Want to see how your competitors are marketing their business? Here are 9 easy and free ways to spy on competitors:

1. Subscribe to their email newsletters.

Using an email address not affiliated with your company, go subscribe to all your competitor’s newsletters. This is the easiest way to see new products, offers, events, blog posts, etc. If you are up for a little more work, keep a spreadsheet for each email listing the date, time received, subject, call to action and any notes on things you like and don’t like.

2. Follow them on their social media platforms.

You can set up Facebook Pages to Watch in Insights or create Twitter Lists to follow them without actually liking their Facebook page or following them on Twitter.  As you watch competitors on their social platforms, take note of content you like, how often they are posting, products and services they are promoting, and hashtags they are using.

 3. Subscribe to their blogs.

Set up a Feedly account and monitor competitor blog posts. Be sure to watch the subjects they pick to blog about.

4. See what they’re made of.

Ever wonder what competitors are using for content management systems, analytics, and other digital software? Find out using www.builtwith.com.

5. Study their websites.

Learn what products and services they offer. Take note of their language, tagline, and guarantee, if they have one. What are they doing that you are not?

 6. Take a peek at their traffic. 

Curious how your website traffic compares with a competitor? Just type in their URL to Similar Web and get an estimate of their monthly traffic, bounce rate and more.

7. Go back in time.

Use the Wayback Machine to see how your competitor’s site has evolved. See if you can learn anything from how your competitor has changed the design, calls to action, and content of their website.

8. Get an alert.

Set up an alert using Google Alerts. This is a free and straightforward notice you’ll receive every time your competitor is mentioned in the media.

9. Review their reviews.

What are customers saying about your competitors in online reviews? What is one of their weaknesses that you can make into one of your strengths? What are they doing well that you need to improve?

Make sure you are comparing similar businesses. If you are a local business, don’t compare yourself to a national chain.

 

It’s fun, kind of sneaky, and very educational to watch your competitors, but we encourage you to remember your brand. Just because it is working for your competitor, doesn’t mean it will work for you … but there is nothing wrong with using competitors to help brainstorm your new ideas. And one more tip, make sure you are comparing similar businesses. For example, if you are a local business, don’t compare yourself to a national chain. You can take inspiration, but don’t stress out about not doing as much or having as many followers as they do.

We have some more in-depth tools we use to monitor keyword rankings, online advertisements, backlinks, and more. Let us know if you are interested in a full competitor audit.