Whilst having a laser focus on your goals can help you stay on track, it can also insulate you from learning from others, the industry and other market leaders.
It might feel like progress to see that your firm’s social media following is growing each month. But what if you learned that your competition is growing at twice the rate? Without this context your firm can fall behind without ever knowing it.
This data matters, and it’s how you edge your rivals when they have become complacent.
What are the main reasons I should benchmark against my competitors?
By benchmarking, you are able to:
- Understand your firm’s performance versus the industry and your key competitors.
- Find opportunities to gain market share by outperforming where your rivals are weak.
- React to market trends and adjust accordingly.
- Track your position in the market over a period of time.
Competitive benchmarking can be as simple or as specific as you like and your approach should be informed by your aims and priorities.
How do I start benchmarking?
Decide which KPI’s you will measure. We suggest choosing three to five to start. You can always add one in if you need to at a later date.
If you’re unsure, think about ways you could measure growth; things like social media, SEO, brand awareness and customer feedback.
Or, if you want to stay fairly broad, you could opt for measuring:
- Company marketing
- Digital marketing
Identifying your competitors
One option is to look at your closest competitor in terms of size and success. Is there a competitor who you are neck and neck with? Could there be gains you can make in the short-term that give you an edge? Looking to your peers can also give you a view on who may be ‘gaining on’ your firm.
If your ambitions are bigger than edging your close competitors, you might set your sights a little higher. Focusing on the leaders in your field (whilst initially depressing) will help you see which commonalities these bigger firms have, and where their weaknesses are.
It’s also worth looking at the smaller firms and new players in the market. It will give you a sense of who might be coming up and who is doing things differently. Disruption in the legal services is always a potential risk and it would be a mistake to ignore the smaller players. Minimise the chance of being caught off-guard further down the line as the smaller firms catch up by taking into account different ways of working.
Deciding on your metrics
Where possible, keep what you’re measuring simple so that you don’t become overwhelmed and the data is straightforward to track over a period of time.
For example, if you want to focus on website growth: you could track your site traffic using a tool like Google Analytics.
If you want to increase your social media following, you could compare competitors’ number of followers using a tool like hootsuite or sprout social.
The benchmarking bit
Create a report for each goal (i.e. the social media, SEO, brand awareness and customer feedback we talked about earlier) and decide on a schedule for tracking.
You will know what rhythm suits your firm best, be it weekly, monthly or annually. It’s probably more often than you think, so you can take advantage of when the data is live and less often for the data you have to find manually. Like most meaningful marketing, it’s nuanced.
Regularly check that the things you are measuring are still relevant to your company’s goals. If your aspirations change then your benchmarking may need to reflect this.
Resources we think you’ll like:
Compare website speed results of your peers: https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/intl/en-gb/feature/testmysite/
Analyse your firm’s email marketing open rates with the industry standard: https://mailchimp.com/resources/email-marketing-benchmarks/
Google Analytics benchmarking marking report so you can filter data by channel, location and devices https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/6086676
Similarweb: Find out where your traffic is coming from compared to others https://www.similarweb.com/
SEMrush: Find the gaps between you and your competition with backlinks, ads, keywords and more. It’s totally free up to 10 inquiries per day. https://www.semrush.com/
All the gear and no idea?
Tech and data is cool isn’t it? At least we think so. But it might be that your time is best spent winning new business. If you know you need to benchmark but want someone else to do the heavy (data) lifting, get in touch here and we can set up a session to discuss your benchmarking strategy.