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5 Steps to Online Marketing Success

Using competitive intelligence strategies and tools will be the key to launching successful email marketing campaigns in 2010, according to a new white paper from Compete. In the white paper “Five Simple Steps to Online Marketing Success,” Compete recommends that marketers take the five following steps to integrate competitive marketing into their online campaigns:

1. Know the Competition: First, Compete advises email marketers to create a list of competitors in their space and identify the specific reasons each poses a competitive threat. After identifying their competitive set, marketers are advised to dig into metrics (i.e. unique visitors, page views, time on site, average stay, and pages per visit) and figure out their standing in the ones that matter most. All of these will give marketers a sense of real norms for their competitive landscape, thus allowing them to make logical business decisions and maximize ROI.

2. Cover Search Marketing Bases: Increase search traffic and campaign performance through analysis of competitors’ search marketing trends and keywords. In addition, using local web analytics tools, marketers can see what keywords are sending traffic to their sites, how much of that traffic is paid as compared to natural, and what percentage of traffic the individual search engines contribute to a site overall. Through optimization and testing of paid search campaigns, SEO keyword research, and content creation, marketers can maximize conversions and increase search ROI. However, optimization and testing are not guaranteed to provide beneficial results. Competitive search analytics tools let marketers quickly gain insights into your competitors’ search strategy so you can capitalize on their success.

3. Copying is a Sign of Flattery: Identify what websites are sending competitors’ traffic and get in on the action. Competition for web traffic will continue to grow as more everyday activities move online. Just like there are a few keywords that drive most of the traffic to a site (the head) and thousands of other keywords that drive a little (the long tail), traffic to websites works much in the same way. There are millions of websites out there, however only a small percentage account for the bulk of traffic. By analyzing referral (upstream) and destination (downstream) traffic for their competitive sets, marketers can easily identify new affiliate websites, business relationships, and link-building opportunities.

4. Fix Your Leaky Bucket: Local web analytics tools will let marketers identify which websites are sending traffic to their sites. Based on page views, bounce rates, and conversion rates, they can easily identify which websites deliver the most benefit. Thinking of a website as a bucket, using various marketing tactics, marketers can scoop up site visitors that may be interested in their products or services. Then by creating conversion funnels, they can attempt to lead users to perform a specific action. Using destination or downstream traffic tools, marketers can easily see where their users go when they leave the site. Are they going directly to a competitor, a search engine, or back to their favorite social network? Maybe they are searching for coupons on their favorite deal sites or conducting research before they decide to purchase your products or services. By regularly performing a destination traffic report on their websites, marketers can easily find opportunities to quickly ‘patch the holes’ in their ‘leaky buckets.’

5. Stay on Top: Marketers should monitor, set benchmarks, and realize how their site enhancements and marketing strategies impact their competitors. In order to stay on track and continue to grow their business, marketers need an online marketing strategy that can adjust to ever-changing economic, technological, and social environments. Incorporating competitive intelligence into that marketing strategy can give them the critical information they need to minimize risk and ensure success. Marketers should monitor their competitive set and use competitive intelligence tools on a regular basis. They will find much of the information they collect to be critical in making decisions about their overall marketing strategies. Then, they should set benchmarks and monitor changes across their entire competitive sets.

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