Normally when Iâ€™m creating a proposal for a potential client one of the things Iâ€™ll do for them is a Competitive or even a Comparative Analysis. They are both essentially the same thing. The key is to find out what the clientâ€™s competitors are doing online. How are they successfully marketing their businesses?
Where to Start
The first thing I do is a Google search. I want to find out who is most likely to be found on a search engine. Bear in mind that some industries will have offline leaders who are well known in real life. These are competitors you need to ask your client to provide.
Once I have a list of 3-4 competitors, I start off each by taking a screenshot of their sites. Iâ€™ll take a look at how that business describes its services. Iâ€™m specifically looking for their Unique Selling Point. Whatâ€™s different about them compared to my client and to the other industry leaders? These are the things that help you figure out what makes a competitor unique in their industry.
Investigating Interactive Activities
Once Iâ€™m familiar with the competitorâ€™s claims, Iâ€™ll investigate the website to determine what activities a visitor can perform at the website. How does their website interact with the visitors? How much content do they have on the website? How does the website keep their potential customers involved?
Investigating Integrating Activities
At this point I want to discover how the competitor integrates their offline business (if they have one) with their online business. Is the site a customer service website used by their current customers or is it a site whose goal is to entice new customers?
Investigating Personal Services
Most sites have some sort of personal service area whether itâ€™s a simple FAQ or if itâ€™s a full blown interactive program that allows them to design their own product from pieces they purchase from the website. Sometimes this is what differentiates an industry leader from an industry wannabe. Itâ€™s up to the web designer to discover the services that a competitor might offer.
Investigating Global Reach
It might seem like a particular company can only provide a local service. This is wrong. One company I investigated for a client blew me away. They provided a product and service that seemed like it could only be delivered locally unless it was done through a large chain store. Boy was I wrong. This particular company had built up enough web traffic with potential clients from all over the US. What they did was create a lead system. Any clients they couldnâ€™t service themselves, they referred to other companies for a small referral fee. It gave them a global reach and a new revenue stream.
Summing Up Strengths and Weaknesses
At the end Iâ€™ll sum up the strengths and weaknesses of a particular competitor. This is my opportunity to point out features that my client would benefit from having on their website. Itâ€™s a great place to up sell features to your client for their website.
Client Doesnâ€™t Want All That Stuff
Youâ€™ve got to be careful not to overwhelm your client with the competitive analysis. If they only asked for a few things for their website itâ€™s important to give them a quote based on those features. They may or may not read your proposal all the way through to the end. Larger clients tend to look all the way through the proposal. Add the Competitive Analysis and your added recommendations after youâ€™ve given them a cost summary of what they first asked in their website. The Competitive Analysis can highlight these extra features for the future.
Good Luck with your Competitive/Comparative Analysis