A competitive analysis is a process of identifying the brand’s main competitors and evaluating their strategies. In short, it provides you with the opportunity to improve your marketing decisions. For example, it gives you insights into resources your company could use to dominate the market.
Knowing what’s working for your competitors and what isn’t, will help you plan your brand’s social media presence. Once you’ve found areas that you can exploit, shape them to suit your brand and your audience. Here are 8 steps to conducting a competitive analysis for your law firm:
1. Identify your competitors
The first step is identifying your key direct competitors. A direct competitor is a business offering the same service to the audience you are targeting. Hence, knowing their positioning will help you determine your market position. Start with analyzing two types of competitors: Direct and Indirect.
Direct competition is providing similar services to the same market at a similar price point. Here’s how to identify direct competition:
- Analyze search engine results (SERPs) for similar product queries
- Look at market share statistics using Statista or a similar source
- Explore who’s sourcing products from the same suppliers/ wholesalers as you plan to use
- Finally, note brands your target buyers use or mention the most during interviews
Indirect competition is offering services that differ in some way but could satisfy the customer demand. However, it is related to more established brands, evaluating new product ideas or markets.
2. Perform a competitor SWOT analysis
SWOT is one of the tools for performing competitive analysis for firms. By using the SWOT framework, you can identify your competitor’s weak areas and missed opportunities. Also, SWOT helps you estimate other brands’ strengths and potential operational risks. Analyze their business from the perspective of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.
Your analysis should cover the following areas:
- Brand positioning
- E-commerce website
- Customer experience
- Sales strategy
- Pricing strategy
- Marketing strategy
- Content strategy
- Discounts/Promo strategy
Next, contrast the competitors’ weaknesses against your strengths. Furthermore, pay attention to the opportunities they are missing. This will help you better measure the overall market conditions and prepare you for improvement.
3. Examine your competitors’ online presence
According to the research, 59% of US consumers will abandon a brand after several bad experiences. Therefore, treat competitor research as an opportunity to close the possible gaps.
Use this 5-step UX research framework developed by Erin Sanders from the Research Learning Spiral:
- Set the objectives. Analyze the competitor’s navigation, service catalog, service listing, on-site marketing tools etc.
- Create research hypotheses. Use the SWOT competitor analysis to create assumptions about their customers. For example: Does competitor’s content help buyers decide on the service?
- Select your research methods. Use quantitative and qualitative methods for evaluating their UX/CX. Quantitative methods include benchmarks, user testing data, performance metrics, etc. Qualitative methods include surveys, focus group interviews, customer reviews, etc.
- Conduct the evaluation. Get as much data as you can during the set research timeframe.
- Finally, use the obtained information to fill in the knowledge gaps. Evaluate alternative design opportunities and improve accordingly.
4. Determine their market positioning
Competitive positioning is your core “differentiator” from others. Hence, discover your competitor’s unique value proposition. In short, find the factor that attracts new customers to them.
To map which position competitive brands hold on the market, do the following:
- Identify the primary group of customer needs that you plan to address.
- Choose a geographic region you want to study.
- Decide if you want to track the entire market for a product or a specific segment.
- Select a price range you want to analyze.
- Identify what primary benefit the customer receives at the different price points.
- Furthermore, organize competitors by product price and its level of primary benefit.
5. Look at their pricing and current offers
Perceptual mapping helps identify how different competitors price their services. It also gives you insight into where you could fit in. Also, it allows you to see how many people are willing to pay for different types of services. As you analyze the competitors’ prices, pay attention to the greater value they are providing.
6. Learn about the technology they are using
When doing competitive analysis for law firm, pay attention to the following:
- What type of e-commerce solution does the company use? Open source, SaaS or headless commerce?
- Do they rely on any custom extensions/ plugins?
- What types of supporting systems do they use? E.g., payment processors, email marketing service providers, 3PL integrations, etc.?
- Are they using any innovative technologies to deliver a proactive shopping experience? For instance- AI, chatbots, AR or VR.
- Finally, is there any way you can offer a better experience by choosing another technology method?
7. Review social media performance
Social networks are a valuable source of customer data. For instance, you can leverage them for service development and brand positioning. Here’s how to conduct a competitive analysis for your law firm using social media:
- For a start, browse mentions and hashtags. Use gathered data to evaluate overall conversations.
- Read the latest reviews to identify weaknesses you could improve upon.
- Check their content calendar. What types of visuals do they use?
- Estimate their engagement levels per post.
- Finally, discover if they partnering with influencers. Furthermore, who are they working with and why?
Social media listening brings deeper digital consumer insights in real-time. With the right tool, you’ll understand how consumers feel about your competitors’ services. In addition, you’ll identify emerging trends and discover new brands.
Once you’ve established the competition, start collecting and analyzing data about them.
8. Stay aware of your competitors
Keep your competitor research structured and easy to re-visit in the future. Thus, use the following competitive analysis frameworks:
- Porter’s five forces model
- Resource-Based View (RBV) framework
- SWOT template
- Perceptual mapping template
Also, stay up-to-date by monitoring their:
- Social media. Add them to your social media analytics tool to gather valuable insights.
- Search engine results (SERPs). Analyze your competitor’s keyword ranking with tools such as Ahrefs and Semrush.
- Online coverage. Set Google alerts for their brand to check when they get mentioned online.
- Traffic volume and sources. Try SimilarWeb which provides free website traffic analytics.
In summary, competitor analysis allows you to effectively enter a growing competitive market. It helps you learn about others but also identifies areas where your brand can improve. Hence, include competitive analysis in your market analysis and overall marketing plan. This will demonstrate that you’re aware of the competition and familiar with the marketplace. Moreover, that you have plans to compete at the same level as established brands.
Finally, consider scheduling a competitive analysis for your law firm on a regular basis. That way you can clearly understand your competition and evaluate your own market position. In addition, you can exploit their weaknesses to your competitive advantage. Ultimately, you will be able to improve your own marketing efforts.