Keeping up with the competition has never been easier.

Competitors are a fact of life in business. But they can sometimes provide ideas about new ways of doings things or about ways to market your business that you might not have considered. With the emergence of online tools that allow you to track almost every aspect of your competition, we’ve compiled the five most easy and useful ways to do so below.

1. Social Media

Social media can reveal a lot about a company as it’s now one of the primary forms of communication between a company and its customers.

Your competitors will most likely have social media channels – and if they’re smart, they’ll be using them regularly to engage with customers. Check them out and compile a spreadsheet on how they communicate, what they post, and how many followers they have on each channel.

To make spying easier, Facebook pages actually allow you to track your competitors’ pages and show you how many likes they’ve gotten, how many times they’ve posted in the past week, and even how much engagement they’re getting. Simply head over to your Facebook page, click on “Insights” at the top, and scroll down the “Overview” page to the “Pages to Watch” section.

2. Email Newsletters

In addition to informing you of their current sales and events, your competitors’ emails will show you exactly what they’re sending to their customers in terms of promotions and content. It’s vital to have a healthy and engaged email list, and checking out the type of content your competitor sends will allow you to tweak your own emails and potentially weed out any weak spots.

Signing up to your competitors’ mailing lists is a great way to keep up with them and plan your own strategies around their campaigns and promotions.

While we don’t advocate for copying exactly what the competition is doing, we do encourage a quick review of their content to improve the way you communicate with your customers. Definitely don’t just cut and paste as plagiarism is widely frowned upon (and breaks copyright law).

3. Website Rankings

Are you itching to get into your competitors’ Google Analytics pages? If only we could have those insights legally! Barring breaking the law, there ARE ways to spy on your competitors’ website statistic by using website rankings that grab all of the publicly available information they can.

With ranking tools like Alexa and Similar Web, you can see any website’s global, country, and industry ranking (though these rankings can fluctuate rapidly depending on random factors and should not be taken too seriously), their top referrers, their site traffic, and more. Whilst these sites aren’t 100% accurate and are usually based on estimates or averages, any bit of insight helps.

4. Website Grading

Have you wanted to know how well your website ranks in terms of performance, mobile-responsiveness, SEO, and security? Hubspot’s Website Grader allows you to see any website’s grading on these factors, and it will then offer suggestions for improvement.

Having a good grade ensures that your website visitors have a great experience when they browse your site – and having a top-notch website can really be the deciding factor between you and a competitor, as customers are more likely to pick the company whose website is regularly updated and easy to use.

5. Google Alerts

This isn’t a new method of tracking – but it can be overlooked due to the shiny aspect of all the other tools that currently exist.

Google Alerts are useful because they take only two minutes to set up and after that you’ll get emailed whenever there’s a new mention of whatever you’re tracking. This is a great way to monitor your competitors and yourself, and allows for you to gather news relating to recent events in the industry.

If you know of any more tools we haven’t mentioned in this post, get in touch and let us know!