Welcome to Episode 7 of Etsy Jam!
Today we’re going to talk about Competitive Analysis and how you can use this to get a leg up on your competition.
Why it’s important to do competitive analysis?
Competitive analysis is not meant to copy your competitors but is meant to know where you stand in the market and it’s a really good practice. It helps you understand where you fit in the marketplace. We’re talking about key differentiators like “how are they relating to the market, to the audience, to the potential customer”, and “how can YOU have a different message”. If you’re not paying attention to the market then you don’t really know what you are saying that’s different.
Why most people don’t do competitive analysis?
One of the things I’ve heard repeatedly on other channels like Ijeoma’s podcast for example. She has guest sellers on all the time and one of the things a lot of them say is that sometimes they’re afraid to do competitive analysis. They’re afraid that it will spoil their creative process. They are afraid they might see something that a competitor is doing and feel like they can’t do that now because they saw a competitor doing it. They also have this fear of looking through the search results because they might see something and then not be able to do it or feel guilty if they do that. Some people are going to be in this boat and some people aren’t going to be. Some people might be a little bit more business minded and say like “I’m sure they’re looking at my stuff so why shouldn’t I be looking at their stuff?” In the end it’s all just personal preference.
How to perform Competitive Analysis with Marmalead
In Marmalead, you can do a search and what you’ll first see is a set of filters, Marma-meters, and right below that there’s a summary across that keyword and what the whole landscape for that market looks like. You can go ahead and look at all those numbers and understand how pricing breakdown, views, favorites, and things like that without actually seeing anything.
If you’re the type that don’t want to see other people’s listings, you can quickly scroll all the way to the bottom, and then start scrolling back up slowly. Then you can access all of the rest of the information that we’re showing on the screen in Marmalead like the Tag Cloud, Matching Items, and information about the tags used like views, favorites, and ranking. Keep going up and you’ll see the Pricing graph so you can see how different things are priced in that space and that’s a really good way of understanding where your competitors are at, price wise.
There’s another little thing too inside Marmalead that you can use for Competitive Analysis and that is if you are an Entrepreneur, you can change your shop name inside Marmalead and filter by your shop. A lot of people do this when they want to see where their ranking, how they’re performing, how their listings are doing, and that’s all great. If you wanna do a little bit of research about your competitor’s shop, you can put their shop name in there as well and filter by their shop in the results and see exactly what they are doing, see what tags they are using, and see where their pricing is because we’re showing only that shop’s information at that point. That’s another great way you can use Marmalead to do a little bit of competitive analysis.
Jen Carey’s tips on how she became competitive:
You may remember Jen from our previous Etsy Jam episode. When she first got started, she kept binders full of listing information. She would go to Etsy and just do searches and look at what her competitors are doing, what the market is doing at the time; and she studies these things. She would go through those and read all the descriptions. Seeing what kinds of information people are including in their descriptions. But not only that, she would print it out as she was learning the best way of doing these things just to see what other people are doing and seeing what’s working.
Target the listings that are grouped towards the top of search because those are the shops that are most engaged and they care about how they are presented on Etsy. By looking at those she was able to do a bunch of research ahead of time and gave herself a leg up before she even started listing anything on her own in Etsy.
Rachel of PaperBerryPress on trends:
When we were talking to Rachel, she talked a little bit about trends. Trends in the marketplace and how to stay ahead. She talked about how she would go to craft fairs a lot and catch those that are happening before they got to be more widely popular. She also talked about Pantone values too.
Pantone – for anyone who’s familiar with print media, Pantones are the numeric value representation (like a letter-number combination) for a color. It’s what it physically looks like when it’s printed out as opposed to seeing it on a screen digitally.
One of the thing that she does is she pays attention to this Pantone Association who’s in charge of this book of colors. Every now and then they add new colors to it and she has found that it doesn’t happen super infrequently that they add a color and it catches on. People start building products that are around that color. She knew about this trend way ahead of time because she was privy to the Pantone colors being released.
One of the things you need to do as a crafter is build your inventory. So if you are aware of these trends before they strike, you are able to start creating or crafting things using these trends. By the time it’s picked up and people are wanting to buy them, you are already ahead of the curve. You’ve already got stuff out there in your shop while everyone else is scrambling to play catch up.
You can’t always be right, sometimes you think something is going to be a trend and it doesn’t pan out, that’s okay. It’s better than showing up late to the game and being in a saturated market. When you do that, you’re always a little bit behind.
Rebecca’s comment on trends:
Trend Council is a good idea to follow on Pinterest if you guys are interested in keeping up on trends and catching those things ahead of the curve.
Google your competition.
There’s a bunch of information you can gain by googling your competition. If you Google them, you start seeing where they pop up, who is referenced to whom, where they have been featured, and sometimes they will be even indexed if they went to different shows. So you put their shop in and maybe they have went to a trade show or different fairs; and a lot of times these places will list the different vendors that showed up. Everywhere that they’re showing up is either an idea for you or just so you’d know what they’re up to and what you might wanted to do as well.
Set up Google Alerts.
If you’re really interested in keeping tabs on one of your competitors (or multiple competitors), you can set up a Google Alert where Google will send you an email notification whenever their web crawlers find something on the web that includes the keyword that you’re asking for. So by putting a competitor’s shop name or even the competitor’s name, you can keep tabs on what they’re doing and where they are showing up online.
Will my competitors know I’m following them in Google Alerts?
No, they will not know you are tracking them in Google Alert. There’s zero trace and the emails will be sent only to you.
To best understand the customer experience that someone is having with a competitor, you need to be a customer yourself. What you should do is you should be looking at their messaging. You should be buying something and see if they follow up with you, if they reach out to you, what their shipping looks like, what their follow up is, or what their packaging is. Take the guesswork out and try the entire experience. See what they’re doing. It’s very important.
You will get some benefit by looking at a single competitor’s information and looking at their shop and what they’re doing. But the more people you look at, the better. That’s why some of these tools come in and help you with that. You can go through and google a bunch of other people or set a Google Alert for multiple keywords. The more competitors you’re looking at, the more trends you are going to notice between them, and the more people you analyze, the better position you’re gonna be in.
When you study your competitors too, one of the things that could be really interesting to you is where they’re showing up. They might show up being talked about in markets you’ve never even expected your product would be used in. The fact that they’re showing up there and selling something to them might make you think “You know what, I sell that same product and if I just change my marketing message just a little bit to reach them, I can find a whole new customer segment that I haven’t even considered before”.
That’s been it folks. I hope you enjoyed this episode. You’re welcome to attend next week! Etsy Jams every Thursday 9AM PST / 12PM EST.