When it comes to marketing, being aware of your competitors is one of the most important aspects to any analysis. With overlapping practice areas and many firms operating within major metropolitan areas, understanding how to put together a comprehensive competitive analysis can give law firms the upper hand when it comes to strategizing their overall marketing efforts and beating out the competition.
The Components of a Competitive Analysis
A competitive analysis refers to an assessment and study of a business’ competitors. The assessment identifies the strengths and weaknesses of competing operations so the subject firm can improve its own efforts. Typically, a competitive analysis reviews current marketing strategies and target markets, while identifying areas needing improvement. For newer firms, a competitive analysis provides insight into the demand for the services it provides in a particular geographic area. More established firms can utilize a competitive analysis to stay apprised of their competitors’ marketing efforts and online activity. Putting together a competitive analysis involves many different facets of research in order to gain a better and more comprehensive understanding of the online landscape. Some of the most importance aspects of a competitive analysis include:
Comprehensive online research will yield the bulk of the competitor information needed to complete the analysis. Rather than searching for a competitor’s name, however, it’s best to start searching for your law firm name. Google will generate a list of other similar law firms in your area. This list is typically displayed on the right hand side of search results and gives your firm a starting point for its initial digital analysis.
This isn’t the only way to be better informed on the other firms in the area, however, as searching for keywords specifically related to your practice areas can provide another list of local competitors. Third party search tools such as SEMRush can provide a clear view of competitor keyword information and organic rankings, among other relevant data points. Google Analytics is another great tool from which you can gather data.
List Your Competitors
Understand the competitors in your market by using your research to put together a comprehensive list. A direct competitor offers the same services in the same geographical area or online space. For example, grocery stores such as Kroger or HEB that may be down the street or around the corner from each other would be considered to be direct competitors.
Indirect competitors are those offering similar in the same market, meaning your firm and the competitor may appeal to the same audience. For example, if your firm offers intellectual property services for patent prosecution, while another offers the associated services but for litigation, they could be considered an indirect competitor. These firms are important as they are offering a different service to essentially the same niche market. Observing how indirect competitors market can give you insight into new approaches.
Once your firm has identified its top local competitors, create a spreadsheet or table that outlines the following:
- Firm name
- Summary of your knowledge of each competitor
- Target audience of each competitor
- Practice areas of each firm
- Marketing channels used, e.g. social media, website, organic search engine rankings, blog posts, client testimonials, and more.
- Competitor strengths, such as good practice area and services descriptions, valuable resources, and responsive social engagement.
- Competitor weaknesses, such as lack of responsive web design, lack of social media engagement with their audience, and more.
- Competitive advantage over your firm
Website and Social Media Comparison
In reviewing the websites of competing firms, focus on the information contained in their website content. In addition to substantive content, review any “firm news” to ascertain events in which a competitor participates, as well as and any interviews or other media coverage the firm has received.
Social media searches show how others are talking about both your firm and any competing firms, as well as how each competitor presents itself online. Taking the time to review their interactions on social media, the platforms they utilize, as well as the language they use within their posts, gives a better understanding of what tactics work and which to avoid.
Need More Help With Your Law Firm Marketing?
Having a better understanding of your law firm’s competitors can give you a leg up on your marketing efforts and how to improve them. At Stacey E. Burke, P.C., our team comprehensively analyzes law firm competitors rand develops and implements full-scale marketing plans for small to medium sized law firms across the country in a variety of practice areas. If your law firm would like to learn more about how we can help, contact us today for more information.