From the United States’ triumph in the Revolutionary War to Joe Frazier's defeat of Muhammad Ali in The Fight of the Century, history shows that even a disadvantaged competitor can triumph when equipped with researched knowledge of their opponent. This principle is especially relevant to the world of email marketing, where slight changes to an email campaign can lead to success over a rival. Where can you access this game-winning information? Read on for six things that you don’t know about your competitor.
- Your competitor shares a substantial portion of your subscriber base.
If you and your competition are sending messages to many of the same subscribers, you can adjust your campaigns recognizing the presence of direct competition. Comparing your past campaigns with your competitor’s, you can analyze which differences impact your respective read rates amongst this shared group. Moving forward, you can capture the overlapping audience by sending more timely or engaging campaigns than your competitor. The graph below from Return Path’s Inbox Insight shows a situation in which your competitor shares 39% of your subscribers.
- Your competitor’s subscriber base is larger than yours.
While when measuring subscriber list success, quality is much more important than quantity, it can be advantageous to know exactly how many people your competitor reaches with each email campaign. If you are similar in size or revenue to your competitor but have a much smaller subscriber base, you can explore the reasoning behind your competitor’s large-list tactic. Moreover, through Inbox Insight, you can analyze the behavior of your competitor’s subscribers who are not on your list. If this group has a high engagement rate, you can employ strategies to attract similar subscribers. The graph above shows a situation in which a competitor’s subscriber base is 2.4 times larger than your own.
- Your competitor has more total email campaigns than you.
By knowing the frequency and quantity of your competition’s campaigns, you can determine what timing and frequency will give you a competitive advantage. Through Inbox Insight’s Trends Tool, you can see your competitors’ daily total number of campaigns displayed next to your own. The figure below shows that “Competitor 2” deployed significant campaigns on Sunday, Tuesday and Friday while “Competitor 1” utilized smaller campaigns consistently on all days of the week. Moreover, by clicking on a specific date, you can read the campaigns that each competitor deployed on that day alongside read rate and ISP-marked spam metrics.
- Your competitor has a read rate that’s trending upward.
A lesser competitor with a substantial upward trend can be more dangerous than a close rival with static success. It’s important to know the read rates of your competitors and to acknowledge improvement in their campaigns. Even a slight advancement in read rate can indicate that your competitor has employed a successful tactic or strategic timing, which you can then adopt or improve upon. As shown above, the Read % section of Inbox Insight’s Trend Tool displays your read rate overlaid with your competitors’. You can click on a peak or a trough to see the specific campaigns that caused the change in read rate.
- Your competitor is sending messages that are more relevant to your shared subscriber base.
If your competitor has a higher read rate amongst your overlapping audience, they may be more in tune to the preferences of the shared subscribers. By analyzing specific competitor campaigns and comparing them to your own, you can learn what drives readership. For instance, your competitor’s small, targeted campaigns may drive more engagement than your larger, broader messages. The figure below shows a situation in which your read rate is 23% lower than your competitor’s amongst your overlapping audience as displayed in Inbox Insight’s Subscriber Overlap Tool.
- Your competitor has a healthier subscriber list than you.
If you are aware of your competitor’s list quality, you can assess their sustainability and overall program health. Maybe your competitor has a smaller list size than yours but better organic list growth strategies, leading to fewer ISP-marked spam problems. If your competitor has more engaged users and fewer spam traps and inactive users, they have established a stable foundation on which to build their campaigns. If you are having list quality problems or blocking issues at the ISP level, consider altering your list acquisition strategies to avoid dealing with obstacles that can hinder competitive advancement.
Every athlete benefits from good coaching, so reach out to your Relationship Manager or contact us if you are interested in access to Inbox Insight and the support of our team. Equipped with comprehensive awareness of your opponents, you can operate several steps ahead of the competition. Whether you’re the market leader or a relative underdog, you can use this acquired knowledge to emerge victorious in the arena of email marketing.