Good marketing starts with listening—listening to your consumers and listening to your competitors.
And as we've all learned from James Bond, listening is more effective when the other people don’t know you’re there.
Here are 6 tools you can use to spy on your competitors and gain some valuable insight.
1) Google Alerts
Google Alerts is a tried and true method of keeping track of competitors, and it has only gotten more robust over the years.
Still haven’t dabbled into using them?
That’s okay. This post will help get you started.
Topsy is a tool that can tell you which tweets, posts, videos, and links from your competitors are getting the most attention. You can see which topics are trending, and—something that I think is especially useful—you can identify influential users related to certain keywords.
3) Spy On Web
Ever wonder if your competitors are reaching certain niche markets that you don’t even know exist?
Now you don’t have to.
Plug in their URL to Spy on Web, and they’ll tool spit out a ton of info, including which websites they own and which niches they’re active in.
4) Hubspot Marketing Grader
Hubspot makes competitor research easy on marketers. All you need is a URL. They’ll review your competitor’s website and social activity, summarize the findings, give a letter grade, and then provide a few action steps for improvement. Useful stuff—even for your own website.
Similar to Hubspot, QuicksSprout gives you a laundry list of low hanging fruit. You can also compare your site to three other competitors and get a good idea of where you stand in your market.
6) Fanpage Karma
Use Fanpage Karma to compare two different Facebook pages in terms of fans, growth, engagement, and interaction. If you’re not sure how active your competitors are on social media, this tool can tell you. No need to guess.
These spy tools may not be top secret, but they’re highly effective. Give them a try.
What other tools do you use to listen to competitors?
Share a few suggestions in the comments.