By now you will be fully prepared for the coming year – almost. There’s one last task left to complete before you are ready to launch into 2015. Our final resolution is: take a look at the competition. It’s something you’re probably doing already, but it doesn’t hurt, since you’re going to all this trouble to be a brilliant marketer, to do a quick review.

Scope out websites

Websites are rarely static these days – many businesses tweak and improve their sites on a regular basis so it’s handy to take a look at how the competition is starting their year and compare it to how you’re starting yours. Are there any improvements you think you could make? Have a look at their copy, their imagery, their calls to action. Are they following best practices that you aren’t?

This is a good opportunity to decide whether some conversion rate optimisation is a worthwhile investment for the coming year (psst, the answer to that question is ‘yes’). Allocate some budget for this activity and get an agency on board to do some testing if you don’t have the resources or the skill set in house. CRO is a great way to improve your website bit by bit across the year and can be done as one-off exercises to test specific elements or on a monthly basis to continually improve conversions.

Visibility and page rank

Take some time to compare your online visibility vs your competitors’ as you kick start the year. If you’re lucky enough to have a tool to do this for you, take full advantage. If not, either do it manually for some of your most important keywords and phrases and make use of free tools such as the limited version of the Moz toolbar to determine where you stand in comparison to the competition in terms of page rank, domain authority and such. This will give you some idea of whether your website or pages need improvement.

This exercise will also tell you which terms you may need to focus on during 2015. Where do you rank against competitors and what factors may be affecting those rankings? If you’re in need of SEO investment, perhaps it’s time to speak to an agency that can carry out analysis and optimisation on your behalf.

The social side

Take a look at your competitors’ social pages to see what they’re saying and how they’re saying it. Take a look at these aspects as you’re planning your strategy so that you can market to niches that are being overlooked by them, or use their tactics to influence how you execute your strategy. This doesn’t mean copying exactly what they do – maybe doing the opposite will attract attention from less obvious consumers, or perhaps you’ll get ideas for collaborations you can initiate with other companies – joint offers or competitions that will benefit you both.

Go offline

Try to find out where your competitors market offline as well as online. Are they tapping into markets that you’re missing out on? How are they adapting their artwork or copy for offline channels? Being familiar with what they’re up to can help you with everything from consolidating your USPs to expanding your target market to revisiting your branding.

Read their reviews

Peer reviews are a major factor in many people’s decisions to make a purchase. Consumers want to know that the brand they’re committing to is one they can trust, and their reviews are readily available. Google, TripAdvisor, Feefo, Reevoo, Trust Pilot... all such websites will enable to you to take a look at what your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses are and how your products and services are comparing against them. If you don’t have your own reviews published online, now is the time to start – you’ll be surprised by what you can get for a reasonably modest price.

 That’s it – you have all your marketing resolutions under control and you know exactly what you want to achieve in 2015. Go forth and market! We wish you a happy and prosperous year.

For further advice contact Whitefish Marketing 

To find out more about what you should and shouldn’t be looking to achieve with local SEO, you can contact Whitefish Marketing today. Simply submit an online enquiry form and we’ll be in touch to discuss your options, or call our Folkestone SEO office on 01303 720 288.


About Michael Johnson

Michael is the Managing Director for a professional copywriting agency – Minerva Copywriting. In his free time he also enjoys Skittles and Batman!