The most effective marketing strategies are built on information, data and competitive analysis. You need to know how to reach potential customers, how others invest their marketing budgets and the strengths & weaknesses of your competition and/or industry leaders. Who can you steal market share from and who can you learn from? These are essential questions to ask as you craft an effective and cost-efficient marketing strategy.
Here are a few free resources you can use to help with your planning. All of these have paid subscriptions if you excel beyond their free versions. However, using these tools can help up your objective analysis game and enhance your badassness.
This seems like a no-brainer. However a quick search for “consumer time spent with media” reveals some sources like this emarketer article that show you how people actually consume media. This is important if you want to understand how to reach people with your marketing message. How does this impact your marketing mix?
You can also search “annual internet ad spending” to reveal these IAB Reports from the IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau). These show you how other people invest their digital budgets and the trends in those investments. How much search, display, mobile etc. should be in my budget. How are those channels growing? After all, as consumers use more digital, mobile media – advertising investments follow.
Think with Google – is an awesome blog to keep you updated with the latest trends and stories on consumer insights, marketing resources and advertising channels. This is a fountain of knowledge for the novice to the expert marketer. If you haven’t subscribed to this, do it now.
There are also some Tools available from Think with Google that can be very helpful. Specifically Google Trends is extremely helpful to analyze search terms (keywords) people are using. Think about how people are searching for your brand name or the products/services your business offers. How do these compare to other competitive brands? How are these trending in various geographies and what are some other topics and queries related to your keywords? You can narrow this data down by geography, date range and search type. Another very helpful tool is the Test my site tool. Here you can run a free report on the user experience and quality of your mobile website. This report will also show you some enhancements you may make to improve your experience and site speed in order to maximize your mobile experience and performance.
SEMrush – is a great resource to monitor the traffic to a specific website. This is great to see quantity and seasonality along with the top keywords & competitors for both organic & paid traffic. There are many other features for you to dig much deeper.
SpyFu – is a similar resource to SEMrush to analyze the paid & organic traffic. However, SpyFu has a great reporting feature called the “Kombat” report. With this report you can select 3 websites to analyze the keyword universe. This shows you the exclusive and overlapping keywords for all 3 sites. Also, if you click on any area you can see a detailed list for what those actual keywords are. Therefore you are able to identify additional keywords to incorporate into your SEM campaigns and how to adjust your SEO & on-site content efforts to influence your rankings for those organics keywords as well.
MOAT – is a website that can give you insight into the digital branding (display/banner) presence of a brand. Type in a brand name and it will show you the total number of creative messages found, device the message delivered to (desktop/mobile), ad dimensions and dates the ad was active. This will help you see the creative messaging, call to action strategies and online branding presence. Keep in mind this tool will only show results for businesses that have delivered enough impressions to analyze.
Ghostery – is a browser extension that will show you what trackers are firing on a specific webpage. Therefore you can see what your competitors are using to track their website traffic. What analytics and advertising trackers are they using? What are they using those for? How could you learn something they are doing to implement yourself or combat with other efforts?
Keep in mind these are FREE resources. They are not perfect and you will see discrepancies with your own info/analytics. You will also see inconsistencies between these services. However, these are consistently inconsistent. Therefore they are to be used as a barometer to measure your business against others and identify opportunities to grow your traffic, increase your online market share and create better marketing strategies for your business. Good luck out there and always improve!