One of the easiest ways to learn marketing is to copy what other people are doing.
Though I’ll be showing this example from the point of view of the online course industry, you can apply it to other types of online business too.
Here are the steps:
- Find a business/influencer in your particular niche
- Go to their website
- Find out what their main product/service is
- Look for their lead generation mechanism (free gift/offer)
- Sign up for that offer/free gift
- Observe the steps that they take to get you to the main offer, right from their e-mail marketing to the Facebook ads that you will eventually start seeing
This method works really well because you get to experience their marketing funnel, i.e, the steps they take for turning a cold prospect into a buyer. It’s like getting access to their map.
After you are done reading this article, you can check out my new Case Studies series of videos where I actually do this by showing you a live example and analyze a real life business in front of your eyes. But first read the article so you understand the process.
Now let’s look at the above steps in detail:
Finding a business/influencer in your niche
This is a super important step because you have to find someone who knows what they are doing and doing it successfully.
Basically you have to make sure you are finding a solid brand.
Let’s take an example. Let’s say I am in the business of teaching Yoga via Online Courses.
So I’m looking out for someone who has been successful in the world of selling online courses related to Yoga.
The best way to find that brand or person is to go to Google and type in a search term from the point of view of a student who is looking to learn Yoga via an online course.
So in this case I go to Google and I type – “Learn Yoga Online” or “Yoga Online Courses“
You can go through some of the websites that show up. Ideally you should be avoiding businesses that are too big because they will be using stratgies that you and I won’t be able to use.
So look out for personal brands/small businesses.
Another way to find an influencer/business is to be on the look-out for Facebook ads that come on your feed. If you find an advertiser who is in your niche, click on their ad to go to their website and then follow the remaining steps.
Also, if you already know a business/influencer that you admire, you can directly start the process from the next step.
Go to their website
Analyzing their website is one of the most important steps because their website will give you an idea on how well they are doing their job.
First of all, if you like how their website looks, try to find out which content management software/platform they are using by right clicking on a page on their website and checking out the source code. If they are using WordPress, you are bound to find “wp” in the code. If they are using Bootstrap, you will find that word in the code. And so on.
If they are using WordPress (which will be the most popular choice among small businesses/personal brands), the next step should be to find out the theme they are using. You can check which theme they are using by using this theme detecting tool.
Next, go through their home page to see how they give an overview of their entire business.
Then check out the different landing pages they have by using their website menu.
Check out their blog too. A serious online business will always maintain a blog to attract organic traffic.
Find out what their main product/service is
Always be on the look out for what the ultimate objective of an online business is.
For instance, when I follow this strategy for analyzing an online coaching business, I’m always on the look out for the main online course that the influencer is selling.
If you’re not able to find that main product/service on their website, try and search the name of their brand on Google and go through the results. Similarly, try and search their social media pages (Facebook, Instagram, etc) so see if they have mentioned anything.
Once you know what the ultimate objective of a business is, you’ll start to understand the steps they are taking to achieve that.
Look for their lead generation mechanism (free gift/offer)
A serious online business will always have a way to generate leads.
For instance, in the online coaching industry, it’s a common practice to give away a small preview of the main course or a separate short course for free in exchange for the email address of the prospect.
Sometimes this can be a subscription form for a weekly newsletter.
Whatever it is, make sure you find it.
Sign up for that offer/free gift and become an observer
Once you locate their lead generation offer, sign up for it.
That is when you actually go into their marketing funnel and you will be able to see the exact steps they are taking to convert you from a cold prospect to a buyer of their main product/service which we had found in the last to last step.
Keep an eye on the flow of emails you start receiving. How often do they mail you? What kind of mails are they?
You can even find out the email marketing software they are using. This can be done by clicking on the “Unsubscribe” button below the email. Doing this will usually redirect you to a confirmation page which is offered by the email marketing service they are using. You will be able to see the name of their software in the URL of that page.
Observe their other strategies too
If it’s a solid business, you will even start seeing their retargeting ads on different platforms.
Retargeting ads are shown to people who visited the webiste of a business or took some other action (like signing up for the lead generation offer).
Retargeting ads are where they are expecting majority of the conversions to happen since the prospect is already aware of the brand in question and hence is deep into their marketing funnel.
Basically, you have to become a deep observer of your successful competitors.
The idea is not to copy their business model exactly but to learn from it and implement the strategies in your own business in your own way.
This strategy is one the best because your competitors cannot hide anything from you. That’s because to them, you are one of the people they are trying to convert.
As mentioned before, I recently started a case study series on my YouTube channel where I show you to exactly follow this approach for an Online Coaching business. But you can watch it even if you are in some other type of online business too. I just released the first video a few days back. You can watch this video series here.
Also, let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
Want to learn the entire process of creating and selling online courses and starting an online coaching business?
Then check out my main course called Online Course LaunchPad which takes you from A to Z of launching your first ever online course.