If you find your brand has fallen into something of a rut when it comes to email marketing efforts, it can seem impossible to get to the bottom of the problem and come up with new ideas to keep your audience interested. One time-honored tradition in business can give you new inspiration and also help you see where your problems are: check out the competition. Site Impact is always about having as much data at your disposal as possible, and when it comes to marketing, knowing what everyone else in your niche is doing can really provide an edge. It isn’t in any way illegal or unethical, and you can learn a great deal by doing it the right way.
The first step, obviously, is to figure out who your competition is, and get their marketing materials. To some degree finding out who you’re competing with is going to be easy; you should already have some idea of who else exists in your industry broadly, and which brands exist in your specific niche (whether that’s discount mobile service, free range chicken, sports and athletics gear, or high end kitchen supplies, etc). But if you’re not 100% sure, a little bit of research on what keywords you associate with your own brand can give you answers. Find the brands, and subscribe to their email lists!
From there, of course, you’re going to need to invest a little more effort than just watching what the brands send out; you want to turn this into a study, not just satisfy your most basic curiosity. So here are some specific things to make notes on:
○ What kind of welcome sequence does your competitor use? How does it compare with your brand’s?
○ What triggers automated emails, and should you be using the same triggers?
● Subject lines
○ Which subject line features (keywords, etc) come up the most often? This suggests that they work better than others.
○ Are there subject line features that you can/should put to use in your own campaigns?
○ Create a spreadsheet, if needed, to compare subject lines over time and to analyze frequency of features.
● Body copy
○ How many words are in your competitors’ body copy on average? How does that stack up with your emails?
○ What patterns do your competitors follow in their body copy?
○ The goal is not to duplicate what your competitors are doing--but see where you can pick out strategies for content and where that might be applicable in your own efforts.
● Typical offers
○ Offers that come up frequently indicate those that get the best response; so compile a list or spreadsheet of the offers you receive from your competitors.
○ Look at your competitors’ offers versus the ones your brand relies on, and test whether some of their offers (for example, $10 off a $50 purchase) will get a good response from your audience, too.
○ How often does the competition reach out? Is it more often or less often than you?
○ Keep note of day of week and time of day, as well; this can give you insights on how you might want to tweak your efforts accordingly.
By watching these factors, you can get insights into the parts of your own email campaigns that either need improvements or could be setting you apart from the competition in a positive way. When it comes to email marketing, a little bit of information on the field can give you a lot of insight on how to get out of a rut and how to get new responses and reactions to your campaigns moving forward. Contact Site Impact for more insights on how to refresh your email campaigns and get them running better than ever before.