Who are your online competitors? find out now and Out perform them

The ultimate goal of a competitive analysis is not to follow what your competitors are doing, but rather to discover opportunities that competitors haven’t yet found. Follow the steps below to find opportunities to outperform your competition using free analysis tools.

1. Define the nature and scope of your industry niche.

Any marketing department worth its salt has this information on file. However, these values can easily be lost if they’re not kept in the front of marketers’ minds. For example, examine that pet keyword ranking that a key executive insists on maintaining at position one. Is it really true to your purpose, or would another keyword generate more conversion-ready traffic? Creating an honest definition of your specific industry niche will provide the necessary information to determine what keywords you should really be chasing.

2. Determine who your real competitors are.

Forget traditional competitors or even the shop across the street. Your only competitors online are those who are digitally relevant to keywords and concepts within the nature and scope of your industry niche. If the business you’ve been competing with for the last 40 years isn’t showing up in search, then they are not a competitor in the world of digital marketing.

So who are your digital competitors? Measure organic search visibility by searching phrases that fall in the categories that define your industry niche. What organizations consistently rank in the top 5-10 positions for these terms? These organizations are your true online competitors. The free and easy-to-use tool by Compete.com provides a good estimation of your top 5 online competitors. Spyfu also gives estimations of PPC spend for any given domain. The idea of an efficient market would suggest that a high spend for a keyword would generate a high return, so pay attention to high spend keywords. However, these organizations may not be the most efficient PPC spenders, so don’t put too much weight on this information. Compare Spyfu information for your organization with your actual PPC spend to get a sense of the tool’s accuracy in your market.

The best way to define competitors is through the hard work of analyzing digital relevance through observing which organizations dominate organic search visibility for topics that define your industry niche. A solid investment in this step is crucial to the structure and success of your digital marketing strategy.

3. Define your customers and their expectations.

Start with your customer personae and determine if this matches your target audience. Are your competitors attracting this target demographic? Use the free tool Quantcast to generate an audience demographic analysis. This tool is great for estimating not only the demographics of the audience that visits any given domain, but also the estimated traffic to the domain on a monthly basis. 

Next, analyze the content on competitor websites that are successfully attracting your target demographic. Does this content serve the needs of your target demographic?

4. Clear out internal “competitors”

Internal competitors may include an uncooperative development team, a restrictive compliance department or departmental KPIs that aren’t in line with real inbound marketing goals. These types of “competitors” tend to generate much heavier downward pressure on your success than any other outside organization could achieve. Consider these competitors to be as real as external competition when developing your strategy.

Combine the findings from each of the three steps to generate deep insights on opportunities within your industry. For example, combine a competitor’s Quantcast demographics (Step 3) with their keyword portfolio (Step 1) to determine keyword value and to get a sense for conversions through demographical data. You may find that the top rankings your competitor holds may not be generating the right audience, which would be important information to consider before deciding to target the same keyword categories. 

You also may consider taking Step 3 further by analyzing the content on your competitor’s websites. Look for opportunities to offer resources that your competitors don’t have in their content arsenal. Then use these ideas to generate value-add content that attracts visitors to your website. Finally, ensure that you are first to market by promoting your value-add content on social media platforms and industry websites.

Use these steps to generate a strong competitor analysis, but don’t get caught up in worrying about your competitor’s keywords, where they are getting links, or chasing their rankings. Focus on finding the areas of opportunity that fall in line with what your organization does best. Then crush your competition on these fronts!

These are clearly suggestions for SEO experts more useful methods may abound

What makes happy people?: 10key trends of what makes people happy

While I stumble upon so many reasons why people are happy, this particular one made a profound difference so thought it wise to share!!

What’s happiness?  Does it really exist?  Can happiness last?  How does one become happy?  How many people do you know that are really happy?  What are the habits of happy people and the principles that might be at the root of their happiness? We asked ATCA 5000 distinguished members over the last several months and here are some of the results that we distilled from those one-to-one conversations around the world.

1. Happy people say YES more than they say NO

Happy people always seem to be doing something new and interesting. When invitations come their way, happy people have cultivated the habit of saying yes.  The more they say yes, the more opportunities are presented to them.  

2. Happy people LAUGH, JOKE and have a SENSE OF HUMOUR

Happiness can come in the form of a quiet smile yet it is bound to burst out into a laugh occasionally. Happy people appear to appreciate the lighter side of life. They don’t take themselves or anything else too seriously. They laugh often and wholeheartedly. They joke, laugh about every little thing and make themselves the butt of their jokes more often than anybody else.  Happy people are easily amused.

3. Happy people say THANK YOU! They Live with a Feeling of GRATITUDE

Happy people have the habit of saying thank you: a regular gratitude practice that helps them to make note of their blessings and what others have done for them.  Other happy people are just constantly saying thank you for small gifts, favours, well wishes or compliments. They may give thanks before every meal or send you texts after every lunch or dinner engagement.  When they focus on actually feeling true gratitude, they are already open and fluid in regard to receiving and welcoming absolutely new perspectives.  Instead of slipping into negative thinking about what they don’t have, happy people appear to stay positive in regard to what they do have.  They constantly recognise the blessings and gifts in their lives.  Another good reason for people to be grateful and focus on their blessings is that all it takes is three negative thoughts in a row before that triggers a “fight-or-flight” chemical response in most human beings.

4. Happy people SPEAK WELL of OTHERS more often than not

It is not a coincidence that happy people also tend to be remarkably polite, considerate, punctual and non-judgemental.  Does being nice feel better than being nasty?  Indulging in negative gossip with a friend or work colleague may be fun for a little while, but in the end the result can be a residue of resentment and guilt. All the remarkably happy people ATCA 5000 distinguished members have cited appear constantly to say positive things about other people behind their back. They also want to make their colleagues a part of their lives and want them to meet their friends and loved ones including their families.

5. Happy people LISTEN

The favourite people of ATCA 5000 distinguished members appear to be very good listeners. They don’t rush to offer judgment or help and they might not even tell their colleagues that they know exactly how they feel – especially if they don’t! They just listen, openly without any assumptions. This gift-of-listening that they give to their friends and work colleagues also seems to contribute to their own happiness.  It would appear that the best thing we can all do to enrich our own life and our relationships is to listen more closely and to be attentive more often.  Taking the time to listen helps us also to learn and to evolve our own understanding of this world and the people around us. It keeps our mind open to wisdom and to new perspectives at all times. When we focus on deep listening, we automatically take our own ego out of the equation and are less likely to be hurt or offended by what we hear.

6. Happy people BELIEVE IN SOMETHING and they LET GO OF CONTROL

ATCA 5000 distinguished members — now from more than 150 countries around the world — come from various religious denominations and belief systems, including some who are agnostics or atheists. It doesn’t seem to matter exactly what happy people believe in as much as they believe in something, someone or a vision which is greater than themselves. That might be God, or a Universe, or Nature, or Quantum Physics, or Science or an invisible link between all of humanity. Maybe having faith in a higher power helps people to let go of their own illusions or delusions of control, or maybe it just makes them feel more connected to their fellow man and other beings.  For many, faith in God and belief in a Universe that connects all of us gives them the courage of their convictions along with comfort and peace.  

7. Happy people ACCEPT IMPERFECTIONS and are willing to FORGIVE and MOVE ON

The more that ATCA 5000 distinguished members thought about the happy people they know, the more they realised that no one was flawless in their day-to-day execution of life. They didn’t all get up early or exercise every day. Some of the happy people they knew were organised and some of them embraced the art of living with total chaos!  Even if they are constantly working on improving something, happy people acknowledge and accept that perfection is not the goal. They accept their own quirks and the weaknesses of others, and they are therefore willing to forgive and sometimes remember without bitterness.  

8. Happy people are of SERVICE to OTHERS and have POSITIVE EXPECTATIONS

Many happy people realise that true happiness comes from making someone happy and that makes them happy too.  It just feels good to make others feel good!  Like the golden rule says, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” If we can truly express empathy and help give people what they desire, it opens up the door to receiving as well.  If people don’t have very high expectations they can’t be disappointed, and negative expectations can end up becoming self-fulfilling prophecies.  Happy people are full of hope.  

9. Happy people are detached from the APPROVAL of OTHERS

Living life seeking popularity and favour can sometimes lead to suffering.  Happy people know how to follow their own hearts without worrying too much about what other people might think of them.  They recognise that they can’t please everyone, and trying to do so makes most happy people doubt their abilities and compromises their self-confidence, likeability and authenticity.

10. Happy people actively focus on HEALTH, EXERCISE and WORK-LIFE BALANCE

Eating healthily provides our bodies with the proper amino acids and nutrients to be happy, and exercise releases endorphins which give us a happy feeling.  Most happy people eat healthy food and build meditation or contesmplation as well as exercise regimes into their daily or weekly schedule.  

[STOPS]

What are your thoughts, observations and views? Please join the Socratic dialogue on ATCA 5000 at https://www.yammer.com/atca. We look forward to hearing from you! The ATCA Research & Analysis Wing and the mi2g Intelligence Unit can furnish further details upon request at the ATCA roundtable.

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