When you have greater visibility into your competition, you are able to answer internal strategic questions much more quickly than if you were to go through the process of solving the problem yourself. For example, strategic questions like:
- How can we dramatically increase qualified traffic to our site for free?
- What marketing message is most likely to work the best?
- What are the most common times customers may visit our location?
- What technologies should we use?
- How can we cost effectively reach our target audience?
- How can we dramatically increase customer support options?
With that said, this should only be used as a starting point since your own unique value propositions, technology, experience, etc will change the way you approach certain problems. In addition, the way you approach and solve problems your competition hasn’t quite noticed yet will give you a short term competitive advantage until of course, they start spying on you.
Marketing Copy and SEM Spying Tools
A tool we use frequently is called SpyFu. Spyfu indexes over 6 billion urls across 84 million domains. They take a snapshot of every index from the last 11 years to allow you to search a competitor and see every keyword they bought, review keyword position, explore the ad copy they used the most often, review ad variations and even look at the organic ranking of their organic keywords.
For example, you can view the best call to actions and marketing messages that have worked the best for your competition to get ideas on how you could potentially market your product. Let’s say you are developing a new CRM product and Salesforce.com would be a major competitor. You can get an endless amount of data to help with your market research and competitive analysis.
You would be able to see every one of the 94,494 keywords Salesforce shows up for within Google organic search to help with your own organic keyword focus and content creation. You can see that Salesforce pays for 42,951 paid keywords on search engines and uses a variety of different creatives and marketing language depending on the keyword searched. You can also see all of the other Salesforce competitors and see how their keywords overlap.
With this tool, you can also see all of the quality links that link to Salesforce to help with your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) outreach when you are ready to increase your site’s SEO.
Semrush.com is another tool that is similar to SpyFu. They say they search across 130 million domains, 800 million keywords and have 1 million users.
SEO Spying Tools
The leader in this space is moz.com. Moz has been focused on the SEO side of the business more so than the SEM (Search Engine Marketing) side. Moz is the trusted thought leader within this space and offers a variety of tools to help focus on improving your SEO. You can view the links to your competitors, Do keyword research, track organic rankings and more.
Technology Spying Tools
Sometimes is it important to see what type of products your competition or even potential customers are using. SimilarTech allows you to track the technology stack your competition might be using so you can either replicate or not waste time on a technology they may have recently removed. Let’s use the Salesforce.com example again. Below you can see that Salesforce has been adding and removing software providers from their website. This can give you insight into what maybe has been working or has not been working for them in the past.
Or let’s say, your new product idea is targeted at businesses who use certain email providers like Gmail / G Suite. You can use this tool to see every business on the internet that uses Gmail to power their business emails.
From there, they can generate a list of businesses you can reach out to that are using Gmail so you can better target your marketing and sales initiatives. Go ahead and spy on your competition, it will only make you both better.