Start-ups: Keeping an eye on the competition.
Markets like the UAE rank high in terms of “ease of doing business” as well as in “ease of starting a business”. It may be still on the expensive side but that doesn’t hamper the entrepreneurial spirit. The allure of small fortunes and independence is strong for many entrepreneurs.
Over the past years it has also become easier to keep a finger on the pulse of competitors. The combination of these factors presents an opportunity for those who want to change the status-quo and to offer their clients real customer support, real value-added services, and overall create a real value proposition for the market.
Surveying the competitive landscape is critical for start-ups during the precarious phase of exploring their concepts and more importantly while validating their assumptions. In one of my start-ups we had developed a star product that had to take over the world. We invested heavily in having the product manufactured and shipped. That’s when we went to market… it was a flop…
Validate everything; the market has no mercy.
Taking a good hard look at your competitors can save you a lot of trouble and most probably quite a bit of money in the process. Start-ups are notoriously strapped for cash, so insight into the competition often saves the day.
Learn from your competitor’s mistakes!
One of the dimensions that start-ups can learn from their competitors is their marketing approach; what strategies have they adopted? Which ones worked? What failed? Here are a few tools that will help keeping an eye on the competition’s marketing strategy.
AdGooroo - http://www.adgooroo.com/ This web service is build for advertising agencies and allows you to enter up to 10 competitor’s sites with no less than 250 keywords relevant to your activity. You can then decide what type of data to monitor (text ads, product listing ads…) as well as the medium (desktop, mobile,…). What you get back from AdGooroo is a brand snapshot on a monthly basis: Market overview, trends, keyword coverage efficiency, missed and lost keyword opportunities, and much, much more.
Moat - http://www.moat.com/ This free ad search tool analyses the ads published by the competition and sets out to search for the brand you are looking up. What you get back is a list of ads, and where they are published. It’s a brilliant tool to discover which advertising platforms work best.
SpyFu - http://www.spyfu.com/ SpyFu exposes the search marketing secret formula of your most successful competitors. Search for any domain and see every place they've shown up on Google: every keyword they've bought on Adwords, every organic rank, and every ad variation in the last 9 years.
The Search Monitor - http://www.thesearchmonitor.com/ Is yet another cross platform, multifunctional tool but this one is geo-located. It analyses data from close to 10 major search engines worldwide and across an impressive 1200 verticals. One aspect of the platform, aside from SEO and keyword searching, is the targeted industry insight it can provide, along with a map of sales in different locations.
Ahrefs - https://ahrefs.com/ Their tag line says it all: Track your backlinks, keywords, brand mentions and know what your competitors are doing. Data on external links, top pages, referring domains, IP’s, main anchor text… The main strength of Ahrefs is the exhaustive listing of backlinks (the world’s largest). It is updated about 100 times a day. Their proprietary “crawlers” are not the run of the mill SEO types.
Alexa - http://www.alexa.com/ What sites should I pay attention to? How well is a site doing relative to others? What are they doing and how well is it working? How can my site perform better? Do these questions sound familiar? Once you have narrowed down your competitors you can benchmark yourself globally or locally. You can also use tools to discover where the competition’s traffic is coming from, adjust your aim, and measure real-time the results.
SimilarWeb - http://www.similarweb.com/ Monitor the competition and search through the analytics. Even for free there is a host of information that can be gathered here: social mentions, top content, data sources, backlinks, statistics. Did you know that google.com’s traffic is 35% from the USA and that 70% of traffic is direct to their site? Gmail is their top referring site at almost 14%. Only 3% of their site traffic is triggered by social media like youtube and facebook. Go discover what your site is doing, for free J.
While some of these tools are free to try but with hefty price tags afterwards, there are many sites that do the same thing in baby steps. The central platforms that do it all are amazing, but with a bit of effort, and a bit of help from MAGNiTT Tools (planned release in 02/2016) it will be easier than ever to get all the information and support you need, oftentimes for free.
The tools that start-ups need are out there. If you need some help, some advice on getting your start-up off the ground, MAGNiTT.com will do its best to provide you with the support you need. We are independent and our only vested interest is to help you succeed. Ironically, we are a start-up whose aim is to help start-ups succeed. In your success they’ll find theirs.