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    May 17, 2012 // 4:30 PM

    How to Stalk Your Competitors in 10 Minutes [Marketing Hack]

    Written by Amanda Iglesias | @

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    You're a rockstar inbound marketer. You spend your time figuring out how to increase your web traffic, generate more leads, and analyze your marketing analytics so you can keep your competitive edge on the web. Come on, what's more rockstar than that?

    There's just one thing getting in between you and inbound marketing dominance -- your competitors. And what you don't know about your competitors may actually be doing more harm to all your hard work than you realize. But what's a marketer to do?

    Luckily, in the immortal words of Apple, there's an app for that! It's called the Marketing Grader app, and with it, you only need about ten minutes every week to stay up to date on your competitors. This ensures you're doing the work you need to maintain your stellar online presence and slowly overtake that your competitors. Learn how you can monitor your competitors in just 10 minutes a week with this free marketing web app -- let's get started now by setting it up!

    Set Up the App

    Go to marketing.grader.com and run a free Marketing Grader report -- it'll be done in a flash!


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    Once you're in the report, click on the Sign In link on the top, right-hand corner of the application.

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    If you don't already have a HubSpot account, Register for a free Marketing Grader Account. If you already have a HubSpot account, sign in!

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    Enter your competitors' websites so the tool can start tracking them. For the sake of this example, we'll pretend we're Dunkin' Donuts, and we want to track Starbucks.

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    Voila! You've just set up competitive tracking in the free Marketing Grader app! Now, let's learn what to do with the information.

    Weekly Check-in (5 Minutes)

    Now that you've set up your Marketing Grader app, set aside 5 minutes each week to log in at marketing.grader.com to see how you are faring against your competitors. When you first log in, you will see the Grade History tab. The Grade History tab lets you see how the Marketing Grade for your website and your competitor's website has changed over time. To get really specific feedback, click on the By Metric button, as indicated by the blue arrow in the screenshot below.

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    When you click on the By Metric button, you'll be able to explore the following metrics Marketing Grader is tracking to get specific ideas for ways to improve:

    • Indexed Pages - We all know that Indexed Pages can increase your website visitors by up to 55%, so it's no surprise that this is a big metric to keep an eye on for your competitors. You don't want them stealing your traffic, do you?

    • Linking Domains - Inbound links are the best way to increase your web authority, but the key is breadth of links rather than depth of links. Make sure your inbound links are evenly distributed across a number of domains to get the most impact!

    • Facebook Fans & Twitter Followers - Sure, social media is a great way to build a community to evangelize your products and service. But the bigger your social media following, the more eyes on your oh-so-valuable content -- that's what we like to call "reach," and it's critical for getting traffic and leads.

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    All of this nitty gritty analysis is great, but the Marketing Grader report you know and love is still available to you, too. If you want to see that analysis broken down into the three sections that matter to you most -- Top of the Funnel, Middle of the Funnel, and Analytics -- you can always head back to the Reports tab. In case you forgot, the top of the funnel addresses how you bring in traffic, the middle of the funnel addresses how you convert that traffic into qualified leads, and analytics addresses which marketing activities work, and which do not.

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    Develop an Action Plan (5 Minutes)

    So you've set up your Marketing Grader app, you've seen the competitive data -- now what? Now, it's time to craft your plan of attack! Start by asking yourself 2 questions:

    1) Where did you underperform against your competitors?

    2) What actions can you take to improve your performance in these areas?

    Let's use Dunkin' Donuts as an example. Here in New England, there's a pretty big loyalty divide between Dunkin' Donuts and Starbucks -- except on the web. Dunkin' Donuts has a lower overall Marketing Grade and is lagging behind Starbucks when it comes to indexed pages, linking domains, and Facebook fans.

    So what would you do if you were Marketing Director of Dunkin' Donuts?

    That's right! You would need to beef up your content strategy; I'd get started with more frequent blogging as the most efficient way to solve your problem with indexed pages and linking domains. Think about it -- every new blog post you publish is a brand new page for your website, a brand new opportunity to generate inbound links, and a brand new piece of content that you can feed to your social media followers. Talk about a powerful marketing opportunity! And you'll not only be able to identify this opportunity with the free Marketing Grader app, but track the impact of your efforts in just a few minutes every week.

    See? You can handle this! Take your competitors by storm with this new weapon in your arsenal! Now, let's get started...

    Have you started tracking your competitors' online performance yet?

    Image credit: Gamma Man

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    Topics: Inbound Marketing

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