9 Sneaky Tools You Can Use to Improve Your Marketing

Do you want to get better at marketing in order to increase your leads and sales? If so, then you need to be willing to learn from the best. Chances are, you know who the top experts, influencers, marketers, and businesses are in your niche. It’s time to stop learning theory and start learning what works. In this post, I’m going to share with you some sneaky tools you can use to improve your marketing to make your business more successful. Note: Many of the tools to follow will require you to use the free Google Chrome browser, so be sure to download it now. Also note that this article does not advocate swiping from your competitors and sharing with others – this is to create personal reference material only.

1. Use FireShot to capture landing page design and copy inspiration.

One of the most crucial parts of your marketing campaigns will be your landing pages. The squeeze pages you use to capture email addresses for your mailing list, the registration pages you use to encourage people to sign up for your webinars, and the sales pages that sell your products or services to your potential customers will literally make or break your marketing strategy. This is why you need to not only learn from the best, but keep examples of landing page design and copy around for inspiration for each and every one of your campaigns. FireShot is a screen capture extension from Google Chrome that will let you do more than take a simple screen capture. It will allow you to capture an entire web page. This means that if your competition has a mile-long sales letter, you can capture it in its entirety using FireShot. That way, you get the entire copy and design. This tool is especially helpful if your competitor’s have live webinars, limited time offers, or one time offers. Since the pages will be gone, you can’t bookmark them and refer back to them. But you can use FireShot to capture them and save them to your local computer. Use this tool to capture as many of your competitor’s crucial landing pages as you can, especially if you plan to walk through their funnel and capture everything: mailing list squeeze pages, webinar registration pages, core offer sales pages, checkout pages, one time offers, upsells, and downsells. Then name them appropriately so you can find the right inspiration when you need it.

fireshot-sales-page-inspiration

You may want to check squeeze pages, registration pages, and sales pages on different computers / browsers to see if they differ as your competitor might be A/B testing different headlines, copy, and calls to action. That will give you even more inspiration for when you create your own landing pages. If you miss a competitor’s landing page while it’s live, you can also use Archive.org to see if you can capture it from there.  While some website’s block Archive.org’s access so their pages can’t be archived, others will allow you to capture current and previous landing page versions, which can also allow you to see things your competitor’s tested and what their final outcome was in those tests based on the landing page they used with in the end.

2. Download (almost) any video using Video Downloader Professional.

In some cases, landing pages are going to come with supplementary video content or video-only sales letters. In these cases, you will need to use Video Downloader Professional to get those videos onto your hard drive for future analysis and reference. This Google Chrome extension allows you to download most videos that are embedded on any web page, with exception to YouTube videos, which I’ll cover next. Once you download these videos, you can use them as a basis for your own by learning from the scripts your competitors use and by learning from the types of visuals used. Do your competitors get in front of the camera? Do they use slides? Do they use animations? Depending on your niche, product, or service, you may find that the majority of your competitors use one type of video over another. Building a library of these videos will help you gain an understanding of what is working best in your niche to help you accomplish specific goals like getting more mailing list subscribers or increasing conversions for your product or service.

3. Download YouTube videos using ClipConverter.

If you come across YouTube videos that you want to download for reference, use the ClipConverter website. This website allows you to enter a YouTube URL and get the video at that URL downloaded in a variety of formats. To get the YouTube URL of a YouTube video, simply hover over the video and click on the YouTube logo in the bottom left. Even if it’s an unlisted video, it will have a URL that you can use with ClipConverter to get the job done. Note that this site uses popup ads, so when you go to download the video, you will be subjected to an ad as a way for them to compensate for offering a free service. If you have an ad or popup blocker for your browser, activate it before downloading your converted videos.

4. Convert videos with a video converter.

One thing you will find when downloading video off of the web is that a lot of it comes in Flash video format (flv), which is tough to playback on standard video players. Fortunately, Movavi makes video converters for Mac and Windows machines that let you convert the Flash videos to something your favorite video player can handle or something you can download to your favorite mobile device.

5. Record webinars with screen recorders.

Why would you record your competitor’s webinars when you can watch the replay? Well, there are several reasons. First off, not everyone is going to offer a replay. Second, you don’t know when the replay will come down. Third, there are lots of things that often get left out of a replay like the chat in the sidebar or the Q&A period. Hence, if you are planning to either live or automated webinars and need some inspiration, record a few webinars by the best in your niche. Refer back to them to learn how to pace your webinars, what type of video to present, how slides should be formatted, how to pitch your product or service, what kind of questions get asked, and other details. You can use a variety of screen recording tools to accomplish this, including Screenflow for Mac or Camtasia for Windows. Just be sure the one you use allows you to record enough of your screen to get all of the action.

6. Convert videos to audio with an audio converter.

Can’t sit down to watch any of the videos you’ve downloaded? No problem. Movavi also makes audio converters for Mac and Windows that allow you to convert all of your videos into MP3 format and download them to your favorite mobile device. This will allow you to learn from your competitor’s webinar and sales scripts on the go. If you have purchased video courses online to learn more about your niche or marketing strategies, and the course doesn’t offer downloadable material, you can use the Video Downloader Professional and Movavi’s audio converters to download the course videos and convert them over to audio. Taking your training on the go will help you get better at your business in less time. If you prefer reading over listening, you can send the audio file to a transcription service and have someone create a transcript of the sales video, webinar, etc. This would also come in handy when you are drafting your own sales videos and webinars as you could reference text-based inspiration as opposed to pausing and playing video or audio files.

7. Create a database of your competition’s emails with Zapier.

Chances are, you have heard the tip about subscribing to your competitor’s emails and learning from them to improve your own email marketing. But eventually, what you will end up with is an inbox with thousands of emails to sift and sort through. A better way to do it is with a tool called Zapier. This tool allows you to connect two applications and make them work together. For the purposes of creating a database of your competitor’s emails, what you will want to do is create a task in Zapier that takes emails to a Gmail account and parses them into a Google spreadsheet. To do this, first you will need to create a Google spreadsheet to capture the emails. Then, you will need to create a task in Zapier to connect the emails to your spreadsheet. It will ask you to connect your Gmail account, specify something to search in Gmail (such as a label you use in Gmail to archive your competitor’s emails), and connect your Google Drive account with the spreadsheet you want to use to store the emails. You will need to create the Gmail label for the emails and the spreadsheet with columns for the fields you want to capture from the email before using the task template above. Or, if you want to just get email ideas from specific marketers, you can specify them as well. The task setup in Zapier will look like this.

zapier-gmail-to-spreadsheet

Once you get everything set up, the result will be a spreadsheet that looks like this.

google-spreadsheet-email-information

After a while, you will have a huge stockpile of subject lines and opening lines for email to use as inspiration. You will also have a direct link to the email in your Gmail account if you want to go read it to further inspire your email copy.

8. Swipe the competition’s SEO copy with MozBar.

Another piece of copy that is just as important as landing page copy and email copy is SEO copy. In this example, I’m referring to the bit of text people use to make sure their pages are optimized for search results. MozBar is a free Chrome extension that allows you to visit any page on the web and look at the SEO copy that page uses to optimize for search.

mozbar-seo-copy

This tool will show you the keywords your competitors are targeting by showing you what they are using in their page title, meta description, meta keywords, header tags, bolded words, italicized words, and image alt text. With this on your browser, you can skip the expensive and complicated keyword research tools to find out what you need to know.

9. Find out what powers your competitor’s website with BuiltWith.

Have you ever seen something on a competitor’s website and wondered how they did it? What powers their website? What tools do they use? BuiltWith is a Google Chrome extension that you can use to get that info. Simply go to your competitor’s website and click the button. Then scroll through their technology list.

builtwith-website-technology

You’ll likely find out things like their web hosting company, the platform they built the website upon, the analytics tools they use, the plugins they use, the email service they use, and much more. After visiting several sites in your niche, you should have a good feel for what you’ll need to build up yours. Just be wary of copying your competitor’s web hosting company. Chances are, you won’t need something as expensive as them if you are not getting the same kind of traffic they are. Alternatively, don’t pick a bad hosting company based on what the competition uses. Always check for alternatives if something is too pricey or too cheap. 

In Conclusion

As you can see, there are a lot of great free an inexpensive tools you can use to turn your competitor’s marketing strategy into an education in marketing for your own business. Use these tools to get some insight about the tactics that you can apply to your marketing and start getting better results today! Note: I started off this article making the point that I’m not advocate swiping from your competitors  - this is to create personal reference material only. Got any other tools you use for the same? If so, share them below.