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by Kathryn Good

7 Easy (and Free) Ways to Stalk Your Competition Online

Need a few ways to see how your competitors are marketing their business online? Here are 7:  
 

1. Subscribe to their email newsletters.

Using an email address not affiliated with your company, go subscribe to all your competitor's newsletters. This is the easiest way to see new products, offers, events, blog posts, etc. If you are up for a little more work, keep a spreadsheet for each email listing the date, time received, subject, call to action and any notes on things you like and don’t like.  
 

2. Follow them on their social media platforms.

You can set up a Facebook Interest List or Twitter List to follow them without actually liking their Facebook page or following them on Twitter. With Facebook, you can get a little more information using Pages to Watch. As you watch competitors on their social platforms, take note of content you like, new ideas, and hashtags they are using.  
 

3. Subscribe to their blogs.

Set up a Feedly account and monitor competitor blog posts. Be sure to watch the subjects they pick to blog about.  
 

4. See what they’re made of. 

Ever wonder what competitors are using for content management systems, analytics and other digital software? Find out using www.builtwith.com.
 

5. Take a peak at their traffic. 

Curious how your website traffic compares with a competitor? Just type in their URL to www.similarweb.com and get an estimate of their monthly traffic, bounce rate and more.  
 

6. Go back in time. 

Use the Wayback Machine to see how your competitor's site has evolved over time. See if you can learn anything from how your competitor has changed the design, calls to action, and content of their site. 
 

7. Get an alert. 

Set up an alert using Google Alerts. You'll get a notice every time your competitor is mentioned in the media.  
 
It’s fun, kind of sneaky and educational to watch your competitors, but we encourage you to remember your own brand. Just because it is working for your competitor, doesn’t mean it will work for you. But there is nothing wrong with using competitors to help brainstorm your own new ideas.