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Using competitive intelligence to improve on-site conversion rates
Increasing your on-site conversion rates can be tricky and time-consuming. Find out the 4 ways you can use competitive intel to optimize your website conversions.
Competitive analysis can be useful across several applications, one use case we’ve grown increasingly interested in is how to use competitive intelligence to improve on-site conversion rates. In this article, we’ll share the four ways you can use competitive intel into higher conversion rates:
- Identify the competition
- Compare value props
- Conduct functional & quantitative analysis
- Explore the user experience
Identify the competition
Before starting your review, you’ll want to identify your competition. Tracking the competition will provide insights necessary for building out your strategy. The first step in implementing a competitive intelligence strategy is defining your competitive landscape. Start by understanding who you’re competitors are before identifying competitor strengths, weaknesses, and gaps in the market.
Specific industries have large numbers of competitors, so it can be challenging to know which ones should you be tracking. To get you started, we have broken out the competition into the three most common categories: Direct, Indirect, and Replacement (emerging).
If you haven’t done so already, here’s a helpful resource to get you started: Which Competitors Should You Be Tracking.
Once you’ve established who your top competitors are, you can begin conducting a thorough analysis that will uncover your areas of differentiation and opportunities as it relates to conversion rates.
Compare value propositions
Having identified your top competitors, a great place to begin your analysis is with a comparison of your value propositions (props). Make sure your value props are outlined clearly before beginning this step. Our messaging framework template and guide can help organize your messaging and value props, allowing you to compare with competitors easily.
Start by reviewing their websites, social channels, and SEO campaigns to identify their high-level value propositions. These are the key-values they give their customers. Ideally, each value prop will be listed on their website, or in their paid search rankings. However, if it’s not clear, look for things like claims, promotions, or offers that you – or others in the space – don’t? What differentiators are you able to identify on your end and theirs?
In additional to differentiators, it’s essential to have a clear understanding of commonalities as well. If a competitor is making claims that their offering is superior to yours or that they provide a feature you lack, you’ll want to be prepared to counter those claims. If the claim is false, have your proof points available. Tracking channels over time helps determine if they’re evaluating a more significant change in the value proposition. If you see inconsistency in their messaging or constant changes, you’ll be prepared to respond quickly.
Conduct functional & quantitative analysis
A competitive analysis allows you to identify: what you can be doing better and what to avoid. Take a detailed look at what your competition is doing with their website to gather ideas for improving your conversion. Aside from visually surveying their content and layout, look a bit further into how they are using their site to interact with customers.
Use tools (paid and free) to analyze tags and analytics on their site, as well as to track their AB testing. If you are using a competitive intelligence tool, like Kompyte, monitoring changes to their website such as CTAs or even hidden menus, can be easily automated for ongoing analysis.
Competitors who are actively gathering user activity and experience data – such as those with feedback submission tools or NPS surveys – are going to give you better ideas as to how you can make improvements to your site conversion. They’ve already done a lot of the work for you, so work smarter not harder.
In addition to on-site design and performance, be aware of the analytics driving traffic to the site. There are many tools you can use to determine the keywords your competition is using as well as how those keywords are performing for them in paid and organic campaigns. Once you have identified your competition’s best-performing keywords and ad copy, leverage those performance insights to improve your conversions rates.
Explore the user experience
There is no limit to how many insights can be derived using automated analytical tools. However, they won’t provide you a detailed first-person account of a user’s experience. Nor will a tool be able to “experience” the customer journey through a competitive lense. Information about the user experience is invaluable in determining a customer’s impression of not only a website but of their relationship to the brand itself.
There are a few ways you can gather this intel; the first (easiest) is by simply asking your competitors’ customers about their experience. Potential, current, and former customers will all have valuable insights to share with you regarding their experience. A few simple questions to start with:
- What made you seek out this type of product/solution?
- What were the 3-5 top must-haves influencing your buying decision?
- Why did you ultimately choose the company you did?
If you have the opportunity to ask these questions personally, it’s best, but an NPS survey can also do the trick.
If you want to dive a bit deeper into the user experience, particularly as it relates to the site design, you can employ some user testing. You can source a group of (neutral) participants to test your site and your top competitor’s websites. Have them provide feedback on their first impression of the site/brand as well as how easy/difficult it was to navigate. Once you’ve collected all the input, there are several ways to implement this type of testing. Ultimately you’ll want your testers to provide you feedback on which site experience was the most positive and why. Then you can apply that input directly or expand on the differentiators.