Jari M. Rouas is a NY based Digital Marketing Consultant who has more than 20 years of professional experience leading brand site development and social media endeavors for organizations such as GlaxoSmithKline and MRA Services as well as start-up and mid-sized companies.
In this essay, Jari provides great insights and tools that will help you differentiate your site and branding. She reminds us that if we are seeking brand distinction (and who isn’t?), then we must do our homework. This article, serves as a helpful study guide towards getting that work done.
Jari can be reached at jarimrouas (at) yahoo.com and I encourage you to follow her on Twitter: Twitter.com/jarirouas for more great insights and connect with her on LinkedIn: Linkedin.com/in/jarimrouas
One Key Step To Avoiding Being a Me Too Site
How do you cut through the clutter? Planning certainly helps and part of this is taking the time to really explore and discover what the digital landscape looks like. I see otherwise brilliant agencies proposing digital tactics that may appear to be unique but when launched the brand may not be the first, nor even a fast follower, in the space with this offering; there may be dozens of sites that satisfy the searcher.
Taking time to do due diligence and understand the online environment is time well spent.
Important to note as you list the competitive set it should not only include the obvious – similar product but whatever product or services might be competing for the same eyeballs. For example, for an OTC sleep aide you’d want to look not only at other products on shelf but devices that reduce snoring and beds that help people sleep better. People seeking solutions don’t always search to find a product.
So what do you look for?
- What are competitors digital activities e.g. destination website, social media, blog, paid and organic search?
- Are their efforts working? Are they driving traffic and usage of their sites?
- Who are they speaking to?
As an outcome of your discovery you want to be able to say what they are doing well and not so well to see where the opportunities are to differentiate your brand.
There are great and often free resources to use to do your environmental audit, to name a few:
- https://www.Alexa.com here you can find out about traffic going to competitive sites and some basic demographic and search information
- https://www.compete.com am a huge fan of the pro features but even the free version can give you fantastic traffic and trend information about competitive sites.
- http://marketing.grader.com – website and blog graders to find competitors strengths and Achilles heels
- https://www.Adwords.google.com worth its weight in gold, here you can learn about what keyword or keyword phrases are heavily searched on and understand if you speak about your product the same way consumers do, e.g. ‘Smoking Cessation ‘or ‘Stop Smoking’ products.
- https://www.google.com – ask the Google! put in your product type and see what is returned, which sites are well optimized and appearing in the top listings, which competitors are paying for adword campaigns against a brand name, product category or product benefit.
Look, listen and learn to understand what is being said about your product and those of your competitors in social media, here a two good free resources: https://Twitter.com/search and https://Socialmention.com
Now you’ve got a bunch of data that you need to synthesize and digest to get a sense of what the field you are about to play in looks like. Use this data to help you stand apart from being another ‘me too’ site. BTW you also now have a baseline to help measure the success of your programs against. Good luck.