Improve User Onboarding by Monitoring your Competitors [Actionable Guide]

Improve User Onboarding by Monitoring your Competitors [Actionable Guide]

Competition Monitoring has a plenty of use cases. Certainly, it can help you to improve user onboarding and attract more customers.

Do you know that competitors' are the core of every business? And that carefully conducting your competitors' research is actually going to save your business from doom?

Me neither, until I failed when I started my first startup. The reason why we failed, is because we didn't pay too much attention to our competitors. We just thought:

"Okay, we have this feature, this feature and this feature. All of them are amazing! The customers would love them!"

The truth is: nope. They didn't love them. They didn't even use our product. Why?

Our competitors were some 20-year old companies from the IT sector. Their websites were awful. But still, they managed to provide enough value to their users.

We have just overwhelmed existing and useful products. It turned out, that our potential customers were actually liking simplicity.

We didn't realize that our competitors' are big gamers in our industry. We have just thought: "Nah, they have a crappy website. They are useless."

That thinking cost us our time and money.

My dear friends, that's the reason why I have decided to show you what I have learned afterwards, what were my mistakes, and how can you actually implement some of the tactics.

In this article, we will cover everything from doing great competitive research, over recapturing competitors’ user to successfully onboarding them and creating in-app experiences suitable for them.

Let's dive in!

Easiest, Fastest and Most Efficient way to Conduct your Competitors' Research

We all hate conducting competitive research.

Yea, I will admit it – I hate it too!

But the point is – we actually need to do this in the best way we can if we want to build a profitable and enduring business.

So, here is how to do it in several steps (Yea, it will still cost you some time, but in the worst, you will invest no more than 5 hours for this – instead of 10+ like we all used before):

1. Write down several most important keywords for your business, product, service or feature (10 minutes)

2. Type all of them in Google, and write down first 8 links on the page for every particular keyword. (20 minutes)

3. Filter those links to find out who is actually your competitor and who isn't. (20 minutes)

4. Create an insightful and detailed spreadsheet, where you can put as much information as you can. Here is some basic information you should look for:

– Name of the company

– Headquarters, Address, State

– Founders

– Resources (Team size, investments, founders previous experience, etc.) Everything which can help you to determine their power and ability to create and make changes faster.

– Product features

– Unique Value Propositions

– Distribution and User Acquisition channels (Social Networks, Quora, Reddit, Pinterest, etc.)

– Unique Buying Persona and Target Audience

– Technical information (Languages used to build the product, Website information – Traffic, Domain Authority, Trust Factor, Citation Flow, Spam Score, etc.)

(20 minutes)

5. Find this data (30 minutes to 1 hour per competitor).

And that's it! You will have a perfect Competitive Research in a few hours!

Now it's time to see what can we actually do with this data. We can't just put it some forgotten or hidden folder. Right?

How to use your Competitive Research Data in your Advantage?

So, how can great competitive research help us to improve and expand our business?

From all the information you found above, you can see a lot of useful things about some of your competitors you can use in crafting and executing great competitive advantages and to improve user onboarding:

  • Knowing your competitor available resources (time size, investment, etc.) will help you to determine what are their strength and how fast can the implement changes, new trends and pivoting.
  • Having clear insights into their Unique Value propositions and key features will help you to understand their offerings and what’s their trigger when acquiring new customers
  • Their founders must become your best friends – following their founders on all possible social media and rewatching or re-reading their old interviews will help you to see through what challenges they passed and how they solved some particular problems.
  • Have clear insights into their marketing channels – understanding this will actually help you to find out and determine their best acquisition and distribution channels. Understanding how are they onboarding their new customers is crucial if you want to beat them.

Now when we saw how can some particular data from Competitive Research help us, it’s time to see how can we actually create converting onboarding tactics.

Customers are bosses

There is no business which will live without its’ customers. It’s the same for your competitors and the same for you too. Whether you are in a big or small market, sometimes it’s not just enough to fight for, let’s say, 2% market share.

Sometimes we need to acquire a much bigger share if we want to build an enduring business and create a monopoly.

Having a clear mindset here is crucial, so ask yourself this:

“What would happen if I recapture some of my competitors’ customers?”

Yea, you read it right.

When you succeed to recapture some of your competitors’ customers, in the long run, you will not recapture just a few of them. You will recapture much more.

The key thing here is to offer some new key features, value propositions or even to personalize your onboarding experience.

The best way to test your product, features and unique value proposition is to actually talk to your competitors' customers! 🙂

Create some little surveys or even conduct some 15-minute call or video interviews. Because they are very nice people (who else would give you 15 minute of their time in this busy world. right?), you can offer them some extended trial, discount, or your exclusive learning material.

The goal of your competitors’ customer development is to:

  • Understand their biggest pain about problems which you and your competitors are solving.
  • Realizing what’s really important for them.
  • Creating better competitive advantages and onboarding methodologies based on your competitors’ customer development.

Education is the key

There is no better way to improve user onboarding than educating your competitors customers better.

Find the gaps in your competitors’ products and onboarding method, and improve them! Let’s take the following example:

There is a lot of Project Management tools right there. We have Asana, Trello, Atlassian and many more of them, and almost all of them are complicated, and the best software out there is the one who provides the best education and onboarding methodologies for their customers.

When some customer is changing one tool and going to another one, the biggest problem he has is the transformation itself.

Use the data from your researches, and make sure that your product, onboarding strategies and educational material are filling the gaps.

Create unique explaining videos. For example, you as a CEO can speak and explain your potential customers how can they actually use the tool or what are the benefits of using your tool instead of your competitors’ tools.

Pro Tip: put your face whenever you can – it will help you to establish better relationships with your customers and improve your personal and company brand.

Track Competitors’ Transactional Emails

Transactional (or drip) emails are triggered and behavioural based emails.

According to Experian, transactional emails receive 8 times bigger open rates than any other type of marketing emails.

Sending transactional emails will certainly help you to improve user onboarding.

What are some transactional email examples?

– Welcome emails – emails that are sent whenever someone creates an account

– Triggered transactional emails – your user just activated your most important feature? Send him the tips and tricks about that particular feature through email!

– Activity-based transactional emails – Your user isn’t seen for a while? Remind them of the benefits of using your product

– The trial is ending – Whenever your user’s trial is about to end, remind them through transactional email.

There are countless examples of using transactional emails to improve user onboarding.

Here are some examples of how we at Competitors App use transactional emails to improve the activation rate.

improve user onboarding with transactional emails

Whenever we see that someone didn’t add it’s domain, we trigger them this email.

This particular email generated over 50% open rate, and more than 30% of those who opened this email added their domain.

improve user onboarding with transactional emails

Here, we’re offering our trial customers dedicating help and support by asking them to schedule 1 on 1 meeting with us.

This particular email generated more than 43% open rates and more than 25% of people who opened it actually scheduled the meeting.

Do you see the power of transactional emails?

Now, how can you get the most out of your competitors’ transactional emails?

Your competitors invested a lot of time and money to craft amazing transactional email campaigns or copies. They probably know better than you what’s working and what’s not.

So, why do you need to reinvent the wheel?

When you’re adding new competitors in your Competitors.app account, you will see the following notification at the bottom:

improve user onboarding - monitor transactional emails

If you want to track and keep an eye on your competitors’ transactional emails, just simply create a trial account with the [email protected] email address.

For example, if you want to monitor HubSpot, it may look like this:

improve user onboarding - monitor transactional emails

Afterwards, you can check your competitors' transactional emails in your Competitors App dashboard.

Now you’re ready for skyrocketing your transactional email open rates!

Improve user onboarding with better in-app experiences

At the end of the day, your goal is to make better user onboarding? Right?

By now, you know your competitors very well, you know their strengths, weaknesses, unique features and user activation events. You know what are their customer’s pain points, and how are they activating their trial users through transactional emails.

There are two last steps you need to conduct if you want to improve user onboarding flow, improve your retention, reduce churn and activate more users:

  • Check their in-app user onboarding
  • Improve user onboarding

The best way to check your competitors’ in-app user onboarding is to actually try their product.

Signup to them, and see what are they doing.

How does their user onboarding flow look like? Do they use checklists, product tours or progress bars? What are their tooltips?

Check whatever you can and write it down.

If you’re “lucky” and your competitors are well-established businesses, try to search for their user onboarding teardowns on the web.

Like this one for example:

improve user onboarding - dropbox

The next step is, obviously, to improve user onboarding flows and make them better than your competitors have.

You can always use your dev resources or open libraries to create amazing in-app experiences, UX, and UI elements.

But, you can also use user onboarding software to accomplish that.

For example, Userpilot is one of the Walkme and Appcues alternatives. It helps you to build triggered and behavioural based user onboarding elements and in-app experiences.

The Bottom Line

As far as we have seen, you can achieve great results with constant competition monitoring.There are various use cases, and how to improve user onboarding based on your competitors' research and competition monitoring is certainly one of them.

If you want to know more about how Competitors’ App can help you to create competitive advantages, you can check our features or signup for free!


Best Marketing Automation Tools for your Business

Best Marketing Automation Tools for your Business

Marketing automation has been a popular topic for a while now, yet not everyone seems to be taking full advantage of it. As advanced tools become more and more available, it’s only a matter of time before automation completely changes the way marketers work. It may be worth to start thinking about using proper marketing automation tools in your strategy – and here’s how to make that happen.

What is marketing automation?

Automation basically means improving and to some extent even replacing manual or intellectual labor by machines. In the case of marketing, this becomes possible thanks to relevant marketing automation tools. Such software allows you to automate repetitive tasks, optimize your efforts, reduce human error, and essentially make your job as a marketer much easier.

The main idea behind marketing automation goes way beyond that, though. It’s all about reacting to people’s behavior once you caught their attention, and make sure you keep them engaged – preferably through the whole marketing funnel. Actually, the more you (and thus, the marketing automation software) know about your web visitors or users, the better you can serve them. That’s precisely why proper marketing automation tools take advantage of machine learning and predictive analytics, just to be able to draw conclusions from the data available and suggest or even execute the best possible action. With such software, you can easily manage all your communication channels, personalize messages, and eventually turn your visitors into your clients.

What can you automate and optimize, exactly?

Email marketing

With email marketing, you can easily target and reach the right audience with relevant content. Apart from sending out mass emails, you can even define certain triggers to properly respond to your recipients’ action right away. Luckily, there are many tools that can let you automate your email marketing campaigns. Take OutreachPlus, as an example. You can easily send personalized e-mails on a scale, track the results of your campaigns, and even influence the acquisition of new potential customers. Once you’re at it, it can also be beneficial to monitor your competitors’ email marketing strategies.

Social media management

If you own a lot of profiles across social networks, having a social media marketing automation tool will definitely help you manage them properly. Yet again, there are many tools created for that purpose, even though the majority has pretty much the same features. When searching for the best option to suit your needs, though, it’s worth to select the one that stands out and offers something more. Something that you could use not only for drafting, scheduling and keeping track of all posts but also for automating the whole process even further, such as Kontentino.

Speaking of social media, though, there’s also another activity worth automating – social listening, especially if you want to keep an eye on what your competitors are up to. Luckily, Competitors App monitors both Facebook and Twitter to give you valuable insights. You can read more about monitoring and analyzing the moves of your competition on social media.

Landing pages

With proper tools, you can easily create well-designed, interactive landing pages that will allow you to capture more leads (or serve any other purpose of your choosing). Unbounce, for example, is a powerful landing page builder that has some great features in store. It can even automatically replace some keywords on your landing page to match specific phrases that your prospects search for.

Lead generation

Speaking of capturing leads, you can also engage with your visitors via push notifications in order to encourage them to leave their contact details or perform a specific action. It’s also a great way to keep your web visitors informed about any special deals, offers or updates, as well as deliver your content to those who could truly be interested in it. PushPushGo is a good example of such a tool, as it allows you to track and analyze user behaviors on your site, and target the right audience at the right time.

Plus, if you need to retarget specific groups of customers, try doing so with RocketLink. You can not only set up push notifications with this app but also target people who have shown interest in your content by clicking on the link (which is shortened, by the way). What’s game-changing about that? Most likely the fact that you can link to other websites while still using a relevant Call-to-Action that will drive traffic to your site, landing page or a specific form.

Pretty much everything

There are certain all-in-one marketing automation tools that can serve most of most of your inbound marketing needs: building landing pages, capturing leads and creating databases, sending out email marketing campaigns, scheduling social media content, hosting and publishing your blog, analyzing data, and integrating it with your sales team. They come with a price, though. Basically, advanced marketing automation software has tiered pricing which means that its price grows along with your business. Still, Hubspot is definitely worth taking a closer look at if you’re interested in such a solution and able to afford it.

What to take into account when choosing a marketing automation tool?

If you’re considering to invest in marketing automation, it’s always a good practice to establish your needs first. Then, compare pricing, usability, and integrations with your existing software. Naturally, you may want to go for a powerful all-in-one marketing automation tool at first – but it may turn out to be too expensive. At the same time, you might not need to take advantage of that many features on a daily basis. That’s why it’s important to know what to look for when doing your research.

Choose your marketing automation tool wisely

Rapid technological development definitely changes the way marketers work. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing, though. By taking advantage of marketing automation, you can save a lot of time, and often money as well. Especially since collecting and segmenting your databases, effective planning, and even analyzing your actions are now easier than ever. It’s all possible thanks to advanced marketing automation tools, that become more and more available.

It’s important to remember that seasoned marketers should still remain in charge, though, carefully observing the results of each campaign and drawing conclusions themselves. That’s precisely why human labor can’t be entirely replaced by digital solutions. And rightfully so.


Attracting customers – 4 strategies for your startup

Attracting customers - 4 strategies for your startup

Attracting customers and generating leads has always been a hard job. After months and months of trying, we’re thinking that our tool isn’t good enough, and then we’re rebuilding it and saying to ourselves: “I will acquire them as soon as I finish this feature”.

And this situation repeats over and over.

When you stuck with attracting customers, it’s usually two things:

  1. You don’t know how to do it efficiently
  2. You didn’t do your customer development at the beginning, so now you’re paying a consequences

In your case, if it’s number two, then, I don’t know. You will need to go back to do your first step – customer development, and right after you finish that to start actually building your product.

If you don’t know how to attract your customers efficiently, then, my dear friend, you are on the right spot!

So, let’s see what are the 5 best strategies to acquire new customers for your startup.

1. Kickass SEO and Backlink Building

SEO will mean nothing to you only if you are a billionaire (so you can actually spend thousands and thousands on PPC and other Ads) – but I assume you aren’t because you are reading this article. 🙂

Every business should tend to improve its’ SEO and Keyword rankings. One of the best ways for that is certainly the Backlink Building.

If you don’t know what Backlink Building is, let me explain you in a few sentences:

Term “backlink building” is actually building links, or finding new and high reputational websites who would link back to you.

The reason why you should do this is that Google will rank your website better if some big website’s linking back to you.

Imagine the following situation:

Shakira is celebrating her birthday in a club near you. You would desperately love to enter there and see all those celebrities! But unfortunately, you can’t enter there because the security guard won’t let you go.

You are embarrassed, and everything you want right now is to go back home and blame yourself because you are not “famous”.

But suddenly, someone opens the clubs’ doors, and start yelling at you:

“Hi, John, come over here! It’s such a great party!”

You turned back, and you saw your friend Rihanna calling you.

Suddenly, the Security guard lets you go inside.

The same principle is for Google too. When some “famous” website links back to you, you will automatically be higher on searches for some particular keywords.

2. Attracting customers with high-quality content

High-quality content is crucial if you want to attract more customers for your startup. Providing value has always been important for every business.

Take for example a HubSpot.

HubSpot is probably the best company out there. Their content creating team members are killing it. Just take a look at their Blog. Isn’t it amazing?

Creating Content will not just help you to provide more value – it will also improve your SEO and rank you better for some particular keywords.

The first step you should do before you even start writing your Blog is to conduct perfect keyword research.

Every Blog post should follow at least some basic stuff like:

  • Being SEO friendly
  • Having a clear, nice and engaging introduction
  • Every Blog Post should have a clear Call-to-Action
  • Providing value is a must
  • Try to keep your every blog post with more than 1000 words
  • Include as many images as you can

My favourite part about creating Content and Marketing it is not just Content Creation, it’s also a Content Distribution!

You see, one Blog post with a great distribution is more valuable than 5 blog posts with poor distribution, and even more, good distribution will help you in attracting customers.

So instead of focusing your effort in creating as much blog posts as you can, try to write less, but distribute it better.

Here are some tips about content distribution you should keep on your mind:

  • One blog post can be re-forged in several other pieces, like How to’s, Quizzes, etc.
  • Publish your blog post on your “owned” distribution channels (Social Media, Websites, Groups, Communities)
  • Distribute your Blog post among different platforms like Quora, Reddit, Medium
  • Build relationships with influencers and let them promote your blog posts.

The best thing about Content Marketing and distribution is that you can play with it as long as you want, and results will come!

3. Outreach like a Pro

The most important part of every business is sales. At the end of the day, you realize that every position is a sales position. Everything we’re doing is focused on growing sales and profit.

Just like in the “old good days”, salesmen were reaching to us with cold calling, now we’re reaching out to our potential customers with cold emailing.

Before you even start doing your sales, you must know who is your Ideal Buyer Persona?

Write it down who are they, what’s their position, what are their biggest pains, how are you solving them, how old are their, what’s their usual outfit combination – everything!

Now when you have that prepared, you can’t actually start doing your cold emailing before you finish one last step – and that’s lead generation!

Use the Internet in your advantage. Find as many potential customers as you can.

You can search in some particular Facebook group and Communities, you can scrape Quora, Product Hunt, or even LinkedIn. Find their emails, and you will be ready for cold emailing!

Cold Emailing is all about making great connections with the first contact. Yeah, it sounds really hard to do, but if you want to succeed in this, this must be your primary goal.

Cold Email campaigns are based on:

  • One initial email
  • Follow-ups

Remember to always follow up with your recipients, but don’t be too spammy. Two follow-ups are enough. If they don’t respond to you after 3 messages, then it’s likely that they are not interested, or that you didn’t do your outreach campaign very well.

In the initial email, the focus should be on their biggest pains and your solution. But don’t be too much promotional. Keep it short, and at the end of the email, give them clear Call-to-action.

In Follow-ups, everything is about providing value. Remind them about their problems, and provide them with some valuable article.

4. Create better Marketing Strategies than your competitors

Whether you are a small or medium business or large enterprise, you must have at least one competitor out there. It’s almost impossible that you don’t have one.

A lot of people think that conducting competitive research, is everything they need to do when we’re speaking about competition.

But unfortunately, that’s not true.

What’s even more important than researching your competitors, is monitoring your competitors.

You see, if you don’t monitor your competition, you will not know what are their next steps and you will not be able to outmanoeuvre and beat them. Right?

So, the conclusion is – if you want to create better marketing strategies than your competitors, first, you must monitor them and see what are they doing.

When we’re talking about competition monitoring, here is on what should you keep your eye on:

  • Social Media
  • Keyword Rankings and SEO
  • Content creation and distribution
  • Backlink building
  • Website changes
  • Newsletters
  • PPC Campaign

Every insight you can get is crucial for creating killing competitive advantages.

So, now when we have seen what are the best marketing strategies for attracting customers, what would be the first one you will implement in your startup?


CEOs Playbook: Ultimate guide on how to beat your competition

The 13 minutes you will spend reading this will probably be the best investment you have made today! Why? Because you will learn how to compete and beat your competition, be better than them and scale your business!

Few weeks before I started writing this article, I had reached out to Gerard Compte from „FindThatLead“ in order to make a better business relationship with him. In the first message I had written in the P.S. section I said:

“Good Luck in slaying your mortal enemies Gerard! ;)”

When he responded, I learned a very valuable lesson just form reading the first sentence of the message:

“There are no enemies, just good people called competitors who are helping us to understand our market and customers better. Competition is the best thing you will have in business.”

This sentence is mind-blowing!

(more…)


Should You Start a New Business if there are many competitors in your market?

start-new-business-many-competitors

Starting a new business from scratch is one of the most independent, exciting pursuits you can undertake. Due to the sea of information and helpful tools available now, it is much easier to set up and run one, and much more fun.

While you may have your idea up and ready, one question may still be bugging you from taking that leap. The competitive business environment may be forcing you to ask yourself:

“Should I do it?”

This is a good question to ask, as all entrepreneurs (especially if you’re doing it for the first time) do come across thoughts like, “All good ideas have been executed already.”

Contrary to intuition, having a certain amount of competition can be helpful – and a competitive business strategy is best for the growth of small businesses. Inside this existential question for your business, you should analyze these different areas:

The Competitive Market

It may be tempting to get to the exciting stuff of setting up a business – but it is always good to conduct your research first.

You may feel that your product is perfect for the market. Nothing like it exists.

Or you may be overthinking competition exists already.

In both these cases, market research is a tool that comes in very handy. It can help you:

(a) Identify your market segment

Your market segment is the ‘segment’ of people from the ‘market’ who will be the ideal customers for your product. Identifying and understanding this group of people will help you optimize your product.

As you understand the problems they face, and how they like to solve them, you can identify where in the process you can make it easier for them.

(b) Understand Market Trends and the Market Picture

By conducting appropriate research, you can identify if there’s a market for your idea. It can help you determine your unique niche and how you can solve problems for that niche.

You can see if the industry you’re in is declining or thriving. It is best to go ahead into further stages of business development if the industry is stable and thriving/ new and on the road to a thriving future.

These two steps will bring you to the essential part of the analysis:

(c) Identify and Study Your Competitors

Your competitors, even if they’re not entirely similar, are your ideas put into a business. Healthy competition can look scary – but it is what makes the market colorful.

If many companies are doing well in your niche, it also means that people ARE looking for what you’re offering.

You can analyze your competitors to identify the trends in your niche, see what works and what doesn’t, and get a clearer picture of how running your business would be.

You can analyze their best practice strategies and content to apply them to your own business. Further, you can also see where they failed/ tests they conduct to save time and save yourself from making those same mistakes.

You can also look into how they nurture their leads, how their sales funnel works and how these could be improved to apply to your business model.

There are various tools available which you can use to analyze your competitors. These can help you track changes in your competitor’s websites, emails, social media campaigns, website tests – and their overall digital marketing strategy.

The deeper you look into your competitor, the more insight you can gain on how to improve your business.

This also has another helpful effect. As you understand what your competition is offering – you can even get what they’re missing – which can help you strengthen your proposition. This will again, make your product unique, and add value.

The Customers/Users

The user is the heart and driving force of any business. Great businesses are built on great ideas, no doubt, but those are ideas that add value for their users.

The users who are in your target segment can provide you a gold mine of information. Here are ways in which they can help various aspects of your business plan.

(a) They’ll help you identify if your product is needed

Sure, you feel like your product could help out a lot of people – but you need to ask your prospective customers if they would be using something like it.

For example, if you build software that sorts company files with a subscription price of 300$ a month – would a business buy it? They could just decide to outsource it pay a human to do it.

This exercise will help you in finding out if the users need your product. It can also help you in setting up a pricing range.

(b) They’ll help you see If your USP works

Your unique selling point (USP) is what sets you apart from other competitors. For determining the USP, it is best to learn about the problems the users face in real life, and the services they use to solve those.

While giving you an idea about your competitors, this will also tell you about the pain points of the user straight from the inside. Further, you can ask the problems they face with the current tools and services they use. It will help you identify where your competitors are missing the mark – and where you can make one.

If people are looking for alternatives to the current services, it is a tremendous opportunity to jump to. You can identify similar problems seen as a pattern among various users and build on that.

This will help you improve you USP further and evolve it into adding more value to the user.

For example – You’re developing customer support software, and many users tell you about not being able to sync their invoices to their email. This is a problem they face on a day to day basis and has not been solved yet.

You add this in your USP – and these users will be glad to shift over to your service.

The best ways of connecting with customers/prospects are usually by conducting interviews/ surveys.

These require significant efforts from you as well the consumer – another useful tool for analyzing the customer is through social media.

Social media is a significant communication channel for companies and their customers – and by tracking your competitor’s social media, you can get an insight here. This is another feature which competitor monitoring tools offer. This can also help you find and use channels where your competitors are not yet connected to their users on, and exploit it to catch up.

Many young companies face the problem of meeting the large “sharks” – the bigger companies which may be dominating their niche, and competitor analysis is how they can get ahead.

So, if you were questioning yourself about whether or not you should go ahead with your business idea – the best way to answer that is to do some research.

Once you find your value proposition, the only thing that stands between you and massive growth is how you promote yourself better than your competitors.

All the best – to more growth and great business ideas!


5 Business Intelligence tool your business should use

5-business-intelligence-tools

In today’s increasingly competitive world, using business intelligence to understand the inner workings of your business in detail is what will propel you above your competition. But choosing the business intelligence tool that will work best for your business can be a long-winded and difficult process. The business intelligence market has boomed in recent years and there’s a great many tools out there that promise to cater to your business’ every need. To help with your decision, we’ve collated a list of business intelligence tools that we believe are really best in class.

Business intelligence: a definition

First things first, business intelligence (BI) is a term used to describe a broad range of different technology, applications, and the collection of business information. Current and historical business information can be collected and stored, usually in a data warehouse or data lake, and then used to inform future business decisions and daily operations. Of course, this can help a business work more efficiently and make more informed decisions.

Because of its value and use to an organisation, a great many business intelligence tools have been developed and marketed. The trick for business owners is to understand which ones work best.

Business intelligence software: our top picks

Sisense: This nifty piece of BI software allows you to collate, analyse and quickly view business data in a user-friendly interface. The Sisense dashboard is incredibly easy to use, with a drag-and-drop function that even the most tech-phobic person can get their head around. All critical business data can be seen almost instantly – very helpful for timely decision making!

Tableau: Sifting through the masses of data produced by businesses every day is an impossible task. Tableau allows people to create clear and stunning data visualizations with little to no prior programming knowledge. Tableau can plug into several different data sources, bringing everything together into one visual place that can then be shared and published.

Domo: Domo offers business leaders the ability to view real-time data on a single dashboard, with multiple graphics and the ability to create personalised models. There’s also trend indicators and sparklines which makes snap decision making much more informed. To help get a second opinion, there’s also the ability to share with others and make PowerPoint style slides from it.

Qlik Sense: If you’re short on time, Qlik Sense will automatically create custom dashboards and reports. It works with businesses of all sizes, from global companies to sole traders. Qlik Sense is also one of the faster business intelligence tools, as it compresses any data inputted to up to 10% of its original size. For on-the-go decision making, Qlik Sense comes in a mobile version as well.

Woopra: Customers should make a key part of all business decision making, and Woopra makes this easy by analysing customer behaviour across different devices and platforms. It creates highly detailed visual customer profiles, which can be customised for several industries, including travel, finance, retail, and media.

Choosing a business intelligence tool

The above business intelligence software is only a small selection of the myriad tools available to businesses. When trying to find the right business intelligence tool for your company, it can be useful to list all of your ‘must-have’ features, all ‘nice-to-have’ features, and features that you’ll never really use. You should also consider how many people in your organisation will need to have access to the tool and their level of technical expertise. Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask to try a free demo of a business intelligence tool and see how well it works for your business in real life.

Business intelligence is a must for all modern businesses. But you do have to be smart when choosing the right business intelligence software. If you go wrong, it could be a time-consuming and costly affair that may also put your employees off using a business intelligence tool ever again. So choose wisely.


Review and alternative websites to promote your startup

review alternative websites promote startup

Entrepreneurs tend to work on improving their product and not priorities for promoting their website after the launch of their startup. Some just start building the product without even thinking how much effort does it take to attract visitors. “Build it and they will come” … right …

After launching your website, you should look for easy tactics to get some visibility on your website. This is the first article that will tell you where you can easily promote your website … and some results.

2017 Award Great User Experience2017 Award Rising Star

Review & alternative to websites

  • Finances Online – Very good position in Google, badge award if you qualify to give your brand some credibility;
  • CrozDesk – Nice UI, nice team
  • G2Crowd – maybe save this for last, it’s popular and it may require some user reviews to get on top. Approval takes 1-2 weeks;
  • Capterra
  • GetApp
  • AlternativeTo – very popular, also ranks well in Google
  • SaaS Genius – Specific for SaaS startups, a good place to submit your website and easy to get approved.

An easy thing to do if you want to be listed first on the category pages with your competitors: Try to get some of your initial users to give some reviews and like your product on those pages (social accounts are required to prevent abuse).

 


New logo update to help my startup take shape

When I started Competitive.Business from scratch, it helps me to have a visual identity; it makes sure the colors used in the interface are balanced, according to the created brand, it helps insert small visual images that are brand related (like the blue dot or the unique shape that represents the logo).

Now that I am planning to redesign the homepage and prepare for a public launch, I spent more time redesigning the new identity.

new colors competitive business

I know it may not seem vital to focus too much and spend time at this stage on the visual identity, but for me, it helps.

competitive business new logo

I am not a designer, but I have designing skills 😉 (I know Photoshop and Illustrator). I also had some help from two designers.


Pitch feedback for Competitive.Business

competitive business pitch deck

I almost always try to go to events that I think can help Competitive Business. I invest some time, but the focus, the feedback and sometimes the buzz around my startup always helps.

I’ve been selected to pitch at Rockstart Answers organized by Rubik Hub in my town.

Pitch preparation

The team at Rubik Hub did a great job preparing all of the selected startups for the pitch event. We had a few training sessions with a lot of feedback on how to present.

It’s not my first pitch experience, not at all. I’ve pitched at several startup events with my last project; I know how valuable pitching events are: you are in the spotlight, it’s all about your startup.

At 4:00 am I had to prepare the video training pitch (in my pajamas).

Final pitch video of Competitive Business

Sadly, they have filmed only the end and the Q&A.

… and the pitch deck.

The actual pitch text

Image you are the CEO of a startup.

Your job, as the CEO, is to make strategic decisions. You are more likely to make the right decision if you are well informed, correct?

———

So, for 6 years, on my previous startup, I’ve been manually watching over competitors to check out their strategy on social media or ads, their pricing, their copywriting changes, lead nurturing and it paid off: I had the right product, the right price, the right strategy so I made a profitable startup.

Let me tell you why knowing your competitors can be good for your business:
It will help you position yourself and differentiate from the competitors in the user mind (most of the users will ask why should I choose you and not your competitor).
price changes of your competitors can affect your revenue (think of some seasonal offers or maybe a discount if the user did not convert after the trial ending)
investors ask in a pitch deck to have competitors slide and say why are you better? How easy it would be for your competitor to do what you do.
know where your competitors promote themselves, find out influencers, affiliates, webinars and so on

Keep in mind while you develop your business, the competitors are doing this as well. Don’t fall behind.

—-

Competitive.Business will deliver by email on a weekly basis your competitors’ online activity. It will only take a few minutes of your time to review any key insights and help you make strategic decisions with your team.

This is how it currently looks, simple interface with powerful filters so you can immediately see only what you are interested in.

Now think that if you would manually visit competitors from time to time, you would have to remember what you have seen last time and if they changed anything. You may visit them for nothing or even miss some of their moves.

Competitive.Business alerts you only when something new happens. All the key information will be delivered to your email and you may visit the website for more information.

 

We are currently in private beta.

2 weeks ago I invited 50 startup founders. We’ve done a lot of bug fixing and received good feedback.

I plan to launch publicly in December.

—-

My question to validate and improve the product is: What public information about your competitors would you pay for? or would you be interested in?

 

Feedback on my pitch

At the end of the event, I’ve received 43 written feedback from the audience.

While in 3 minutes there isn’t really enough time for anyone to fully understand the business, when a lot of people write the same thing, it’s something you should focus on and see if you can do something with it.

To address some feedback that kept repeating:

  • You should monitor price changes on e-commerce websites.
    I don’t want to monitor price changes, there are a lot of startups and well-established businesses that do that very well (not that there isn’t enough space to make another one), but I targeted people with a different need, those who want to have an idea of their competitors strategy, what works well for them and what doesn’t.
  • Budget spent on ads; keywords that help my competitors convert
    Very happy to see interested people on ads & keywords. The feature should be available on Competitive Business in a month or two.
  • I am interested in user acquisition/sales strategy
    We are already monitoring competitors account emails/newsletters, social media and soon ads

Do you have a pitch prepared for your startup? Have you ever pitched at a startup event? How was it?


Displaying “Alternative to” competitors is good for business

Many people are afraid to say to their users who their competitors are, but if you do it and do it right, you can convert users that would choose your competition if they are undecided.

You don’t need to send the users a message telling them who your competitors are, but you can create pages on your website where you show the advantages of using your business vs. your competitors (remember that you control your website content, so you can write whatever you want that will gain the visitor trust).

Keep in mind that you, as the business owner, know very well your competitors, their strengths, and weaknesses, but the average user is not focused as much as you to know all of this. They will believe what they read.

Visitors arriving at those pages want exactly that, to see the differences, the advantages of using your software.

Be sure to include what features you have that your competitors do not, write in your own words what do you do better, compare the price and if it’s higher, explain why. Make a list of Pros and Cons to be easier to read, add a few screenshots and maybe 3rd party review sites if your score is higher.

Your page should always end with a call to action so the visitor can register to your website or subscribe to a newsletter so they can enter yours on boarding funnel.

Benefits for displaying your competitors

A lot of people are searching on Google for alternatives: “alternative to or “vs.” or “compare“. They are either unhappy with their current solution or want to see if there is a cheaper solution or just undecided.

Those users are either unhappy with their current solution or want to see if there is a cheaper solution or just undecided.

alternative to google trends

Websites like Alternative To and G2 Crowd rely on people searching for this keywords.

Make sure you create a page on your business website so you may rank in front in Google so visitors arrive on your website.

Examples of websites that display their competitors

Chargebee comparing to Chargify and others

  1. Address the pain point of the visitor in the first paragraph: “Looking for a Chargify alternative?looking-for-chargify-alternative
  2. 3rd party reviews from G2 Crowdg2crowd 3rd party review
  3. Feature comparisonfeature comparation
  4. Clients testimonials that say why did they switch to Chargebee (very smart).clients testimonials
  5. Other clients highlightclients highlight
  6. Links in the footer with the competition (benefiting a lot for search engine traffic).footer link competition

Other good examples of businesses showcasing their competitors on their website (in a smart way).

Drift as Intercom alternative – they rank #4 on Google on keyword “intercom alternative”, in front of AlternativeTo.net

drift intercom alternative

Chatra as Drift alternative – ranking #2 on Google for “drift alternative” (probably until Intercom decides to create a page to showcase the alternative of Drift). They have a nice image in the header.

chatra vs drift

Intercom as alternative to Zendesk for Customer Support – intercom is also targeting the market, adding “customer support” (Zendesk Alternative for Customer Support | Intercom) or “live chat” (Olark Alternative for Live Chat | Intercom)