Anyone who has worked on a PPC lead generation account knows that these accounts are an inherently different kind of beast than e-commerce. These accounts have different fluctuations, challenges and goals than other accounts and therefore have to be managed differently. Many times, it can be hard to look at PPC blog posts about account management and be able to directly apply those management techniques to lead generation clients. Competitor analysis for lead generation clients is no exception since there are no products sold, no direct prices to compare and no storefront. Because of these differences, here are some suggestions to get more from your competitor analysis.
Side note: If you haven’t conducted a competitor analysis for a client yet, you’ll want to know who, precisely, your competitors are. I would recommend checking out the AdWords’ auction insights report or trying out some PPC competitor analysis tools.
Know How the Product/Service Stacks Up
Knowing who your competitors are is only one piece of the puzzle. It’s important to dig a little deeper: how does your service or product stack up to the competitors? Especially in industries like SaaS, you have to make sure you know the differences in what your client offers versus what the competitors offer. Depending on how specific your campaigns get into the intricacies of the products/services can impact how ads and landing pages are written for your client. It’s also useful to have any blog posts, internal documents or marketing collateral that outline differences between what your client offers and what competitors offer. This can be a quick and useful way to know exactly what your client offers in comparison to competitors. This might sound like an obvious point for any competitor analysis, but it’s not all about looking outward for competitor analysis – there’s some self-reflection required, too.
Understand the Conversion Journey
There are a lot of different conversion types for lead generation clients: phone calls, gated whitepapers/guides, free trials, ‘contact us’ forms, etc. Just as there are pros and cons to each of these conversion types, there’s also a different “journey” that these conversion types travel down. For example, many lead gen clients would say that phone calls are some of the most high quality leads that they get because the person took the initiative to call about what they’re interested in. However, a gated whitepaper will have a different process in which the company follows up with that possible customer. Ask your client what the typical turnaround time is on each conversion type. Additionally, you should find out if they have a customer relationship management system that they would be willing to share data from, and if there’s call recording see if you could listen to some customer calls. Learning more about how the business handles conversions will help you to better your efforts.
Don’t Forget About Social & Other Channels
There can be a lot of focus on AdWords and old-fashioned PPC when it comes to competitor analysis. However, if you’re running social, video or display campaigns, don’t forget about those.
Since you dedicate time, effort and client budget to these campaigns too you should look into competitors here as well. There are free tools that allow you to compare engagement, post success, post history and more for your social accounts. There are a lot of online tools that allow you to identify what your competitors are doing and what you can do better. I like this list of competitor analysis tools – the list breaks the tools down by type and includes the pricing, as well as a description of the tool.
Do you have any suggestions for improving lead gen competitor analysis? We’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments!