When I talk to business owners they often mention the competition.
They’ll talk about Google rankings, social media following and other things.
If you look around the online marketing world you’ll find all kinds of tools that make it easy to measure all kinds of things. You can measure traffic, followers and all kinds of things.
These analytics software options can be expensive. You can measure those things, but you don’t really need to. When it comes to what matters it’s making profit and making sure the competition isn’t taking your profit away or threatening to do so.
Here is how you can measure your online marketing against the competition without analytics software.
Those social media followers are worth something. They’re part of your online community. They’re opting into your updates. They’re telling you that they want to hear from you so feel free to share your content updates with them.
When it comes to social media you don’t need millions of followers to make a profit from the traffic that comes from social sites. You just need a few dedicated followers and relatively more than the competition.
Step 1 – Determine the most important social networks for your business. Just because the competition is on Facebook doesn’t mean it’s right for your business. It might be, but not always. Figure out where your customers are and focus on the most important network first.
Step 2 – Compare followers. It’s the easiest metric to follow for your brand and for your competition. It’s not the end all metric, but it’s a good gauge of how your brand is doing compared to the competition.
Step 3 – Analyze your social updates versus the updates of the competition. The goal of social media is to build an audience and then get that audience to purchase from you. That usually means getting people back to your site. If your competition is sharing updates on social media they might get a lot of followers, but that’s only half the equation. Analyze if they’re doing anything to get people back to their site.
Search is still a source of traffic and revenue for businesses. The rankings have changed, though. There are more paid ads on the search results pages, which makes it a struggle for both organic listings and paid listings. You’re pushed down if you rank organically and there’s more competition if you rank for paid.
The top spot in the organic rankings or even the paid rankings doesn’t mean as much anymore. With Google Authorship and other ranking elements you can win more traffic (and sales and profit) with lower rankings.
Step 1 – Signup for Google Authorship. It’s a huge boost for your rankings. That little image of you next to the result will make you seem more trustworthy to searchers than rankings ahead of you that don’t have the markup. Do this. Your competition may have it, but many are still missing it.
Step 2 – Every business will have about 5 or so keyword phrases that really matter. You can use Google AdWords Keyword Planner to get a good idea of what those terms are for your industry. Lock on to about 5 of those and track your rankings versus the competition. Track this over time and see how you stack up against the competition. Simply run the searches each month or so. One note – do it in a different browser than you do normally. And add &pws=0 to the end of your search in Google. That will remove your personal settings from the search and you’ll see what most others see.
Step 3 – We’ll get into this more in the next section, but SEO today is content marketing. If you want to rank well compared to your competitors you have to create better and more content than the competition.
Content Marketing is a big opportunity for businesses. We’re biased at GBW, but those aren’t our words. The biggest names is marketing are saying it. We’ve had people come to us because they see that their competitors are investing in content. This trend will only continue and if you’re not looking at what’s going on you’re going to fall behind.
Step 1 – Analyze your the content your competitors have on their websites. You’re looking at the content they have on the pages. Sales content. FAQ pages. Look at it all. See how up-to-date it is. Check how often they make changes. Look to see if they have guides, videos and other types of content. It all adds up to more traffic from search and social.
Step 2 – Analyze competitor blogs. If they’re consistent with their blogging strategy then you can bet they’re getting traffic. See how often they’re blogging and for how long. If they’re sporadic with the updates or if they haven’t been blogging for long then you still have time to catch up and pass them.
Step 3 – Analyze the number of social shares on the blog posts. This is a pretty good gauge to see how the posts are doing, but it’s won’t tell you everything. Your competition won’t need a ton of shares to get the right kind of traffic. Often, the people that buy from you won’t share your posts. They’ll read it, like it and contact you. But it’s a good gauge of how much your target audience likes your competitor’s blog.
Finally, I think website design is important. I’m a little biased toward content over design, but if your design doesn’t look professional then your visitors are going to turn right around and leave your site. You have to have a trustworthy site and you need one that won’t confuse your visitors.
Step 1 – Go to your competitor’s website. Within 2 seconds can you figure out what they do and what they offer? If you can’t then you have an opportunity to have a better message with your design.
Step 2 – On your competitor’s website, can you figure out what the call to action is on each page. There should be one main call to action with maybe a few other small calls to action, if any. If you can’t see the call to action you again can gain an advantage.
Step 3 – Does your competitor’s site have cheesy stock photography? If it does then you can win with unique illustrations and photography that you created yourself with actual people from your business. It’s worth the investment.
What do you really care about with your online marketing efforts?
You’re not so much worried about how you rank or how many followers you have. You don’t care about how you stack up against the big brands or social media darlings out there.
You want to make a profit and do better than the competition.
Hopefully the information above will help you keep track without having to invest in a lot of analytics software.