Benchmarking is a strategy that any webmaster or business can use to better ensure their success when it comes to internet marketing. In this post, we explore why that is and how to make the most of it.
In marketing, benchmarking means comparing yourself to other firms, brands and companies in order to find areas where you are succeeding and areas where you need to improve. The most obvious example of this comes when pricing goods.
As a company, how do you decide how much to charge for an item? One option is to use keystone pricing. This means simply that you charge twice the price it cost you to acquire. If you are a reseller, then that means you will charge twice the amount that you were charged by the wholesaler/manufacturer. On the other hand, if you are the manufacturer, then it might mean that you pay twice the amount that it actually cost you to create.
While this will ensure that you make the necessary profit and while it is a generally accepting industry norm, it at the same time creates issues because it is not related to any other market factors. While keystone pricing might be a ‘fair’ option and might work well for your business, it is ultimately meaningless if the competition is selling the precise same product at a fraction of the cost.
Pricing is just one example however and companies may also use benchmarking to look at the quality of a competitors’ website, to look at the way they got to where they are, etc.
In internet marketing, there are a number of different ways that you can use benchmarking in order to better understand what your competition is doing, what the market is like and what you need to do in order to succeed.
Firstly, bechmarking can be used to ascertain the quality of the website you need to build. How much money would it cost you to build something that is as well-built as the best site in your niche/industry? Ultimately, if you can’t compete with the best in your niche, then there’s really very little point in creating your site at all. Why would someone visit your site if they could visit someone else’s and get the same information, better presented?
This is something that an awful lot of ‘marketing gurus’ and ‘digital marketers’ will forget: they are too interested in get-rich-quick schemes and as such, they don’t think about what they actually need to build in order to offer something worthwhile to their visitors. If you churn out a quick site and fill it with spammy content, why would anyone bother to read what you have to say? Or to come back again?
Other things you can learn from the competition include:
Find more statistics at Statista
Take a look around at the top five sites in your niche and look at the design they use. If they are currently successful then you know right away that this is a look that works so there’s nothing wrong with emulating that to a big degree. At the same time though you should also look at features that the sites have in common – perhaps the color scheme etc. These are important because they tell you what your audience and your market are going to expect from a site in your niche. Make sure that you deliver and that your design fits with their expectation – while at the same time being sure to differentiate yourself (this is another reason to at least check out the competition – so that you know if you’re accidentally being a copycat).
You should also use your competition to find out how to market yourself and where you can build links. Look for inbound links to the sites you want to look like, and then consider offering guest posts to get links on those same sites too. If the site is guest blogging, then you should consider approaching the same blogs and asking if they will post your articles in exchange for a link too. This way you can quickly get the same amount of inbound links as your opposition without having to do all the leg work to find them. Use a backlinks tool to find the links of your favorite sites.
If you are struggling to come up with ideas for your articles, then looking at the competition can help you a great deal. They are sure to have some articles on their sites which are popular and which you can emulate, so use this as some inspiration.
As well as looking at what your competition does do, look at what they don’t do. Who don’t they cater for? And who will be left unsatisfied? Perhaps all the money making sites you’ve come across are too advanced and you’d like to write one that will be aimed more at beginners. Or maybe all the finance websites are written in dry jargon and you think you could write one a little more colloquial and entertaining.