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By John Eberhard

Today one of the most important aspects of marketing is figuring out which promotional media and platforms to use. Which media to use has changed dramatically over the last 25 years or so, and is significantly changing all the time. As I have mentioned in past articles, each marketing platform has a life cycle and these can often be measured in years, if not months.

So how do you know what promotional media or platforms to be using?

You can study your successful competitors. Here are the questions you want to ask:

  1. Do they have a website? How many pages is it?
  2. Do they have a blog? How often do they post new articles to it?
  3. What kinds of offers do they have on their website? See my article on different types of offers.
  4. How many links do they have to their website, coming from other sites?
  5. Do they have listings in business directories.
  6. Pick two or three keywords that someone looking for your type of business would type in, and see how high the competitor is ranking for those keywords.
  7. Do they have a Facebook company page?
  8. How many people have liked the page? That determines the size of your audience for things you post on Facebook. The number of likes the competitor has will show you how hard he is working Facebook. If he has 25-50, he is not working it very hard. If he has 500-2,000, he is working it.
  9. How often do they post things on that Facebook page?
  10. Are they running paid ads on Facebook? What types of ads?
  11. Are they active on LinkedIn? How often do they post there?
  12. Do they have an Instagram account? How active are they there? What types of things do they post there?
  13. If the target public for this business is young people, are they on TikTok?
  14. Do they send out a regular email newsletter? See if you can get a copy of it.
  15. Are they doing other types of email promotion? Try to get copies of those things.
  16. Are they running paid ads on Google Ads?
  17. Are they running paid ads on Bing Ads?
  18. Do they have a YouTube channel for the business? How many subscribers does the channel have?
  19. How many videos do they have for the business? What types of videos? How many views do the various videos have?
  20. Does the company do webinars?
  21. Do they send out bulk texts?
  22. Do they send out direct mail? Do they have printed material such as brochures?
  23. Are there trade publications for your industry? If so, is the competitor advertising there?
  24. If your industry has websites serving it where you pay for a listing and they give you leads, like Houz or Anji’s in the contractor industry, does your competitor have listings there?

The answers to these questions will help you formulate a plan that will work for you. Especially with paid advertising, if your competitor is continuing to do it with certain media over time, you can be sure that it works for him.