In order to resonate with your target audience, its crucial to align your messaging and positioning with their expectations of you. To differentiate yourself and convey your true value above the competition, you’ll also need to be aware of how they are communicating their position. To accomplish these goals and propel yourself to the forefront of your space, you’ll need to start with a competitive messaging and positioning analysis. Through this audit you will be able to best identify not only what appeals to your buyers most but unaddressed topics in the market you can capitalize on. To get you started, we’ve provided a number of questions to consider, broken down by media type.
The first place you’ll want to begin your analysis is with your competitors owned media; their websites, blogs and social media profiles. This will provide you with insight into their brand identity, how they do business and their market share. Ask the following questions about your competitors to build out your comparative analysis. Take detailed notes of your findings in the context of differentiators, opportunities, threats and next steps.
STEP 1. What is their vision, mission & tag line(s)?
STEP 2. What are their main calls to action? Do they offer a trial?
STEP 3. What secondary calls to action do they have? What content is gated? Do they gate content at all?
STEP 4. Do they message by industry, business size, persona or use case?
STEP 5. What value statements do they make by each category?
STEP 6. How many indexed pages do they have?
STEP 7. What is their website directory structure?
STEP 8. Are their meta title tags optimized for specific keywords?
STEP 9. Are their heading tags optimized for specific keywords?
STEP 10. Are they blogging by theme and on a given cadence?
STEP 11. What events do they host, sponsor?
STEP 12. What is their webinar or video theme? At what cadence do they add resources?
STEP 13. How many case studies do they have? What values are listed in each?Are your competitors present on social media?
What is the frequency of their activity? What people /groups/companies do they follow? Do they reciprocal follow everyone? Do they actively engage in groups and forums?
You’ll next want to learn more about their presence and reputation in the marketplace. As you’re auditing the positioning here, you’ll want to build a list of all of the third party outlets in your space as well as a list of commonly published themes. Again, take detailed notes of your findings in the context of differentiators, opportunities, threats and next steps.
STEP 1. Are third party publications publishing their writing?
On what subjects? Who is the author?
STEP 2. Check backlinks to website with a tool like SEM Rush, Moz, aHref, etc. Are these from authority sites?
STEP 3. What content is most frequently republished by third parties?
STEP 4. Where do your competitors rank in search engines
STEP 5. Which keywords have the highest percentage of change in the last week/month?
STEP 6. Are your competitors mentioned on social media?
Once you’ve audited natural sources, begin to look at how your competitors are paying to attract and engage prospective buyers. This will provide you insight on how to make the most effective choices on your end. Leverage what you know is working well for them to save yourself time and money.
STEP 1. Which networks do your competitors advertise on?
STEP 2. Which keywords have ad spend behind them? What is their average position in those paid ads?
STEP 3. What ad copy / messaging drives the highest CTR?
STEP 4. What landing pages do they use with their advertisements? (website vs. dedicated landing pagess)
STEP 5. How many landing pages do they have in their paid campaigns?
STEP 6. Are there specific themes they advertise?
STEP 7. Do your competitors rank in search engines organically for those same themes?
STEP 8. Are you retargeted with display ads by your competitors after visiting their website?
Every 3-6 months, you should try to “secret shop” your competitors to see how they treat prospective buyers. You can unearth many insights that will allow you to differentiate yourself and you will also be armed with more accurate and up-to-date knowledge for your own sales teams when going up against these competitors. If you are leveraging assets such as battle cards, this will be key information to be aware of in keeping those resources current.
STEP 1. Use a third party or perform the “secret shop” internally
STEP 2. Call the number on their website – do you get a phone tree or does someone answer right away?
STEP 3. How many people do you have to talk to before you get your questions answered? Does the sales rep have a technical sales person on the first call?
STEP 4. What questions are you asked as a prospective buyer?
STEP 5. Do they give a demo right away?
STEP 6. What types of content are you sent?
STEP 7. Is follow-up timely?
STEP 8. What feature benefits do they tout and which do they gloss over?
STEP 9. What features / benefits do you share in common?
STEP 10. What unique features do they have?
STEP 11. How is their product positioned in a proposal or statement of work?
There are undoubtedly more questions that can lead to insight when performing a thorough messaging and positioning analysis, but we hope this gives you a good starting point. We’d love to hear what works for you. If you are interested in being highlighted in our next Academy article on the subject please let us know.