Posts Tagged ‘free tools’

How to Write a Competitive Analysis (with 3 free templates)

May 18th, 2012

“It’s not enough that we win; all others must lose.” – Larry Ellison

Personally, I disagree with Larry, and I think that the focus should be on the customer winning. Hopefully that’s often through your product or service offering, but sometimes your competitors can serve customers looking for a solution better than you can. In those cases, I think all parties (your company, your competitor and your customer) are better served by acknowledging that.

In fairness, Larry Ellison is the fifth richest man in the world, so if that’s how you keep score, he has much more credibility than I. On the other hand, he was paraphrasing Genghis Khan with his quote, so I guess it all depends whom you want to emulate with your marketing.

Learning from the competition

But, whether you agree with Larry or me (or even Genghis), I’m sure that we can all see the value in better understanding what competitors are doing.

So you can conduct a competitive analysis for the obvious reasons — to bludgeon the competition and raze their villages. However, you can also conduct a competitive analysis to help you better communicate with your customers about how you can best serve them (and even tell them what you can’t do) while perhaps honing the fine art of “coopetition.”

Moreover, a competitive analysis is an especially helpful tool to help you craft your value proposition.

Free competitive analysis templates

To help you conduct a competitive analysis, we’ve created a few free templates loosely based on the Summary Competitive Analyses we conduct for our own Research Partners here at MECLABS.
Read more…

Content Marketing: Web-based tool to help email marketers

January 3rd, 2012

Editor’s Note: Since MarketingSherpa recently formed an affiliate partnership with ClickMail to help the value-added reseller of ESPs get more attention for its nifty ESPinator tool, we thought it might be worthwhile to rerun this blog post to give you ideas for using a Web-based tool in your own content marketing. (Original publication date: Feb. 22, 2011)

Content marketing goes well beyond publishing whitepapers and blogs. Your company can provide videos, slide decks, webinars and even Web-based tools — like ClickMail’s ESPinator.

ClickMail pairs companies with email service providers (ESPs) and helps them establish effective programs. For years, its marketers have published a blog and an annual PDF guide on how to select an ESP.

“We’ve always felt that we had a clear view of the strengths and weaknesses of the various ESPs,” says Marco Marini, CEO, ClickMail. “From that, we evolved into an annual guide on selecting the best one. It’s completely vendor-neutral. It doesn’t talk about any vendors at all, just what the factors are.”

The ESPinator is the next step in that strategy, Marini says. Launched in early 2011, the tool asks users a series of questions and suggests up to three ESPs that are well-suited to their needs.

“Every vendor at a trade show says their solution is the best. There truly isn’t a best solution. It all depends on what your specific needs are,” Marini says. “There are more than 30 ESPs in the tool, and we don’t have a relationship with the vast majority of them. So this is truly more for the email marketing audience.” Read more…

PPC Marketing: A look at analytic and monitoring tools

August 25th, 2011

Here at MarketingSherpa we are always looking to bring you actionable tactics and interesting insights based on surveys of your marketing peers. You can pre-order our latest research — the 2012 Search Engine Marketing Benchmark Report – PPC Edition. Better yet, you can even download the executive summary from the report at no cost.

The direct download of this excerpt is free and does not require registration.

In the executive summary you’ll find six charts outlining the key findings from our research, but one of the perks of working here at Sherpa is I get the chance to take an early look at entire report (and the rest of the 125 charts.)

During this sneak preview I found a couple of charts that highlight an area where many marketers can improve their pay-per-click efforts. Read more…

Measure Brand Buzz All at Once for Free

November 11th, 2008

Monitoring Web chatter about your brand can be a challenge. We’ve written at least one article on monitoring social media to protect your reputation. The task can be expensive or time consuming–but it doesn’t have to be.

You can take a quick, free look at what the Web thinks about your brand with HowSociable?. The site is incredibly useful and easy to use. It doesn’t require any registration, usernames or passwords. You can even look at what people are saying about your competition.

Simply type in a phrase and see the number of times it’s mentioned on 22 social media portals. All the biggest players are there–Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Technorati, YouTube.  

Not only do you get the number of times your brand is mentioned, you also get the links to where your brand is mentioned. That’s so cool! Find out what people across the Web are saying about your company from one spot.