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If you want to be a successful marketer, you should be spying on your competition
When it comes to being successful online, you need to know what your competition is doing. A lot of people are actually scared to spy on their competition because they think something bad will happen from it. I'm here to tell you that there's absolutely nothing to worry about, you're not breaking any sort of law by figuring out what your competition is doing lol. Think of it this way, if you can go on Google and figure out the marketing plan for a competitor, it's fair game and you can legally copy it.
Spying on your competition is what you'll need to be doing if you're getting into a competitive niche. You'll need to research what the big players are doing, and mimic them in a way that you will still stand out from the crowd but give them a run for their money. You'll obviously need to put your own branding onto your campaigns, but that's pretty obvious
If you can figure out what your competitors are doing, you have a game-plan and know what you have to do, but you have to perform it better than they did in order to gain any ground on them. In this discussion I'll be going over a few things that you'll need to know before you start seeing any results by spying on your competition and implementing marketing techniques they are also using.
Cut out a lot of your PR Media
The problem with going to the media about your new website or business is that there are so many places you can go, but not all of them are created equal.
The very first thing you'll need to do is check each media website and figure out if they are covering anything about your industry. If they aren't actually writing anything about your industry, cut them from the list and move on. You'll cut them because it's just a waste of time contacting them every week with new pitches, you're literally wasting your time and you could benefit by contacting other media companies.
A good way to do this quickly is to set up Google alerts and have it focus on your competitors name. This way you can see where they are being mentioned by journalists and you can contact that media company directly after knowing it's not a waste of time You can even go right to the writers and pitch to them, but since they just wrote about something similar to your business, they might not write about you right away.
Spruce up your landing pages
One of the big things you'll need to spy on your competition for is to see what they're doing with their landing pages. If your competition is a million dollar company, you can be assured they spent some money on optimizing their pages for conversions. You can mimic their layout in order to get the best results from anything you're doing such as PPC campaigns, SEO campaigns, Social Media Campaigns, etc.
You can also pick up on new strategies that your competitors are using to capture more clients. I was recently spying on the competition for one of my own blogs and noticed the big authority competitor started using a video demonstration that auto played when people landed on the page. I'm not a huge fan of these, but my competition is using it and they haven't taken it down, so they must be doing something right.
To see exactly what these big companies are doing, you might have to click on their ads since you won't really know what their landing pages are by typing in the display URL. It's not the most ethical way of going about your spying, but sometimes it's necessary. If you really feel bad about it, you can send them a check for $0.37
Spying helps find better keywords
In order to run a successful PPC campaign on Google, Yahoo/Bing, or Facebook you will need to know what keywords are best to target and which ones you should avoid. It's a tough thing to figure out all the best keywords before you go broke, but you can do it a little easier if you simply spy on your competition lol. Sure, you could use the Google keyword planner but they only provide a finite amount of keywords for you to target at a time.
For something like this, I like using SpyFu so I can get a big list of my competitors keywords without having to do much of the work myself. This is a paid service, so you'll have to part with a few bucks in order to spy on your competition, but I can honestly say I've made plenty of money using just this one tool and it pays for itself Think about it, you're not wasting time manually searching through every keyword to see if it pings back a result, you just type in your competitors domain name and the system goes and spies on your competition for you, then generates a report for you to download or just glance over.
I'm sure there are some free keyword spying tools out there that mimic SpyFu, but I haven't found any that were good enough to use a second time.
Rewriting Competitors Content
This is a big thing you can do in order to fight with your competition for the top spots in the search engines. I've been doing this for years and claiming my position at the top of the rankings over time because the search engines began to see me as an authority just like my competitor.
What you'll basically be doing is going to your competitors blog and figuring out why they're covering a specific topic and what they main keyword is for that post. You'll then rewrite the post as well as you can and over time you'll be rewarded for it Obviously you won't want to copy your competitors blog post each day, you'll need to jump around and see what they've done in the past and rewrite it.
Of course you'll need to add your own style into the writing, but that will come naturally. You'll want to stay professional at all times in order to be seen as the authority when people do come to read your content.
One thing you MUST NOT DO is blatantly copy/paste the content from your competitor to your blog. This won't do you any benefit in the search engines and if people catch you doing this, they will see you as a thief and never come back to read your posts. You must never spin your content either, this is just the cheap mans way of churning out content on a massive scale, and it never works. The search engines are much smarter than you think, so invest some time into this and do it right.
You can see you competition as a sort of mentor, they are leading the way and doing everything they can in order to rank for specific keywords. Of course, you'll be trying to rank for those same keywords and you'll be doing everything even better than them in hopes of overthrowing their dominancy You may not want to spy on your competition, but the marketers making the big bucks are doing it becuase it's all legal. So figure out what your competitors are doing right and mimic them in a way that still allows you to have an identity. Do this and you will be successful in a much shorter time frame
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