Voltaire once said: “Originality is nothing but judicious imitation.”
This quote holds valuable advice that can be applied to any profession, including lead generation. Rather than copying someone else’s work and claiming it as his own, Voltaire emphasized the significance of learning from those who came before us. Artists, writers, and designers often draw inspiration from one another, and the best among them can adapt their style to fit any project they’re working on. No artist creates entirely original work, as they’re always influenced by other sources. Believing that your work is 100% original can hinder creativity.
In my book “The Ultimate B2B Marketing List: 200+ Innovative Tactics You Need to Try“, I highlight the importance of analyzing competitor marketing strategies and provide some practical tools to help you do so. By researching your competitors, you can benchmark yourself, and find shortcuts to achieving your goals.
In the Pay Per Click industry, this approach is called “reverse engineering from our competitors.” Although the term may sound dubious, it’s simply the process of learning from others who have experience in a particular field and using that knowledge to improve your own work. The goal is to take what you’ve learned and make it even better. This approach is not wrong, but rather a way to build on the successes of those who have come before us.
Reverse engineering your competitors’ marketing strategies can be a smart move, especially when you’re under pressure to deliver results quickly. While content marketing may be a long-term game, paid traffic campaigns come with a tight deadline and require getting it right the first time. Instead of struggling to come up with something entirely original, it’s often easier to research what’s working for your competitors and build upon it. By doing so, you can avoid the “publish and pray” approach that often leads to disappointing results. With a sound basis for your strategy, you can focus on delivering the same content in a unique or improved way. It’s not about reinventing the wheel, but finding what works and making it work better for you. So, the next time you’re facing a tight deadline, consider reverse engineering from your competitors and use the research to guide your strategy.
These are the Tools I Recommend for You to Get Started:
Start by using Google to search for keywords related to your industry. For example, if you’re in the API business, search for “API Best Practises” click on it, and study the top four results. Take note of the copy, layout, and hooks that your competitors are using to rank high and attract leads.
Pay attention to the headlines, tone, grammar, and storytelling techniques that your competitors are using in their copy. Try to identify how they’re using customer psychology to their advantage and what gaps they’re leaving in their messaging that you can fill.
Look at the layout and design of their landing pages. What images are they using, and how are they using color and fonts to make an impact? Are they placing essential information above the fold, or are visitors forced to scroll? What kind of hooks are they using, and how are they prompting visitors to take action?
Finally, look at the lead generation form (surveys/quizzes) that your competitors are using. Are they using forms or surveys to get more data from potential customers? What questions are they asking, and how are they using the data to segment leads? Try to find ways to improve on their approach and create a more effective lead-generation strategy for yourself.
SEMrush is a highly effective tool for understanding your competition’s digital strategy. With access to over 450 million+ domains in their database, it offers a more complete view of your competitors’ tactics. What makes SEMrush so widely used is its ability to provide real-time insights into your competitors’ search engine results pages (SERP) and keywords. By identifying the keywords and backlinks your competitors are using, you can optimize your own campaigns. SEMrush’s competitive research features allow you to analyze a competitor’s domain, advertising campaign (including search, display, and shopping ads), keyword strategy, and content strategy across channels. This tool enables you to reverse engineer your competitor’s digital strategy and learn from their best practices while also discovering new opportunities for your brand. With SEMrush, you can dissect your competitor’s digital strategy from all angles and gain insight into their traffic generation, top products and offers, market shares, organic strategies, advertising tactics, and content and social media performance.
SimilarWeb is a tool that you can use to analyze your competitor’s website traffic and gain insights. Unlike SEMrush, which covers a range of metrics such as SEO, PPC, social media, and content marketing, SimilarWeb is mainly focused on website statistics. By using this tool, you can check your competitor’s traffic, engagement, and digital strategy for any domain or URL. One useful feature is the Market Channels Analysis which provides information on the channels your competitors are investing in (such as direct, email, referrals, social, organic, paid, and display), the percentage of traffic coming from each channel, and their top referral sites. This feature allows you to regularly monitor and compare your competitors. The metrics provided by SimilarWeb are also useful in optimizing your ad budget and finding relevant sites and influencers to improve your content strategy.
Have you ever been curious about how your competitors handle their email marketing campaigns? If you’re thinking of subscribing to their newsletter, you might want to hold off and check out Owletter first. This tool provides you with detailed analytics on your competition’s email newsletters, such as their frequency, schedule, and trends.
Owletter’s dashboard is easy to navigate, displaying all the email newsletters that your competition has sent out. This feature is particularly helpful if you’re new to email marketing or want to update your template, as it helps you determine what type of template design and content works well for your audience.
Although some may consider Owletter’s analytics to be basic, they provide valuable insights into best practices that you can apply to your own email marketing strategy. By observing what your competitors are doing, you can learn what works, such as the best times to send emails to get the highest open rates, and what kind of content is considered spam. This information allows you to avoid making the same mistakes and effectively allocate your budget.
Understanding your competition is key to building a successful digital marketing strategy. With the right tools, you can gain valuable insights into your competitors’ tactics, including their SEO, PPC, social media, content, and email strategies. The tools mentioned in this article, such as SEMrush, SimilarWeb, AdGenius, and Owletter, can help you get started with analyzing your competitors and finding new opportunities for growth. Of course, there are many other tools available, so don’t be afraid to explore and experiment to find the ones that work best for your needs. I have outlined many more tools in my book.