Competitive intelligence research can be an overwhelming endeavor in today’s Information Age, with many possible research avenues to explore, and countless sources to potentially use. When undertaking a competitive intelligence research project, a great place to start is a competitor’s website.
Competitor website analysis can bring in plentiful insights from one convenient location. The core benefit of looking at a competitor’s site directly is that it allows you to understand their positioning, as well as potentially capitalize on that company’s experience, perspective, and data to inform your own company’s actions. For example, if a competitor is using an innovative pricing model, it would be worth digging in deeper to understand if this might be an effective model for your product.
As with all competitive intelligence projects, the first step that you should take before embarking on research should be to conduct a needs analysis, and clearly define what your team hopes to get out of the project. Once your goals, objectives, and research questions are established, you can head over to your competitor’s website and start harvesting that juicy information!
There are many ways that a competitor website can be analyzed. Below are some aspects of a competitor’s website you may be interested in investigating to inform your own company’s approach or strategy:
Researching websites for competitive intelligence:
Product Features – What features does your competitor highlight in its products or services? Features can be considered from a line-by-line technical perspective, or from a marketing perspective. Looking at what competitors choose to highlight can help you understand which features the company has determined its users care about, and how they believe their users understand and are attracted to them.
Target Audience – A competitor’s website can provide excellent insight into what groups it is marketing itself to. Clues as to who its target market is can be found in its website’s design, images, language, product packages or bundles, and much more. Target customer groups to be on the lookout for include consumer demographics (such as age, financial status, or gender), business size (for B2B products sold), industry, and/or business application area. Consider how a competitor uses color, language and/or customer use cases in its marketing. Understanding how your competitor presents itself to the world can also support efforts to develop your organization’s brand.
Company Structure – There is a great deal of content on a competitor’s website that can tell you about its organizational structure. A high number of job postings may imply that the organization is growing, and in what divisions. If a competitor is publicly traded, their Investor Relations webpages will contain large amounts of strategically useful information about its recent results and future strategic focus. A company’s leadership page can also give great insight into the direction of the organization. Anything that seems notable about leadership changes or the leaders themselves may indicate a strategic focus or shift the organization is taking.
Website Design – Looking at a competitor’s website can also help you to evaluate the usability of your own website. For example, if you try to make a purchase through your competitor’s site, ask yourself what you find easy or frustrating about the process. How easy or difficult is it to navigate to the information that you are looking for? Evaluating the user experience (UX) of your competitor’s site may give you new ideas about improving your own website’s usability. In addition, you may want to investigate how your competitor optimizes for SEO or what website tools the company uses.
There are many other areas to explore on your competitors’ websites, including:
- Analyzing its pricing models
- Identifying its key customers
- Evaluating promotional opportunities
- Seeing what calls-to-action they use
- Keeping up to date with competitor news releases and financial results, and much more
How can HelloInfo help?
At HelloInfo, we excel at digging deep on your competitors to weed through public-facing materials such as their website, and also to discover insights not able to be found online. Each competitive engagement we embark on has a custom focus and a set of questions to answer that are very specific to our client’s needs.
We would love to support you and your organization to compete better in today’s fast-evolving markets. Schedule a call with us to learn more about how we can use your competitor’s website against them!
Here at HelloInfo, we help our clients answer questions so they can make strategic decisions. Our HelloHow? blog series outlines different frameworks and approaches to carrying out strategic intelligence research. For other HelloHow? articles, see our blog, Spotlight.