Advertising Lessons From Your Competition

 Learning what your competitors are doing right will enable you to stay in the game but more importantly, learning from their mistakes (and not gloating or repeating them in your business!) will help you get ahead. Here are four important lessons to help your business thrive…

Where Are Your Competitors Advertising?

The standard rule in marketing is that you should be where your competitors are advertising but that’s not always the case. Not all traffic sources are created equal nor are they all beneficial for every business.

Lesson learned: Don’t automatically go where all your competitors’ placements are. Rarely is there exact cross-over between your target market and services. Get to know the various traffic sources your competition is promoting in and choose the placements that only makes sense for the niche(s) and audience you cater to.

What Are They Advertising?

You can quickly and easily access the success of your competitors’ campaign by looking at their banners and landing pages and seeing what they are advertising and the length of their campaigns. If the same banner shows up month after month, then you know it’s likely a winner. This is also a great way to discover the types of promotions they are offering or if they are pushing a specific product which will help you plan your marketing strategy accordingly.

Lesson learned: Don’t reinvent the wheel, but add your own polish. If you see a banner or ad copy that is catchy and performing well, take the elements that work and use them as inspiration in your own campaign.

How Social Are Your Competitors?

Researching your competitors’ social media activity allows you to get a glimpse of the types of social conversations that are having an impact. Find out not only how much of their total traffic is from social, but what mix of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Stumbleupon and Youtube. Consider both positive and negative feedback and note how their customer support interacts. Is there a specific area that is mentioned more than others? Are they successfully winning in a particular social channel over another?

Lesson learned: You can learn a lot listening in on the complaints of others and ensuring your business avoids these pitfalls. If there is something people like and your company isn’t doing it, take it as a green light that you should start immediately.

How Are Their Customers Finding Them?

You can take all the necessary steps in making an awesome site and buying large quantities of media in all the right places, but at the end of the day, are your prospective consumers finding your competitors first?

Lesson learned: Think like a customer so you can profile them better. Discover what keywords and phrases consumers are searching for and revisit your list to ensure you are properly highlighting your product and not missing key industry terms. Learn what the leading referral sites and top search traffic channels are and leverage this intel to your advantage.

Wendy Kam Marcy has been working in the online marketing and advertising industry for 8 years. She is currently the Marketing Manager for WhatRunsWhere, a competitive intelligence platform that helps you monitor your media buying, discover new traffic source and view your competitors’ display and mobile ads.

Connect with Wendy on Twitter @wendykammarcy.

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