You know the saying. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. While we would never presume any bad blood, the fact remains that understanding the competition that your practice is up against is a critical element of successful for it’s digital marketing and strategy. Knowledge of competitors’ strengths and weaknesses reveals where your company can carve out a niche and thrive.
Let’s look at some ways in which you can keep pace with your competition:
Visit the websites
This is more than just a cursory glance at color palette and photo choices. Go deeper and take a look at the strategy behind the websites of your competition. Note the overall layout of each website and what they are making prominent. What is each practice highlighting? A weekly blog? A popular procedure? A monthly live Q&A with the doctor? It can one or multiple things that a practice puts the focus on but that is a strong indication as to where the strengths lie.
One sneaky tool is a platform called SimilarWeb, which reports basic information on your competitors’ websites. This information includes traffic per month, average visit duration, bounce rate and pages per visit. Using a tool like this is a great way to see how you stack up against practices that are comparable to yours (specialty, demographics, location…) and understand what kind of goals you should be reaching for.
Visit the social profiles
Similar to the websites, the social media profiles of your competitors should give you an indication of what strategies are working for them. The type of posts that they put out shows what content is bringing in the most “wins” for them: whether that be new patients, online engagement or video views. Look through your competitors’ posts and take note of which garner the most likes, comments and shares. Find the trends among the most successful posts and use that to inform your own social media strategies.
Keep tabs on the audience
Audience reactions to social media posts are just as important as the kind of content being posted. Your goal is to produce content that is not only informative and authoritative but also entertaining and engaging. Facebook Insights on your business page will also offer some great insights. In the “People” tab, you will be able to see a basic breakdown of the age, gender and location of your followers. This data will help inform your content decisions and give you some direction for what is appropriate and not appropriate for your audience. In the “Posts” tab, you can see what kind of reach and engagement you got on your recent posts, the best posting times for each day and what types of content do best with your audience.
Sign up for the mailing list
If you are looking to improve your email newsletter (or get one off the ground), the best place to start is to subscribe to the newsletters of your competitors. There’s a list of items you will want to pay attention to:
- Posting frequency
- Content and season correlations
Once you have a solid amount of data collected, think about how this will translate to your own practice. Will patients read/want a newsletter from their doctor? Do you have someone in-house or will you need to hire someone to do the writing? Do you have the time to post quality newsletters on a regular basis? A newsletter is always a great way to stay involved in patients lives and promote your practice. Just make sure that you are able to dive in head first with the best quality that you can.
Analyzing your competition is a necessary part of creating and maintaining a digital marketing strategy. While it may feel sneaky, following what your competitors do and how they do it is simply learning lessons from others’ successes and putting your practice on the path to digital strategy improvement. I you need help with your competitor analysis and digital marketing strategy, contact us here!