Congratulations on completing the course on competitive analysis! So, what have you learned?
By this point you should have a clear, data substantiated understanding of which websites are currently the most successful within your niche. You have taken a high level overview of your top competitors overall web strategy that contains better information than some of your competitors have about their own sites.
You should know which sites are the most successful overall, these are often the sites that have the most complete web strategy. However, you should also have identified some of the smaller up-and-coming sites that, while not yet outperforming the top competitors in every metric across the board, are likely to have a few areas where they are really excelling.
So, how do you incorporate this information into your own web strategy?
First off, you should take note that it is typically the sites with the most complete and well rounded web strategy that are the most dominant. So, your long term goal should be to have a strong, if not industry leading level of participation in each one of the metrics we have looked at.
However, with that said, no one can do everything at once. This is a process and what you have been given is a set of stepping stones along a path to success. You have to take it upon yourself to look a little deeper into how the leading sites in each metric are achieving those results. Then, compare that information to your own goals and capabilities, and prioritize which strategies you will seek to implement first.
As you go from one KPI to the next, your goal should be to learn from and replicate strategies from the companies that are having the most success in each individual metric. For instance, the most dominant site in the group may have the most mature AdWords strategy, so you would want to spend some time analyzing and learning from that. However, a smaller up-and-coming site may have a better social strategy, so you would want to dig deeper into that.
In the end, you will find that this competitive analysis has given you an incredible high level overview of the competitive landscape, and this alone can serve to inform you about the time and resources needed to compete… as well as the type of traffic can be expected from performing at a level similar to what your competitors are currently experiencing. Those metrics, combined with your site’s conversion rate and revenue per conversion, can give you a great way to forecast ROI.
At the same time, you should have realized by now that this is really just the beginning. When you are good at this exercise and familiar with the tools, it should only take you about half a day to complete this competitive analysis. If this is your first time, you should be able to get through it in one day. But, the information you learned through this exercise can save you months or even years of trial and error by putting you on the right path from the start.