Analyzing competitor websites gives you a clear idea about the gaps that exist in your existing email marketing campaigns. It gives you the details required to optimize and enhance your email marketing performance in terms of various metrics, including; open rates and click-through-rates.
Wouldn’t it be a dream-come-true if you could get your hands on your competitors email marketing analytics? Well, it’s simply not possible. But, there are ways that we can help you conduct competitive analysis for your email marketing strategy.
Today we are going to discuss how you could learn from your competitors and implement best email marketing practices.
Remember: Not all businesses in the same industry have the same marketing positioning and USP, it is highly recommended to stick to your own beliefs while conducting a competitive analysis. Please ensure that the practices you learn today match the demographics of your audience, your brand, and overall vision.
Are you ready?
Steps To Conduct A Competitive Email Analysis:
Step # 1: Pick Out Your Competitors
You have always been wondering how your top competitors have been working on their online marketing strategy. Pick out the top 5 competitors from your list or you could even use online tools like SimilarWeb.com to get a list of your competitors. Here is an example of the search conducted by me for amazon.com and here are the results:
You could even click on the “See More Similar Sites” button to get more competitors.
Step # 2: Sign up for their newsletters
Your competitors probably won’t stop you from signing up for their newsletters. However, it is strongly recommended to have a dedicated inbox for competitive analysis so you only get the emails that are to be analyzed. Once you have done that, head to your competitors’ websites and subscribe for their newsletters. Some of the top places you could look for the subscribe option are:
- Subscription pop-up forms
- Website footer
- Website header
- Hello Bar
- Blog Sidebar
Step # 3: Analyze 8 key elements
Now you land up on the most important stage that will play an important role in your email marketing strategy, Analyzing your competitors emails. We strongly recommend you start the analysis at least one month after subscribing on all the competitor newsletters.
The 8 key elements to analyze include:
- Frequency of the mails: Check out the frequency of their mails throughout one month. Are they sending the mails weekly, bi-weekly or monthly.
- Subject line: How are they provoking their subscribers to click on the email? Is it thought provoking, funny, or very actionable? Analyze and you could A/B test the same in your email marketing campaigns.
Design: Are they competitors having a custom design for their email newsletters? The key components that you should look for in the design are given below:
- Color: The color palette that they are using. The best practice is to stick to your brand logo color throughout the theme of the email newsletter.
- Branded templates: Check out how the competitors are incorporating their brand elements into the newsletter. If you plan to use an advanced marketing automation platform like Hubspot, you could enter your brand elements inside your template on its HubSpot COS email templates development tool.
- Stick to standard fonts: The fonts should be highly legible. Best fonts that you could stick to are Times New Roman, Helvetica, or Arial.
Call-to-action: How often are the calls-to-action appearing in the design? How do they make it stand out from the rest of the template? Check out how they are attracting prospects to click-through.
Pictures: Does their email have a good balance of text and images? How do they pull eye-balls with the help of pictures?
Mobile Friendly: 75% of smartphone users check email on their phones. If your competitor has taken this fact seriously, they should have created a mobile version of the email. How does it render across different screen-sizes and clients?
Landing page: You will be taken to a landing page once you click-through their CTA. How relevant is the message on the landing page to the newsletter? Think of how better you could be in providing offer or messages to your prospects.
- Personalization: Are the competitors sending a personalized copy of email based on what you selected on their websites? If yes, how could you work out on the personalization strategy on your website?
Step # 4: Conduct A SWOT Analysis
Try to identify all the elements of the competitors’ emails that you believe are performing well. The main components to analyze are:
- Attractive design.
- Usefulness of content.
- Value offers.
- Powerful calls-to-action.
- The ability to get the subscribers on the landing page.
Which elements of the competitors’ emails are causing friction or not working well?
- Are the emails to salesy and not providing any value to the subscribers? Put yourself in the shoes of your prospects and figure out what disappoints you.
- Is the content legible?
- Are they sending the mails too frequently? Are they trying to be pushy to their subscribers?
- Emails that are not mobile-optimized email are a big weakness.
Discover the opportunities based on the strengths and weaknesses that could be leveraged for your own emails. If you are already conducting your own email marketing campaigns now you can check out the gaps in your existing campaigns and identify the areas that you could enhance for maximum engagement and conversions.
Finally, identify those areas that are a threat for you and questions how to position yourself among your prospects. Look at things like discount offers that are beyond your limits and other commitments and how you could overcome these challenges with your own content and offers. It is perhaps not possible for your brand to be as bold as your competitors, but you could definitely provide value in a different manner.
The internet has changed competitive marketing analysis as we know it. Previously analyzing other organizations required some sneaking around akin to espionage but this is no longer the case. The growing importance of a web presence now means that virtually everything you need to know about other companies in your industry can be found online. Moving past a SWOT analysis and leveraging the right platforms to gain intelligence can allow you to quickly obliterate opportunities and improve in real time.
The ever evolving behavior of users has completely changed how brands communicate with them. In order to hold ourselves strongly in the market, it is vital to keep ahead with the trends, be innovative and keep an eye on competitors. Analyzing your competitor’s strategy will allow you to identify gaps in your own strategy.
We would like to thank Dev for the guest post:
Dev is the Head of Marketing at HubMonks, a HubSpot content optimization system (COS) partner specializing in HubSpot website templates along with blog, landing page and email templates. Dev utilizes and swears by the power of the HubSpot inbound marketing methodology. He loves to share valuable insights on HubSpot’s marketing software, content optimization system (COS) and the best practices to set up successful inbound marketing campaigns. You can contact him on facebook and twitter.