Once you’ve worked out which leads are a priority, you can create more accurate segments.

Automate the process

You can’t simply create segments and then just forget about them, but maintaining them manually is a time-consuming process. That’s why you need to invest in a direct marketing solution that comes with dynamic segmentation functionality.

Mailigen provides dynamic segmentation functionality, which means it automatically updates your segments as and when subscribers start and stop meeting your criteria.

Mailigen form to create segments with fields to specify what activity creates a certain segment.

Mailigen automatically adds and removes people from your segments.

If a customer hasn’t clicked on any link in your newsletter, that person will be added to a “never clicked” segment. When they click on a link, they’ll be removed from that segment. If they don’t click again for a set period of time, they’ll be added to that segment again, and so on.

The more personalized and targeted, the better

Most people are inundated with emails and social media posts every day, without a hope of opening and looking at every one.

That’s why making sure all your emails and marketing messages are as personalized and relevant as they can be is key if you want to get your customers’ attention. Customer segmentation is crucial to being able to send the most relevant messages to your subscriber base.

Just make sure you’re keeping these segments up to date, retiring any that don’t serve you anymore, and creating and testing new ones on a regular basis.

By Karen McCandless

Sourced from the blueprint

Sourced from

Without knowing how to properly identify your target market, it will be difficult for you to make a perfect pitch that will convert your audience into customers. Most businesses fail on this part as they tend to reach out to anyone interested in their services.

The problem with this targeting approach is it appeals to a broad audience. Doing this will give your services a hard time to stand out from the growing competition online.

To avoid wasting your marketing efforts, you need to narrow down your niche. Your business will increase its tendency to generate leads and sales if you place it in a specific market. No business can target everyone.

To get you started, here’s a handful of tips on defining your target audience.

1. Who are your ideal customers?

The initial step in developing your social media marketing strategies is to know the interests and characteristics of your audience. This information is vital in understanding your buyer personas. Know the reasons why they like your services or products and what drives them to trust your business.

Surveys are a helpful tool to ask your customers about their preference and how they want their problems to be solved. This will give you an insight into how you will communicate and interact with them.

2. Check out the competition

If you are new to the business and just starting out, it is obviously hard to squeeze in the tight competition. But it does not mean that you don’t stand a chance. Do not compete with the giants. They have been there for a reason. They have worked hard for years to establish their online reputation.

Study the audience they are targeting including their current customers. Look out for the potential market that they might overlook and take advantage of it. Instead of competing in the same market, focus on the niche market and build your solid foundation there.

3. Conduct a Product/Service Analysis

No matter how good your marketing strategies are, your business will not grow if you have the wrong product or service. This is the reason why your company exists. Remember that it is not about only the products and services you are offering but the benefits that they provide.

Do not too much of the product. Instead, highlight their important features and how they can solve people’s problems and needs. For example, you are offering web design services. The benefit is you will be giving businesses professional brand identity. This unique identity will make them stand out, increase exposure, and attract more customers.

After you listed all the benefits, identify the people that will be needing them. For example, you may target start-up businesses interested in creating an impressive company image. From there, you will narrow it down. What niche? House cleaning? Interior design start-ups? You have a choice.

4. Target Specific Demographics

The closer you are to the target, the higher the chances that you will hit them. You do not want to launch your marketing campaign and hope someone would buy your product and avail to your service.

Consider these essential factors:

Age – Are you targeting teens, adults, stay-at-home moms, etc.? Make sure that your approach is suitable to the age of your target audience so that they can easily relate.

Location – Are you going local or national? Where are your customers located? What is the community looks like?

Gender – If your business is selling make-up and beauty products, you’re probably targeting women.

Income level – Look at the price of your product or service. Is it affordable? It’s hard to market an expensive product especially if your customers belong to a low or middle-income class. Put yourself on their shoes.

5. Identify the behavior of your target audience

In addition to demographics, you should also determine the psychographics. Does it fit their interests? For example, you don’t want to sell solar panels in the area that has a typically cold climate. Your products should appeal to your customer’s personality, values, and lifestyle.

Once they find out that your products and services provide significance to their daily lives, they would likely go after it.

6. Determine the platforms Your Audience are commonly using

Not all social media platforms work the same. They have different strengths and weaknesses. By understanding the online behavior of your audience, you will know what channel you will utilize. Most demographics are using Facebook while is Instagram is a great platform which makes use of photos to promote businesses. Twitter is a good channel to get to know of the latest news and trends and LinkedIn is the best platform to reach out to industry leaders and professionals.

7. Tailor your Content

Observe what your competitors are doing and have an idea why they are successful. What are the methods they are using to drive engagement? What other areas do they lack? Will you be able to exploit their shortcomings?

If you’re on the budget, you can use SMM services from digital marketing agencies like Search Media. When promoting content in social media, do not focus on self-promotion. Share relevant content from trusted sources and industry experts to develop trust and credibility.

Spend time on social media to understand audience behavior such as when is the time there are most active users. This information will help you learn when is the best time to post and share your content.

Not only that, social media is not all about posting! Reach more people by encouraging interaction and communication. Build an active community where people can constantly see and hear from you.

8. Be a problem-solver

Make people feel that you are not just a business but a human too who can understand their feelings and interests. Research their pain points and base your marketing on solving those problems. By giving your brand a voice, you can create more influence, attract more followers, and build more opportunity to connect with your customers.

Sourced from

Right Mix Marketing focuses on digital marketing, technology, eCommerce, entrepreneurship and business related content. Want to become a contributor at RMM? Email us on rightmixmarketing [at] gmail [dot] com !

By Tim Asimos 

Today, anyone with valuable, relevant content can attract an audience online. Blogging enables firms to become publishers by creating educational content that attracts and engages their audience while building trust and credibility in the process.

Having an active blog loaded with quality, original, thought leadership-oriented content should be a top priority in your marketing strategy. We’ve previously discussed the role of thought leadership in the B2B buyer’s journey—and blogging is one of the cornerstones of content marketing. Blogs provide an avenue for prospects to recognize your firm as a subject-matter expert, by providing them with information that they are looking for and/or find relevant to their business. Furthermore, blog content is viewed by 77% of B2B buyers during their purchasing process. Still not convinced that blogging is important for your business? Here are 7 compelling reasons why your company should be blogging.

1. Create value for your target audience

Content marketing is all about adding value by sharing relevant information that informs, educates and guides your prospects and clients. So by writing blog posts about topics that are relevant to your audience, you begin to provide value for them, as opposed to just talking about your firm and what you sell.

What are their pain points? What challenges do they face? What gaps in information are they lacking that your blog can fill? What problems can you help solve for them through blogging? If a prospect finds value in your blog posts, they are also likely to find value in your services as well.

2. Become an industry thought leader

Keeping your prospects engaged over a longer sales cycle is important to nurture the relationship. Blogging provides you with the opportunity to show that you’re an expert and thought leader in your industry by leveraging your technical staff as writers. Writing posts on topics relevant to your industry and providing valuable guidance and best practices gives you credibility as a company and positions you as a reliable resource for information. Your blog can become a go-to place to answer your prospects’ questions and concerns that are common in the industry and keep them connected to your brand for an extended period of time. You are helping your prospects learn something, while building thought leadership at the same time.

3. Differentiate yourself from the competition

While many companies engage in “me-too” marketing, focusing on features and benefits of their services, blogging provides an opportunity for you to differentiate your firm by showing instead of just saying. There are a growing number of firms with blogs on their website, but many are filled with the same old self-promotional, news-oriented content that everyone else publishes. But by providing educational and informative content that people find valuable and useful, you can set yourself apart from the rest of the “me-toos” in your industry. Instead of just telling your audience that you’re the expert, blogging allows you to actually demonstrate your expertise and knowledge.

4. Drive website traffic and improve SEO

One of the best ways to boost your website traffic and improve your SEO rankings is through blogging. According to Hubspot, companies that blog receive 55% more visitors, 97% more inbound links and 434% more indexed pages on average. Blogging gives you something to talk about online and promote on your social media channels, it gives you more indexable pages for Google to serve up to visitors, and it provides you the best forum to create keyword-rich content and lots of it.

Your blog posts should contain keywords and phrases relevant to your industry. It is important to have these keywords in the headlines, image ALT tags and blog post URLs. By doing this, each blog post increases your chances of being found online through search engines, ultimately driving more traffic to your website.

Recommended for YouWebcast, October 17th: How to Solve Your Marketing Data Nightmare

As more people view your blog posts, many begin to link to your pages on their own websites. This creates inbound links that give your company’s website authority with search engines and increases your referral traffic.

5. Keep your website fresh and create shareable content

As you write and share blog posts, you are increasing your firm’s content and keeping your website fresh and updated. Further, many blog posts can be repurposed into other forms of content, and vice versa. Each blog post should have share buttons to make them easily shareable on social media so you can further increase your reach to potential clients. It’s important to cross-promote your blog posts as much as possible in order to maximize its reach and influence and drive traffic to your website.

6. Attract prospects and generate leads

By providing valuable, relevant content, your blog attracts prospects and starts a relationship with them. Every blog should include a simple subscribe form to capture “fans” and they should receive periodic email updates from the blog. Be sure to promote subscribing to your blog using intentionally placed calls-to-action (CTAs).

Premium content for lead generation such as an eBook or whitepaper can be promoted on your blog as well using strategically placed CTAs in posts or on the sidebar. Gate premium content behind a form on a landing page that requires the prospect to enter their name, email and company in exchange for the content. Now you have a prospect to begin a lead nurturing program with and can eventually convert some of these leads into customers.

7. Engage existing clients and create brand advocates

Blogging is certainly effective for attracting new prospects and generating leads, but it’s also useful for nurturing relationships with existing clients as well. Blogging is one component of the content marketing machine that is useful for continually engaging your clients after you’ve closed the deal. You can and should continue to show your knowledge and expertise and keep adding value to the relationship. Ultimately the goal is not only keeping your clients, but creating passionate brand advocates that generate positive word-of-mouth and sell for you.

No pain, no gain

Many firms struggle getting their blog of the ground or keeping it going. Some are reluctant to blog because they don’t know who will write it or they are unsure if they can maintain it. Blogging isn’t easy! In fact, regularly producing valuable, quality blog content can be challenging and difficult, especially if your firm is not committed to it. However, blogging (as these 7 reasons point out) should be an essential component of any online marketing strategy and is a huge opportunity to drive website traffic, build thought leadership and generate leads.

These are just a few of the many reasons why blogging should be a focal point of your digital and content marketing strategies.

Feature Image Credit: Free-Photos / Pixabay

By Tim Asimos 

Sourced from B2C Business 2 Commumity

By Neil Patel.

How well do you know your competition?

Depending on your industry or location, the market may be saturated with businesses providing the same services or offering the same products as your company does.

Not everyone will survive.

Sooner or later, one or two companies will separate themselves from the crowd.

If you want to be an expert in your niche, you’ll need to learn effective competitor analysis skills.

Otherwise, you could put yourself at risk of falling behind those businesses that adopt these strategies first.

As a marketing expert who founded several startup companies, I’m well aware of how competitive certain spaces can be.

It’s not easy to operate a business, especially when you’re worried about the guy down the street taking customers away from you.

Whether you’re a small-town business or a global ecommerce store, you need to analyze your competition.

If you’ve never done this before, I’ll show you how to get started.

My techniques will help you improve your business and increase profits fast.

Identify your competitors

Knowing your competitors may sound obvious to you, but you’d be surprised how many people I meet can’t name their competitors.

Those of you who fall into this category have to identify your top competitors before you do anything else.

Even if you know who your competition is, it won’t hurt to start here. You may be find new information.

Let’s say you’re a local business selling sandwiches in Seattle.

Run a search on Yelp:

image8 10

Simple.

The top results will be advertisements, but that doesn’t mean those aren’t your competitors.

Don’t disregard them completely just yet.

Here’s something else to keep in mind.

You’re looking only for your direct competition.

If your sandwich shop also sells cookies or pies, you’re not looking for bakeries or specialty dessert shops.

You’re also not competing with every bar in your neighborhood that has a sandwich on the menu.

Make sense?

So filter your search to get more accurate results:

image3 10

If you click on the “all filters” tab, you can narrow the results.

For this example, I’d recommend picking a price range similar to yours and a place in the same neighborhood.

If your most expensive menu item is $12, you don’t care about the gourmet restaurant 8 miles away selling $45 sirloin steak sandwiches on their dinner menu.

Now that you’ve got a more accurate list, write down your top competitors.

In a busy city, like Seattle, you may find upward of 30 sandwich shops in your neighborhood alone.

That’s way too many.

Look for businesses with the most reviews and the highest ratings.

Narrow that list down to 5 or 10 at most.

Yelp isn’t your only resource.

Depending on your business, you can also reference Google Local or Angie’s List.

However, these platforms may not be helpful if you’re trying to identify competitors in a digital marketplace.

If your operations are run completely through a blog, website, or ecommerce store, you’ll need to use other tools to identify your competitors.

Try using a service like SimilarWeb:

image10 10

They offer lots of competitor analysis tools, including competitor identification.

All you need to do is put in the name of your website, and they’ll generate a list of your competitors.

They have a free sign-up option, but to maximize your research, I would recommend paying for an upgraded subscription.

If you don’t want to pay for a subscription, consider reaching out to your current customers.

Creating an effective customer survey can help you learn more about their habits.

Send a survey to your subscriber list asking them to identify other websites they shop at or blogs they read.

Who is their target audience?

Now that you’ve identified your top competitors, it’s time for you to see whom they are targeting.

You can’t assume their target market is the same as yours.

Don’t believe me?

Let’s continue with the local sandwiches example.

Here’s a chain sandwich shop called Cheba Hut:

image11 10

Take a look at the names of the sandwiches on their menu.

Also, notice how they refer to their different sizes.

Based on your research, you may have identified this company as a top competitor.

They have the same hours as you; they’re close to you; and they sell sandwiches at the same price point.

But it’s clear this business is trying to appeal to a certain crowd.

It works.

Don’t get me wrong.

I’m not saying you need to adopt this strategy and look for a niche market to focus your marketing strategy on.

All I’m saying is you need to identify the target market of your top competitors.

After further analysis, you may determine you want to make some adjustments, but we’re not quite there yet.

Here are some things to consider when you’re identifying your competition’s target audience:

  • Age
  • Location
  • Income
  • Gender
  • Marital status

Your results won’t be perfect, but try to come up with an accurate customer profile based on their advertising campaigns.

Your Google ranking is essential

How can you be better than your competitors?

You both have the same type of content on your website.

You’re targeting the same customers.

They even update their site, services, and products as frequently as you do.

Why are they ranked so much higher on a Google search than you are?

You need to understand the components of Google’s ranking algorithm:

image7 10

Visit your competitors’ websites.

Evaluate their SEO.

Determine how they are using keywords to boost their search ranking.

Look for keywords and phrases in the following places on their sites:

  • Title pages
  • H1 headings
  • H2 headings
  • Internal links
  • URL structure
  • Content

Do you notice a pattern?

See what words are getting used the most in these places.

It may have an impact on their rankings.

Compare their content to the keywords on your site.

Are you using long-tail keywords?

image9 10

You should be.

Incorporating a long-tail strategy into your content creation will improve your ranking because it’s more specific.

Ecommerce sites use this tactic all the time to get more hits.

If you’re selling a pillow, adding the word “pillow” all throughout your content isn’t as effective as using terms like “down pillow for side sleepers.”

Is your competition using this strategy?

If so, that’s probably why they’re outranking you in related search results.

Analyze competitor content

Take your analysis one step further.

Getting customers to your platform is only half the battle.

But what do these people see once they arrive?

Here are some other things to look for on your competitor’s page:

  • Blogs
  • Pictures
  • Videos
  • Case studies
  • Buying guides
  • FAQ pages
  • Podcasts
  • Guest posts
  • CTA

Compare these to your own website.

They may have certain features you’ve omitted from your site.

I’m not saying you should automatically mimic the structure of their pages, but see what’s working for them.

For example, let’s say you discover your top three competitors have a blog. And all three outrank you on Google.

You should consider adding a blog to your site.

image2 10

This data about the benefits of blogging speaks for itself.

Adding a blog to your website will help you:

  1. Generate more leads
  2. Increase conversions
  3. Get more inbound links
  4. Have more indexed pages
  5. Gain trust from consumers

And that will lead to increased profits.

Something else to keep an eye on while you’re analyzing their website is their calls to action.

How is your competition adding subscribers, generating leads, or converting sales?

Look at their sales pitches.

See what benefits they are offering.

How do their top features compare to yours?

You may realize your product and service are significantly better than those of your competition.

But that doesn’t mean anything if you can’t relay that information to your customers.

Look at how marketers are failing to use CTAs:

image6 10

Reviewing the CTA on your competition’s website could be an eye-opening experience for your marketing department.

Your competitors may excel in areas where you’re lacking.

That’s okay for now. But it needs to be fixed before you fall too far behind.

Look at their social media presence

All businesses should have a presence on social media platforms.

For now, I’m going to assume your company is active on at least some of the most popular platforms:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • Instagram

If not, you need to follow my social media guide.

For those of you who already have profiles set up, navigate to your competitors’ pages.

How active are they?

What are they posting?

Are their customers engaged with their posts, photos, videos, and comments?

Here’s an idea.

Start adding their followers.

These people are obviously interested in your industry if they are following your competitors.

Maybe they don’t know your company exists.

Don’t be selective. Add all of them.

The more people you add, the greater your chances of getting customers to follow you back will be.

Understand why consumers follow brands on social media:

image4 10

Once they start following you, it’s essential you keep them engaged.

Keep in mind, some of these people may have already established a brand loyalty with your competition.

You really need to blow them away to convince them your brand is better.

See what kind of promotions your competitors are running on social media.

Try to run one that’s more appealing.

How do they incorporate videos into their social media marketing strategy?

Video content makes up more than 90% of Internet traffic.

You should be using live video to engage with your customers.

Even if that’s something your competition isn’t doing, it’s a great way to stay ahead of them.

Recognize areas needing improvement

Now that you’ve analyzed your competitors’ customers, websites, marketing strategies, and social platforms, it’s time to adjust your business.

Based on your research, what areas of your business need improvement?

Where do your competitors excel while you struggle?

There’s always room for improvement. Don’t be biased.

It’s okay to recognize your competitors are doing well.

Run a SWOT analysis:

image1 10

Here are some questions to ask yourself.

Strengths

  • What are you doing well?
  • How have you separated yourself from the competition?
  • What makes your company unique?

Weaknesses

  • What do you need to improve to compete with your top competitors?
  • What resources or tools do you need to achieve that?
  • Do you need to change your location or conversion method?

Opportunities

  • What is the current public perception of your company?
  • How can you target new customers based on your competition’s strategy?
  • Are there any new changes in the industry or market?

Threats

  • Which competitors are directly impacting your revenue?
  • What’s preventing you from improving your business?
  • How are you leaving yourself vulnerable to losing customers?

These questions are just a starting point.

You can take this SWOT analysis much further to make the necessary changes and improvements.

Conclusion

If you want to increase profits, start by analyzing your competition.

Competitor analysis is an effective strategy for businesses in all industries, whether your company is large, small, or somewhere in the middle.

The first thing you need to do is identify your top competitors.

Narrow this list down to 5 or 10 at the most.

Only look for direct competitors—not just any business similar yours.

Once you’ve identified these companies, you need to focus on their customers.

What’s their target market?

How are they appealing to these customers?

Focus on your Google ranking:

image5 10

Analyze your competition’s website to see what kind of SEO tactics they’re using.

Review their content, and compare it to your own.

What pages on their site generate the most user engagement?

Consider adding a blog to your website if you don’t have one already.

Check out the social media profiles of your top competitors.

Start adding their followers in an attempt to draw more customers to your business.

Use the SWOT analysis to recognize and implement any necessary changes.

Making these changes can help improve your business and increase profits.

By Neil Patel

Neil Patel is a New York Times best selling author. He is the co-founder of Crazy Egg and Hello Bar and he helps companies like Amazon, NBC, GM, HP and Viacom grow their revenue. The Wall Street Journal calls him a top influencer on the web, Forbes says he is one of the top 10 online marketers, and Entrepreneur Magazine says he created one of the 100 most brilliant companies in the world. He was recognized as a top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 30 by President Obama and one of the top 100 entrepreneurs under the age of 35 by the United Nations. Neil has also been awarded Congressional Recognition from the United States House of Representatives. Continue reading

Sourced from QUICKSPROUT