A thorough business discovery process can help you find gaps in your strategy and identify opportunities in your market. The information that you gather during discovery will lay the foundation for your PPC strategy. It’s important that you understand what questions to ask and why it’s important to ask them. Feel free to use our checklists.
10 FAQs to Ask About Your Business
10 FAQs to Ask About Your Customers
10 FAQs to Ask About Your Industry
We’re big fans of not reinventing the wheel.
If you sell a product or service, then there’s likely a competitor selling it better.
If you’re already the best at selling your product or service, then there’s likely a competitor looking to take your throne.
Using 3 just research tools — Google Ads, BuiltWith & SEMRush — we can identify who our competitors are, what PPC tactics they are using and what appears to be working for them.
1. Google Ads
Google Ads is free to sign up for an account. Once you access Google Ads, there are free planning and research tools available in the platform. One of these is the Ad Preview & Diagnosis Tool, which we use to help us identify our PPC competition.
BuiltWith website profiler offers 5 free daily lookups into your competitor’s tracking & website architecture. By identifying what tracking tags are being used, we can see how robust our competition’s marketing strategy is and reverse engineer their game plan.
SEMRush is a powerhouse of competitive insights. Spy on your competitor’s organic and paid SEM strategy, track your competitor’s social media engagement or analyze your competitor’s content strategy. 2-week free trial and then $99/month.
Use this to identify competitors in your space.
(If you’re doing this research on Google, DO NOT click on your competitor’s ads. Your competitor will get charged for this click. No need to play dirty)
What to pay attention to once you get to your competitor’s website:
What does your competitor offer its users in exchange for their information? Whitepaper, guide, infographics, email list, etc…
What does your competitor do better than everyone else? What do they say that they do really well? Are there similar USPs among different competitors.
What certifications, associations, badges or client logos does your competitor use to highlight trustworthiness? What is stopping you from obtaining the same certifications?
What does your competitor’s site structure look like? Footers often show you a competitor’s website outline, which can tell you plenty about their content and audience strategy.
What keywords is your competitor using in their headlines and descriptions? Look at the H1, H2 & meta-description tags for an idea of the SEO strategy your competitor is building their website around.
Use the free Google Pagespeed Insights Tool to measure your competitor’s website speed. A fast website, with high scores across core web vitals is a good indication of a strong SEO department.
What social media networks do your competitors maintain an active profile? Look for recent activity and engagement from followers.
Blogs, videos, podcasts, whitepapers, case studies, guides, tools, widget…pretty much every medium that your competitor uses to tell customers about talk about themselves.
What roles are your competitors hiring for? Are there openings in the marketing department? This says a lot about what your competitor might see as a priority for their business strategy or a gap in expertise.
What cities, states and countries does your competitor operate in? Who do they primarily serve?
What do others have to say about your competition? We recommend Google Alerts, where you can track internet mentions for a specific brand or topic.
How do your prices compare to the competition? Are there competitors that disrupt the traditional pricing model for your industry, for example a SaaS that automates a key tasks or service.
This is an example of the BuiltWith lookup from PPCSnobs.com. Hubspot is my CRM, Google Optimize is what I use for A/B testing, Hotjar for my site testing, and Google Ads for the obvious. You can even see that Facebook tracking was removed as of 2018 (I’m currently not active on Facebook).
You get 5 free lookups per day with a free account. If you service a small industry, then these 5 lookups might be enough. If there are dozens or hundreds of competitors in your market, then grab the yearly plan and get to looking. Is $8.33/month worth knowing what your competition is using?
Find out what paid and organic keywords your competitors are already targeting. Build your keyword strategy around these insights.
See who’s competing against your competitors. Use this to expand your research more comprehensive review of your competitive positioning.
See a breakdown of your competition’s ad strategy. See what ads they are running and where. Use this to identify audience, placement and content opportunities.
Get content recommendations based on what your competition is writing about. Use this to build your content strategy around conversations taking place in your industry.
“I love SEMRush. We actively use it for our search, social, display and content research. It’s the best $99/month a human can spend on an intelligence tool, but between us…the 2-week free trial is more than enough time for you to build a winning strategy.”
– Richard Castello, PPC Snobs Founder
A tracking and reporting system built around your business and industry needs. A keyword and placements strategy built around proxy signals. Ads designed to specifically engage your target audiences.