competitorsEven with the ever-growing popularity of social media and mobile marketing, email marketing still offers one of the best returns on investment for businesses. This means that it’s crucial for you to constantly stay on top of the current email marketing tactics and trends, particularly focusing on what your biggest competitors are doing.

By analysing what your competitors are doing, you will get a greater understanding of email marketing standards within your industry, as well as enabling you to create a truly interesting and unique campaign. Here are a few of the ways you can keep an eye on your competitors’ activities:

Subscribe to Their Mailing Lists

The first step should be to subscribe to the mailing lists of some of your competitors. Don’t subscribe to too many lists; you’ll only get overloaded with information. Just focus on about 5 of your biggest competitors. Set up a new email address to do this as some companies blacklist email addresses from their competitors.

Pool The Data

Whenever you receive a competitor’s email, make a note of the following points:

  • Type of email: Is it a promotional or relationship building message?
  • Subject line
  • Content: Which of their products or services do they mention?
  • When was it sent?
  • Who was it sent to? Have they appeared to have segmented their list?


Once you have collated this information for a few months, you should begin to see patterns within their campaign. You can then use this information to analyse your competitors’ campaigns.

Once you have spent a few months receiving their messages and collating the data within them, you can conduct a SWOT analysis of their campaign.

SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. By structuring the data you have collected in this way, you will be able to draw conclusions from your investigation, and take action based on those conclusions. Here are some of the things you should be looking for:


Which elements of your competitor’s marketing email are good? This could be anything that strikes you in a positive way. Did it have a powerful subject line or an interesting design? Did the content speak well to the target audience? Was it easy to read?


On the other hand, you should also consider all the elements of your competitors’ emails that strike you as bad. Look out for things like overuse of industry jargon, articles that are irrelevant to the target audience and overly self-promotional content. Also, take the design of the message into account. Is it messy or old fashioned? Does it make any elements of the message difficult to read?


Here, you can look at the ways you match what your competitor is doing, or ways you could improve upon it. See if there are any areas where you think the competitor has missed out information that could be relevant to the target audience. Is there anything that you would have done differently?


The ‘threats’ are the elements of your competitor’s email that would be difficult for you to compete with. For example, have they used an expensive design firm? Do they have a large pool of expert writers? This will help you identify areas where you shouldn’t try to compete.

You can use your completed SWOT analysis to give your email marketing campaigns the edge over your competitors.