Every business needs KPIs to measure success and goals to strive for. But you shouldn’t be comparing your performance to just…well…your own past performance. In order to grow, you need to be aware of where your company stands in relation to others in your market.
Enter: the competitive analysis.
In this post, I’m going to share seven different competitive analysis types and for each one, I’ll define it, give some examples, and provide a template. Get them before your competitors do!
Table of contents
What is a competitive analysis?
A competitive analysis is a systematic method of comparing your business to its competitors with regard to a set of criteria. Systematic, however, does not mean rigid. In fact, competitive analyses are very versatile:
- You can examine direct or indirect competitors.
- You can look at your entire business or just specific strategies.
- There is no right or wrong criteria.
- There are marketing competitive analyses, sales competitive analyses, project competitive analyses, and the list goes on.
It all comes down to what you are trying to achieve. You can use competitive analysis to:
- See where you stand in your existing market.
- Improve performance in your existing market.
- Stand out from your competitors.
- Bring a new product to market.
- Enter into a new market.
The world is your oyster, so let’s get crackin’.
7 competitive analysis templates and examples
With the above being said, here’s a look at seven different types of competitive analyses. Use the examples and templates as a starting point, and adjust them according to the marketing metrics that are most important to you.
1. Basic marketing competitive analysis template
If you’re unsure of what you’re trying to measure or what your specific goals are, here’s a super basic marketing competitive analysis template that pulls together the key things to know about your competitors. This includes:
- Tagline: A short but powerful statement that can help you understand the intended value proposition of the business.
- Target market: Who is their main audience?
- Personas: What types of personalities, lifestyles, wants, and needs do your competitors cater to?
- Top organic keywords: What topics do they specialize in?
- Top paid keywords: Where are they spending their budget?
- Main marketing channels: Email, social, website, listings, reviews?
- Content types: Blogs, guides, videos, newsletters, ads?
- Reviews: Do they have a proactive review strategy? Which platforms do they have the most reviews? The best reviews? The worst?
- Social presence: What channels do they use? How active are they?
- Overall brand voice: What is the look and feel of their brand?
This will give you a big-picture understanding of each of your competitors and inspire ideas for you.
2. SWOT analysis
Perhaps the gold standard of competitive analyses, SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
- Strengths: What do you do well that your competitors don’t?
- Weaknesses: What do your competitors do well that you don’t?
- Opportunities: What do neither you nor your competitors do well, or where can you harness your strengths for a competitive advantage?
- Threats: What could hinder your business growth? Where could your competitors harness their strengths for a competitive advantage?
SWOT competitive analysis example
Here’s an example of a SWOT competitive analysis for a local restaurant:
- Strengths: Excellent location, lots of foot traffic, good reputation among the local community, seasonal menu, eco-friendly brand, locally sourced.
- Weaknesses: Higher costs and longer wait, less brand awareness, single location means limited reach, no online reservations.
- Opportunities: Growing interest in/support for locally sourced/sustainable ingredients; season keeps things fresh and interesting; potential for growth via food delivery apps/technology.
- Threats: Intensifying competition from established chain restaurants; uncertain economic environment; rising cost of ingredients, food delivery apps/technology.
SWOT analysis template
Our SWOT analysis template has a checklist of questions to ask in each category to help you do a thorough analysis and uncover actionable insights. It also is accompanied by a comprehensive blog post that covers everything you need to know about SWOT.
3. Keyword competitive analysis
A keyword competitive analysis will take your keyword research to the next level. With it, you look at your organic and/or paid keywords in comparison to those of your competitors.
The idea is to find out what keywords are realistic to target to outrank your competitors and which ones are not. Because targeting keywords you’re not going to rank for—whether for SEO or PPC, is a waste of time and budget.
Keyword competitive analysis example
Let’s say you are a communication platform that streamlines email, text, and phone communication for home improvement businesses. Your bread and butter (your S in SWOT, if you will) is text automation, and you want to start running PPC ads for it. Perfect opportunity to do a paid keyword competitive analysis.
There are plenty of tools to help you find competitor keywords.
For this example, I put Podium’s domain into Semrush, filtered for keywords NOT containing “podium,” and that have an average position of one, then sorted by traffic to the corresponding landing page.
As you can see, the top keywords include:
- Reviews for google (310 visits a month)
- Converge pay (310)
- Online reputation management (310)
- Hvac marketing (169)
“Sms marketing” is further down the list at 70 visits per month.
It appears as though Podium is more interested in online reputation management and payment processing, so this could be an opportunity for me. Also, with” HVAC marketing” getting comparable traffic, I might want to look further and see if this is a niche Podium specializes in or if this is a particularly fruitful market.
Keyword competitive analysis template
WordStream’s competitor keyword analysis template includes columns for the keyword, search volume, competition, cost per click, funnel stage, intent, competing domain, and corresponding page. There are also two columns where you can mark off whether you’re already targeting that keyword and what the action is—you may need to improve your strategy for a particular keyword, start targeting new keywords altogether, or let some go.
4. 7P competitive analysis
The “7 P’s” refer to the seven elements of the marketing mix. It’s a framework designed to help you understand your own company, but you can also run the same framework on your competitors to identify opportunities for growth. The 7 P’s are:
- Product: Think about specific features around quality, variety, customer support, use cases, availability, warranty, and more.
- Price: Not just cost, but, discounts, payment methods, financing options, add-ons, and more.
- Place: Where is the product or service sold, what channels are most successful?
- Promotion: What marketing strategies do you use? SEO, social, branding, PR, PPC, etc.
- People: What is the organizational structure? How about culture? Skills and talents? Hiring and recruiting methods? For some companies, you can get a pretty good idea of team structure by looking at its employees on LinkedIn.
- Process: How does the product or service get delivered to the customer? Is there interpersonal interaction between business and client? Self-service features?
- Physical evidence: How do you prove that your solution is the right one? What physical assets exist that legitimize your business?
7P competitive analysis example
Here’s an example of a 7P competitive analysis for a video advertising company.
- Product: Video advertising services with in-house videographers for custom ad creative, special proprietary budget optimization technology, and access to a unique network. Also, a helpful website to determine which video ad types will be best.
- Price: Prices are higher than most ad agencies, but because it includes custom design services, budget optimization, and multi-channel strategy, the total cost is cheaper. Plus, more effective ads have lower costs per click and higher ROI.
- Place: Anywhere in the US, as the team can operate and serve remotely.
- Promotion: Able to show its strengths through its own stellar video advertisements, also uses video marketing industry content and DIY how-tos for SEO and website traffic. Not a lot of PR, a big focus on branding.
- People: Large development team heavily focused on the proprietary software, small marketing team as in-house designers produce much of the lead-generating content; large sales team that also shares in customer success. Remote team but prioritizes company culture and social responsibility, helps out in communities.
- Process: Mainly do-it-for-me with regular performance review meetings and some self-serve features and tools.
- Physical evidence: Gallery of video ads and video testimonials created for clients plus its own content on its site. Large YouTube following and even Spotify playlist following.
7P competitive analysis template
This 7P competitive analysis template is a spreadsheet that includes each of the seven Ps and then columns for you to fill in for your business and your competitors. There’s also a column to indicate level of importance for each factor and any key takeaways or action items.
5. Social media competitive analysis
A social media competitive analysis is…wait for it…an analysis of your competitor’s social media strategy in comparison to yours. It’s helpful in getting ideas for social media content, distinguishing your brand voice, finding hashtags, and more.
There are dozens of specific social media metrics you can look at, but I recommend just the basics:
- What platforms are they on?
- Which is their favored platform?
For each platform:
- Target audience
- Tone of voice
- Types of posts
- Posting frequency
- Follower count
Social media competitive analysis example
Here’s an example of a basic social media competitive analysis I did on Chirrp, a texting automation software.
- Platforms they’re on: Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn
- Favored platform: YouTube
- Facebook: 937 followers, 1-2 posts per month, 790 likes, promotional, testimonial, videos and quotes, 1-3 likes per post, #chiirp;
- Don’t be fooled by the cuteness of our little bird… she is the most dangerous marketing tool on the planet
- LinkedIn: 137 followers, only one post, five months ago, for a job listing.
- Chiirp is the ultimate communication and marketing automation toolbox for hind service companies.”
- YouTube: 441 subscribers, 177 videos, 1-2 videos per month; interviews, webinars, and demos promoting the product
From this analysis, I can see that Chiirp doesn’t prioritize social media marketing aside from video and YouTube. From here I’ll want to understand if that’s because of limited resources (in which case this is an opportunity to fill a gap) or because social isn’t the best channel for this particular target market (in which case I shouldn’t prioritize social either).
Social media competitive analysis template
This social media competitive analysis template covers the points above, for the most popular social media networks: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, and YouTube. It also includes columns for top followers, notes, and a link to each profile.
6. PEST competitive analysis
You can think of a PEST competitive analysis as sort of a deeper dive into the threats of your SWOT analysis. As we mentioned, threats are typically driven by factors that are outside of your control. This includes:
- Political: Laws and regulations, taxes, and even political forces that impact the ease of doing business in your market.
- Economic: Inflation, stock exchange rates, interest rates, labor costs, supply chain, sales cycle patterns—anything influencing your ability to make and spend money.
- Social: Demographic and population patterns, consumer behaviors, and cultural shifts that impact interest in your business or products/services.
- Technological: Tools, platforms, and technology that may compete with your offerings or give your competitors an advantage.
PEST competitive analysis example
Here’s a basic run-through of some of the PESTs impacting a communication platform primarily for home service and home improvement businesses.
- Political: New opt-in and consent rules and regulations around texting are ramping up. But this presents an opportunity to create templates, educational content, and product offerings that make these compliance hassles easier.
- Economic: Supply chain shortages and seasonality can dramatically impact any given vertical’s interest in the product.
- Social: With the pandemic over, people are less into DIY home improvement and are turning back to the pros. Also, with millennials and Generation Z getting older and being less interested in DIY home improvement (and more interested in saving the world from itself), the home service industry is expected to grow.
- Technological: AI, combined with personalized automation, presents a huge opportunity for call centers to become leaner and more powerful.
PEST competitive analysis template
Use this PEST competitive analysis template to compare the challenges you’re facing to those of your competitors. And remember, your competitors’ challenges can become your opportunities.
7. Porter’s Five Forces competitive analysis
This framework got its name from Harvard Business School professor Michael Porter, who created it in 1979. The model examines five market forces that affect companies in any industry, including:
- Threat of new entrants: The more players in an industry, the higher the competition, but some industries are easier to enter into than others. The ease with which a new business can enter into an existing industry depends on up-front costs, training, and certifications, as well as the power of existing brands in the space.
- Bargaining power of suppliers: How much power do suppliers have to raise prices which would in turn decrease profitability? This depends on how many suppliers are already in the space and the availability of alternatives and substitutes.
- Bargaining power of buyers: This represents how easy it is for customers to switch from one brand to another, such as for better pricing. When there are few customers and many alternatives, bargaining power is high, not to mention that price comparisons are more accessible now thanks to the internet. (This is why building brand loyalty and truly distinguishing your products and services is so important!)
- Threat of substitute products: Think not just about identical products and services but also different ones that meet the same need.
- Rivalry among existing competitors: When rivalry is high, industry players have to invest more in advertising and sometimes partake in pricing wars, which impacts profitability.
Five Forces competitive analysis examples
- Threat of new entrants: For example, the hotel industry is a lot harder to enter into than say, the home services industry, but home services is still harder to enter into than food and beverage.
- Bargaining power of suppliers: An example here would be in the restaurant industry. Supplies are more abundant for fast food than for farm-to-table, so supplier power would be higher for the latter.
- Bargaining power of buyers: In industries like real estate, hotels, and travel, buyers have access to a wealth of price comparison tools, making buyer power very high.
- Threat of substitute products: Let’s take the beer industry. While spiked seltzer is not the same type of product, it serves the same purpose in many ways, and can therefore be a threat.
- Rivalry among existing competitors: Because of its difficulty to enter, the airline industry has fewer players and therefore higher competition. Add in the high bargaining power of buyers and suppliers and the competition is even more fierce.
Five Forces competitive analysis template
Use this template to examine your business and your competitors with respect to Porter’s Five Forces.
Use these competitive analysis templates and examples to grow your business
A good business measures its performance, but a great business takes a step back and looks at its performance relative to the competition. And now you’re equipped with seven different competitive analysis examples and templates to help you do that.
Which one is best for you? It all depends on what you’re trying to accomplish, whether you’re trying to solve a problem, achieve a goal, or find out something new.
How to Get Clients for Your Agency (That You’ll Love Working With)
You can’t grow an agency if you don’t get new clients. Heck, you can’t even stay the same size, as some clients will leave eventually. And that’s why new client acquisition is always a top challenge for agencies.
AgencyAnalytics proved what most know: getting clients is a constant struggle for agencies.
What’s even harder is finding the right clients. You know, the ones your agency can make successful and that you actually enjoy working with.
That’s why we included tips in this guide that will not only help you get new clients, but also sift out the clients that aren’t a great fit (and will become a drain on your resources).
We’re focused on ad and marketing agencies here, but most of these principles will help any service provider get more amazing clients:
- Generate referrals
- Get reviews
- Network with complementary businesses
- Turn employees into ambassadors
- Share your secrets
- Present fixes to prospect’s problems
- Price properly
- Be active on social media
- Create an ideal customer profile
- Go big on social proof
- Be transparent
1. Generate referrals from past and present clients
Referrals come from happy clients that introduce your agency to new prospects. That means a referred lead already has some trust in your agency, making it one of the most valuable types of leads you can get.
The first step in generating more referrals is simply to ask for them. Reach out to current and even past clients and ask if anyone else they know could benefit from the results you’ve provided.
But to really put your new client acquisition on overdrive, take a page from other high-growth companies and create a customer referral program.
B2C companies like Hello Fresh rock customer referral programs and your agency can, too.
To get your referral program going:
- Choose the offer: Pick an incentive, like a free service or future discount, to give to clients that successfully refer a new lead.
- Make it easy: Create a simple form clients can use to refer other businesses.
- Promote your program: Remind clients during regular meetings and via email so your referral program is always top of mind.
🛑 We’re just getting started! Get this free guide and learn actionable strategies to get new clients, expand your team, and refine your agency offerings.
2. Get reviews
Reviews are like referrals on blast. A single detailed review of your services in a highly visible place like Google can influence hundreds of would-be clients. And since 88% of people say an online review is as influential as a personal recommendation, reviews are an important method to get clients.
Reviews on popular online platforms are new-client magnets.
Of course, the first step in getting great reviews is to provide great service. Assuming you have that covered, you’ll want to attract new reviews in as many ways as possible.
Here are a few tactics you can use:
- Directly ask (here’s a list of templates to ask for reviews by phone, email, and more)
- Add a link with a call to action on your website
- Hand out physical “leave us a review” card
- Include review opportunities in customer satisfaction surveys
Don’t forget to respond to reviews, since most people reading a review also see your response. It’s a chance to celebrate great reviews and rectify the less-than-flattering ones.
3. Network with complementary businesses
Other businesses in your sphere need clients, too. You can help each other out by trading referrals.
LinkedIn is an amazing place to build your professional network. Message complementary businesses and let them know you’ll look out for them if they do the same.
4. Turn employees into ambassadors
Each of your employees has a network and a sphere of influence. As they work in their field longer, their influence grows. Tap into this network by helping your employees become ambassadors for your agency.
Even if it’s just reposting content your agency creates, employees can introduce your agency to lots of new audiences.
An easy way to do this is to ask your team to post about important company milestones on their social media accounts. Maybe it’s your 100th client, 10-year anniversary, or the company retreat. Posts like this help build your brand without pushing a hard sell—something many people would be reluctant to do on their personal feeds.
Another option is to send employees to conferences. Junior team members can benefit from the educational and networking experience. Senior employees could be speakers or panelists. In either case, you’ll have people out in the field drumming up awareness for your business.
5. Share your secrets
Most people will run marketing in house before they turn to an agency. Teach people how to do it themselves, and your agency will be at the top of the list when it’s time to hire.
That may sound counter-intuitive, but some of the biggest modern businesses grew rapidly using that exact technique.
TikTok is a sleeper hit for educating prospective clients with quick, fun videos.
The good news is, there are plenty of formats and channels to educate your future clients. Without getting terribly creative, here are 10 options:
- Produce a blog (bonus points because it’ll help your SEO)
- Create a newsletter
- Speak at conferences and events
- Publish guest posts
- Be a podcast guest
- Create (or co-host) a webinar
- Share educational videos on TikTok or YouTube
- Post content on social media (especially LinkedIn!)
- Create mini-courses on your website
- Hold in-person lunch-and-learns
With a little imagination, you can probably come up with more. The goal is to pick the platforms that you’re comfortable with and that will appeal to your future clients.
6. Present fixes to prospect’s problems
This is an underrated tactic for getting new clients. Google companies in your target niche and see what their existing ad campaigns look like. Make a list of what you’d do differently, then email the company with ideas for them to improve.
This strategy works great for any type of marketing agency because advertising is, by nature, public. You can also use tools like Ahrefs or Moz to learn more about what’s working or not with your prospect’s marketing efforts.
Sure, some will take your thoughts and run with them. But many will want your help to make sure their next campaign is better.
7. Price properly
Agency pricing isn’t just about making a profit, it’s part of your brand. Let’s break this down.
Do you offer a truly a premium option with white-glove service? Then your pricing should be a little higher than your average competitor. Not just to cover the costs of the additional service, but also to signal to clients that what you do is different.
Alternatively, if your niche is helping fledgling businesses get a foothold online, and you do it at scale using automation, then your pricing might be lower. Again, it’s not just about the cost-plus-profit calculation. It’s another way to express your brand.
👋 Want to know how other agencies price their services (plus what they see as their biggest challenges)? Download the free State of the Digital Marketing Agency Report and find out.
8. Be active on social media
But here’s the thing: you can’t just be a lurker. You have to be consistently active to get the benefits of social media.
Don’t just post on social media; reply to comments on your posts and comment on other people’s posts.
Here are a few actions that’ll get you more clients quickly from social media:
- Look for hashtags relevant to your business and join those conversations
- Reply to other people’s posts
- Save your replies and expand on them to create new posts
- Reply to everyone who comments on your posts
- Fill out your profile completely (add links, professional images, and a business description)
9. Create an ideal customer profile
An ideal customer profile (ICP) is a little like a buyer persona, but it focuses more on your client’s organization than just the point of contact. This works well for agencies selling to other businesses, since people change positions, but the company remains relatively the same.
Creating an ICP takes a few minutes, but the time is worthwhile. An ICP will help you find the clients that help you be more successful while filtering out those that’ll drain your agency’s resources.
Here are a few steps you can use to create a basic ICP for your agency:
- List client traits you want to have on your ICP: For agencies, it’ll be things like marketing goals, business model, company size, and industry.
- Review past clients: Where do successful and less successful clients fall in these categories?
- Create a point system: Assign points to each trait (so if your dental clients are always successful and construction clients aren’t, then dental prospects get 3 points and construction prospects get 0).
Place all of this on a spreadsheet. Then continue to refine your ICP based on the success of new clients. Over time you’ll have a foolproof way of finding the best clients for your agency.
10. Go big on social proof
We’ve already mentioned how positive reviews and referrals help you build a fast-growing agency. Social proof does the same thing, only it’s much broader and more flexible.
Splash your awards, reviews, and results all over your website.
Social proof is just about any trust signal that shows people how awesome your agency is. That can be quotes from customers, the total revenue you’ve earned clients, logos of companies you’ve helped, or awards you’ve won.
Social proof can also be long form, like customer stories or case studies.
As you gather proof that your agency is awesome, put that stuff on everything. Landing pages, emails, proposals, anywhere a potential client might learn about your business should be decorated with social proof.
It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of signing a new client. But it’s really important to communicate the realities of working with you at the very beginning. If the truth of what you do and how you do it scares a client away, that’ll save you a ton of headache later on (and allow that client to find the right agency for them).
Here are a few points to make clear as you’re wooing new clients:
- What you can and can’t do: If you’re a PPC expert but haven’t focused on SEO, let the client know.
- Set a communication schedule: Let your new client know they’ll get a review every month and that Fridays are off-limits.
- Set proper expectations: Tell a customer upfront that results will take a while if they’re in a heavily populated market and have a small budget.
- Don’t be afraid to say no: If a client asks for something that will not work, tell them so.
- Put everything in writing: Document each call in an email that you can refer to if there are questions later on.
You may turn a few clients away who have unrealistic expectations. But know that they’ll be back after the agency that lies to them doesn’t deliver.
Learn how to get clients faster
If you don’t have a team of dedicated, experienced business development professionals selling your agency, then you might find it difficult to keep new clients flowing through the front door.
No problem! Just remember these tips and you’ll find plenty of ways to get clients, even without a team of salespeople.
45+ Inclusive Holiday Marketing Ideas (+Examples!)
Diverse and inclusive marketing should be something you aim for year-round. However, it’s all that much more important during the holiday season as the more “traditional” holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving take the spotlight.
There’s nothing wrong with celebrating these holidays and incorporating them into your marketing, but there are other groups and events that individuals in your audience appreciate.
A marketing calendar like this can help you plan your inclusive holiday marketing.
That’s why we’ve rounded up over 40 inclusive holiday marketing ideas and examples so your business can shine bright this season.
Table of contents
Jump to inclusive marketing ideas for…
Inclusive November holiday marketing ideas & examples
To kick things off, check out these inclusion-focused marketing ideas for November:
Native American Heritage Month
If you’re hoping to incorporate Native American Heritage Month into your diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts this season, you’ll be in good company as The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Insituation, and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum all regularly pay homage to this November monthly observance.
Native American Heritage Month is observed annually every November, and it celebrates the contributions the first Americans made towards the growth of the United States. It also honors and reflects on the struggles indigenous American people have endured.
National Day of Mourning
A historically accurate description of Thanksgiving would include the reality of its damaging impact on Native American people, which is why we have the National Day of Mourning every year on Thanksgiving—to remind us of the pain Native American people have gone through, and still may be feeling today.
Here are some ideas for ways your business can pay its respects to Native American Heritage Month as well as the National Day of Mourning:
- Amplify the voices of Native Americans by handing off your Instagram account to a Native American in your community for a day-long “takeover.” They can then go live on your stories or share posts about what Native American Heritage month means to them.
- Loop Native American Heritage month and the National Day of Mourning into your Thanksgiving messaging by sharing more concious content around the holiday’s impact on Native American people.
- Check out the free Native American Heritage Month resources on the U.S. Small Business Administration website. There you can find statistics to share, lists of Native American-Owned businesses to partner with, and more.
- Spread awareness using a social media hashtag. The official hashtag for Native American Heritage Month is #NAHM.
National Adoption Month
There is always a lot of messaging around family during the holiday season, which makes it particularly important to stay mindful of those with non-traditional families. National Adoption Month, celebrated every November to bring awareness to children in foster care, provides an opportunity for this. Here are some ways to incorporate it into your holiday marketing campaigns:
- Avoid using traditional parent roles in your holiday copywriting, like “mom” and “dad” which may make your audience members who don’t have that type of parental figure feel excluded.
- Adjust your content to be more sensitive to those with different family structures. For example, instead of promoting an event as a “family fun day,” try “friends and family fun day” or “festival fun day.”
- Highlight a superstar adoption story in your business’s community. If you have an employee, friend, or community member who was part of an adoption process, ask to share their story to showcase how they inspire your business during this month and beyond.
- Raise awareness about adoption within minority groups. For example, did you know that adoptions done by LGBTQ+ couples only became legal in all 50 states just a few years ago in 2017?
❤Find the right words for your inclusive holiday marketing copy using our free guide to emotional copywriting complete with over 130 words and phrases for marketing with emotion.
Day of the Dead (November 1-2)
Day of the Dead, also known as Dia de los Muertos, is a Mexican holiday that honors the soulds of the deceased. It’s a two-day celebration that starts every year on November 1 and carries into November 2. This colorful and fun holiday is believed to open the passageway between the real world and the spirit world in traditional Mexican culture, so many people of Mexican descent feel they can connect with their loved ones who have passed during this time.
Nearly 20% of the U.S. population is of Mexican heritage, so you’ll likely have audience members who celebrate Day of the Dead. Make your Mexican audience members feel included in your holiday marketing with these ideas and examples:
- Share fun facts or hold a virtual trivia event centered around Day of the Dead to spread the word about the holiday’s traditions.
- Decorate your store or office with traditional Day of the Dead skulls, flowers, and more. Be sure to snap a picture of your temporarily updated decor so you can share it on your company website or social media platforms.
- Honor those who have passed. Have you or an employee ever lost a friend or loved one you’d like to commemorate? Day of the Dead is the perfect opportunity to do so! You could share their story on social media to give your audience a more personalized perspective of your business.
Forget-Me-Not Day (November 10)
Having been around since World War I, Forget-Me-Not Day happens annually on November 10 — right before Veteran’s Day on November 11. Forget-Me-Not Day is meant to honor and remember wounded soldiers who have become disabled due to their time fighting for our freedom.
The number of veterans who carry the weight of service-related physical and mental hardships is very high. In fact, counting only wars from 2001 and beyond still amounts to about 1.5 million veterans in America with a service-connected disability. While wounded veterans should be remembered every day, here’s how your marketing can honor them on Forget-Me-Not Day:
- Donate your time, resources, or (if your marketing budget allows) money to a local Veteran’s organization or shelter.
- Be mindful of your veteran (and civilian) customers who have a disability by focusing on your website accessibility. Take time to ensure your site is easy to navigate regardless of what assistance someone might need. If you’re not sure where to start, check out this complete website accessibility checklist.
Women Entrepreneurs Day (November 19)
Only four out of every ten entrepreneurs in the U.S. are women. Women Entrepreneurs Day, occurring annually on November 19, aims to change that.
This inclusive holiday is much needed, as America is still far behind other countries in terms of women entrepreneurs. In comparison, women represent 50% of entrepreneurs in Latin America and the Caribbean. Here’s how your business can make an impact with this holiday:
- Share surprising statistics about women entrepreneurs through an email marketing campaign or social media post. These are sure to engage your audience while spreading awareness. You can find plenty of diversity, equity, and inclusion in marketing statistics here.
- Partner with a woman-owned business. You could cross-promote one another in-store or online, and offer samples or discounts on each other’s offerings.
- Support the Women’s Entrepreneurship Day Organization. Also known as WEDO, this organization acts as a hub for Women Entrepreneurs Day. On its site you’ll find many ways to elevate your marketing for the day, including events you can attend, ways to donate, custom hashtags, surprising statistics, inspiring stories, and more!
Transgender Day of Rememberance (November 20)
Transgender Day of Rememberance occurs annually on November 20 to honor and remember transgender people who lost their lives due to anti-transgender violence. It started in 1998 in memory of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was stabbed in Allston, Massachusetts that same year.
This inclusive holiday is important to acknowledge because, sadly, these acts of violence are still occuring as 2020 was the most violent year on record for transgender people. Your business can become a transgender ally on Transgender Rememberance Day and beyond with these ideas:
- Donate or volunteer to a local LGBTQ+ organization.
- Spread awareness and acceptance by openly sharing your allyship on your website, social media, local listings, and more.
- If you have an employee, family member, friend, or community member who is openly transgender you could ask their permission to highlight their story in an email send or social post.
- Amplify transgender voices by resharing public speeches, posts, and more from transgender people. You could even handing off your “mic” by allowing a transgender person in your business’s community to do a social media takeover.
Inclusive December holiday marketing ideas and examples
Rosa Parks Day (December 1)
Rosa Parks Day is celebrated twice annually, once on December 1 and once on February 4. This inclusive holiday is to, of course, honor civil rights hero and leader Rosa Parks.
The Rosa Parks story is one no American citizen can forget, as she bravely did not give up her seat to a white passenger after a long day of work on December 1, 1955. This action jumpstarted the Montgomery Bus Boycott organized by E.D. Nixon, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and other civil rights leaders at the time. Here’s how your business can observe Rosa Parks Day:
- Encourage your audience to educate themselves on Rosa Parks and the Civil Rights movement by sharing with them your favorite books around the era. For example, Rosa Parks herself wrote a couple of books, including Rosa Parks: My Story and Quiet Strength: The Faith, The Hope, and the Heart of a Woman Who Changed a Nation.
- Partner with a black-owned business in your community and run a joint campaign themed around civil rights and standing up (or sitting down) for what you believe in.
- Run a Rosa Parks-themed giveaway. There is a Rosa Parks museum at Troy University in Alabama. You could entice your audience to enter to win free tickets to the museum or do a full-on sweepstake by offering a complete trip to tour the museum.
Human Rights Day (December 10)
Inclusivity means making sure all types of people feel like they belong, regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, abilities, etc. That’s why Human Rights Day (occurring on December 10 each year) is the perfect holiday to incorporate into your inclusive marketing this season.
Human Rights Day was created by the UN in 1948 to proclaim the rights everyone is entitled to as a human being “regardless race, color, religion, sex, language, political or other opinions, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.” Show your audience you support the rights of all people with these Human Rights Day marketing ideas:
- Attend a human rights event and share a recap of your experience with your audience to inspire them to do the same. There are plenty of political summits, cultural conferences, and more held on Human Rights Day, so simply being present at an event in your community can spread awareness and inspiration.
- Create a shareable, public playlist of your favorite songs about human rights. There are plenty of inspiring songs your audience will want to listen to, so you could simply build a quick list on a platforms like Pandora, Spotify, Soundcloud, and more. Be sure to include your business name in your playlist’s title so that your audience will think of your brand as they listen. As a bonus, you could have the playlist play for the day in your store or office, and share a quote from one of your top songs on social media.
Also known as the Festival of Lights, Hanukkah is an eight-day Jewish celebration. The dates of Hannukah change each year as it starts on the 25th day of Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar. Hanukkah traditions include lighting a menorah, exchanging gifts, and enjoying cultural cuisine like latkes (potato pancakes). Over 5% of Americans celebrate Hannukah, so here’s how your business can take part:
- The best part of any holiday? The food! Try sharing a traditional Hanukkah recipe on various marketing channels.
- If you’re decorating your office or store for Christmas, stay mindful of those who celebrate Hanukkah as well by including a menorah, dreidels, and more in your display.
- Use our Hanukkah Instagram captions for post inspiration.
- Play off the eight days of Hanukkah by writing a blog post or email that shares eight tips or eight top products for your audience to check out.
Speaking of email, do you have your annual holiday customer appreciation email written? If not (or even if you do), don’t miss our heartfelt holiday email templates.
Kwanzaa (December 26 – January 1)
Kwanzaa is a seven-day African American holiday that occurs annually from December 26 to January 1. Each day of the celebration is dedicated to the following seven cultural principles: unity, self-determination, collective responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith. Work the values of Kwanzaa into your inclusive holiday marketing plan with these ideas:
- Focus on one of the seven Kwanzaa principles and share with your audience how your business strives to embody it. For example, you could incorporate unity or collective responsibility into your video marketing strategy by giving your audience a behind-the-scenes look at the teamwork of your employees.
- As you decorate your store or office for Christmas and Hanukkah, be sure to include Kwanzaa as well. For example, each day of Kwanzaa requires one of seven candles to be lit — which are in an arrangement called a Kinara. You could add a Kinara to your decor, or include other Kwanzaa decorations like traditional African crops such as ears of dried corn and more.
- Try out any of these Kwanzaa Instagram captions.
- Add a twist to one of your products or offerings and refresh it for the Kwanzaa season by changing its name or colors.
Inclusive January holiday marketing ideas and examples
Some of the “bigger” holidays may be over by the time January comes around, but there are still plenty of diverse holidays you can leverage in your inclusive marketing strategy this month:
National Braille Literacy Month
January is Braille Literacy Month because Louie Braille, the creator of the braille system, was born in January. This monthly observance is meant to bring awareness to those who are visually impaired. Here’s how your business can take part in National Braille Literacy Month:
- Audit your website for visual accessibility features and optimize where you can to cater to your visually impaired audience members.
- Share fun facts about the braille system to entertain your audience while spreading awareness of the need for braille literacy. For example, did you know that Braille is primarily created by just six dots? And, there are separate codes used for music, math, walkways, and more!
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day (January 15)
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day occurs on the third Monday of every January to commemorate his birthday on January 15. It’s no secret that Dr. King played one of the most impactful roles in American history as he helped lead the civil rights movement. In fact, this holiday is also often called Civil Rights Day, since Dr. King had such an influence on the civil rights movements during the 1950’s, 1960’s, and beyond. Dr. King’s legacy still resonates today as we continue to strive for equality across the nation. Celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with these ideas:
- Share an inspiring story or quote from Dr. King’s life to celebrate his work with your audience.
- Lead by example by embodying Dr. King’s principle of peaceful protest. Is there a cause in your community or industry that you feel passionate about? Hold a peaceful in-person or virtual event to discuss the topic with your brand’s community members.
National Religious Freedom Day (January 16)
National Religious Freedom Day is celebrated each year on January 16 because the Statute for Religious Freedom was signed on January 16, 1786. This statute created the base for the core principles our country still stands by to this day, and guaranteed freedom to practice any desired religion is one of the privelages Americans rely on. Show how your business cares this holiday season by implementing these Religious Freedom Day marketing ideas:
- If you’re using stock photos on your website, social media, Google Ads campaigns, and other marketing materials, try to ensure you’re using diverse visuals to embrace religious freedom. For example, you might try to include images of women wearing hijabs, or men wearing kippahs or yarmulkes. We share more tips on inclusivity in advertising here.
- Join a National Religious Freedom Day online discussion to share the religion you practice and encourage your audience to do the same. If you don’t currently practice any religion, that’s okay too! Acknowledging the norm that everyone’s religious journey (or lack thereof) is different will be the point of this inclusive marketing idea. Plus, you’ll be building your brand community as you foster an open discussion with your audience.
- Educate your audience on their religious freedom rights by sharing out resources on laws and regulations relating to religious freedom.
💡 Make the most of these inclusive marketing holidays with our guide to the 30 best ways to promote your business year-round.
International Day of Acceptance (January 20)
International Day of Acceptance is fairly new as it was established back in 2010. It was created to foster social acceptance for those with disabilities. International Day of Acceptance happens every year on January 20 and reminds us that people should feel comfortable to be who they are regardless of their varying abilities. Here are some inclusive holiday marketing ideas you can leverage on this day and beyond to make your audience feel more accepted:
- Promote a new product or service offering that’s tailored to the needs of those with disabilities.
- Share helpful resources for your customers to educate themselves on disabilities, acceptance, and allyship.
- Spread the word of this inclusive holiday on social media with the hashtag #dayofacceptance and implement the symbol of acceptance (a wheelchair intertwined with a heart) in your creative elements.
Chinese New Year
Many people assume the holiday festivities end on December 31, but the Chinese New Year keeps the celebrations going since it happens shortly after, between January 21 and February 20 depending on the Chinese Lunar Calendar. The public holiday will last for seven days, but celebrations can go on for 16 days.
Try out these Chinese New Year celebration ideas:
- Share the Chinese zodiac chart on your website or social media so that your audience can check out what their own chinese zodiac would be. For example, 2023 will be the year of the rabbit. Perhaps it will be a special year for some of your customers whose birth year aligns with the rabbit!
- Use our New Year’s Instagram captions to publish engaging and thought-provoking posts.
- Partner with a local Chinese-owned business and offer a special deal to patrons of both your businesses during Chinese New Year.
Make your holiday marketing more inclusive this year
It’s super important to recognize beliefs and perspectives other than our own and to give a voice to minority groups—and clearly, there are endless ways you can demonstrate diversity, equity, and inclusion during the holiday season. So be sure to use these inclusive marketing ideas and examples as inspiration to ignite your own holiday promotions.
To recap, here are the holidays and observances we covered:
- Native American Heritage Month
- National Adoption Month
- Day of the Dead (November 1-2)
- Forget-Me-Not Day (November 10)
- Women Entrepreneurs Day (November 19)
- Transgender Day of Rememberance (November 20)
- Rosa Parks Day (December 1)
- Human Rights Day (December 10)
- Hanukkah (changes annually)
- Kwanzaa (December 26 – January 1)
- National Braille Literacy Month
- Martin Luther King Jr. Day (January 15)
- National Religious Freedom Day (January 16)
- International Day of Acceptance (January 20)
- Chinese New Year (changes annually)
If you’re looking for more resources on growing your business during the holidays, check out these posts:
5 Quick & Easy Ways to Get More Referral Traffic (+Examples)
Search engines (mostly Google) are still the 800-pound gorilla when it comes to generating clicks to your website. But ignoring referral traffic from other sources like directories, social media, and other websites would be a huge mistake.
This is especially true as younger audiences increasingly search for businesses on social media and as referral traffic increased from 3% to over 10% of total traffic for the average website in 2022.
In this guide, you’ll learn the most popular sources of referral traffic, how it helps your business grow, and what you can do to get more clicks from places outside of search engines.
Table of contents
What is referral traffic?
Referral traffic refers to traffic coming from a link on a site that’s not your own. If you clicked the link we added to the introduction of this guide, the website you landed on would count your visit as referral traffic.
By comparison, the other common website traffic sources are search and direct traffic. Search traffic comes from visitors clicking on search engine results. Direct traffic is from visitors that go directly to your website, like if they type your URL into their browser.
Examples of referral traffic sources can include:
- Social media apps like Facebook or X (formerly known as Twitter)
- Online directories like Yelp or Angi
- Just about any non-search engine website like a blog post
👋 Need to get more website visitors? These 25 ways to increase traffic to your website will help you attract interested buyers in droves!
Why is referral traffic beneficial?
If you want to grow your business, attracting more referral traffic is an important step. Here are three reasons why.
Generate more potential leads
At the most basic level, increasing referral traffic means increasing the number of potential customers who visit your website.
But it’s not just more people coming in through your virtual door. It’s people that found you by actively clicking a link that interested them. So if the backlink they clicked is relevant to your website, those visitors have a high intent to learn about, and maybe purchase, what you sell.
Get more traffic from search engines
Backlinks from high-quality websites are a signal to search engines that your website is trustworthy.
Backlinks are still an influential search engine ranking factor, as shown in this graph from FirstPageSage.
As your backlink profile and referral traffic grow, you’ll land on more search engine results pages and generate more traffic from them.
Reduce your reliance on Google
Google is a fantastic source of traffic. But relying too much on a single source is dangerous—especially as Google’s constant updates can greatly affect your traffic overnight.
Headlines like this one from Search Engine Journal show why it’s important to diversify your website traffic sources.
As you diversify your sources of referral traffic, you gain more control over the success of your site. If one source, like search, takes a hit, you can buffer the dip with more traffic from another source like directories.
5 ways to get more referral traffic
So generating more referral traffic is important. But how do we go about getting more of it? Let’s dive in.
1. Get listed in online directories
Online directories are like the phonebooks of the digital age. People look to websites like Yelp, the Better Business Bureau, and Angi (formerly Angi’s List) to find the services and business they need.
Yelp is one of the most popular business directories, but there are dozens of others that will help increase your online footprint.
Ideally, you want exposure on as many directories as possible. But you also want to make sure that your information is current, so no one gets frustrated trying to reach you. You can even optimize your listings with things like images, service descriptions, and reviews.
🚨 Not sure if your directory listings are up to par? Use our free Listings Grader to instantly check your listing information across 20+ top online directories.
2. Submit guest posts
It’s best to focus your guest posting efforts on sites that are related to your business, which means your content will be in front of a relevant audience providing top-notch referral traffic. If you can set up a regular guest posting schedule, all the better, because that allows you to keep your referral traffic from those sources steady over time and increase traffic to your website.
3. Write press releases
Press releases are a quick and easy way to get a wave of fresh traffic from referring URLs. It’s a great idea to do a press release for an event you’ll be hosting or to announce milestones like executive changes, earnings releases, acquisitions, and product launches.
A press release is great for promoting new products or events while generating valuable referral traffic from the publications that pick it up.
But to be honest, if you are paying for a press release, you can write about pretty much anything and pretend it’s newsworthy. Some businesses even send out press releases whenever they get a new client.
4. Get active on social media
Social media sites are also natural contenders for bringing in referral traffic. Plus, there are several options to fit your brand and audience.
Facebook, for example, is fantastic for an older audience and organizing events. TikTok caters to a younger crowd and lets you show off your video flair. And of course, there’s LinkedIn, if your target customer is of a professional mindset.
No matter which social media platforms you choose, make sure your posts have a clear call to action that leads people to your website. That’s how you drive referral traffic from social media apps.
Depending on the platform, you can add CTA links, buttons, or text in the caption.
5. Create link-worthy content
If you want to catch backlinks and increase the traffic you get from other websites, you need the right bait. In this case, we’re talking about content that other websites want to link to.
Here are a few types of content that writers and marketers love to link to:
- Original data: Statistics from a survey or data your app captures
- Infographics: A roundup of statistics or a visual presentation of a process
- Opinionated blog posts: A fresh take on a common question in your industry
Once you’ve created your backlink magnet, share it with publications and thought leaders in your industry so they can link back to your site.
Referral traffic the easy way
Referral traffic is an important source of new potential customers. As search engines get more finicky, and more people search social media platforms, referrals will be an even bigger factor in your success online.
As you think about how to get more website visitors from more places, remember these five quick and easy ways to get more referral traffic:
- Get listed in online directories
- Submit guest posts
- Write press releases
- Get active on social media
- Create link-worthy content
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