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US liquor marketplace replicates competitor strategies, grows revenue from organic search by 38% in 3 months

“Semrush gives us a complete and consolidated interface to do keyword research, but also analyze our competitors. With these tools, we can gauge where we stand in the market, how much market share we can win, and whether the work that we’re doing is effective in winning market share and traffic from our competitors.”
Tom Clarke, Head of Marketing and Content at Frootbat.com

Business Objective: gain search visibility for multiple product categories

In mid-2022, Frootbat, the online specialty liquor marketplace, realized their business relied heavily on one particular product–American whiskey. Of course, the company was initially aware of this potential bottleneck, but seeing Semrush data really clarified the need to diversify their keyword portfolio.

An overview of Frootbat’s online market shown in Semrush Market Explorer

The Frootbat team set out to grow their online presence (and with it, revenue) in categories such as tequila (fastest growing), scotch, and cognac–categories dominated by their competitors (as proven by Semrush). So winning market share in these areas was crucial to their success.

“Our niche is very competitive,” shares Tom Clark, Head of Marketing and Content at Frootbat. “No one really monopolizes the rare spirits industry, particularly in the United States. So, having the ability to assess our competitor’s activities while optimizing our own business has been beneficial.” 

As a result of their SEO campaign, Frootbat not only gained relevant traffic in existing categories but also grew their product offerings using insights provided by Semrush .Trends. 

Read on to learn how they did it.

Solution: replicating competitors’ best practices

Frootbat’s SEO journey started with top-level competitor research. While exploring SERP rankings for their core keywords, Frootbat began to reevaluate who their largest competitors were:

“Semrush was a big influence on our understanding of who was actually the most impactful in our niche. We previously regarded some competitors as small fish, when in fact they're much larger and rank for more high-volume keywords than we assumed,” Tom explains. 

The team decided to dig deeper into their strategy to replicate and surpass their success.

According to Clarke, “Share of visits and Traffic Generation Strategy data in the Market Explorer and Traffic Analytics tools have been the most insightful features for understanding how our competitors drive traffic and acquire customers.”

Organic search proved to be the leading channel for most Frootbat’s major competitors: 

Competitor traffic data compared to Frootbat’s stats in the Semrush Traffic Analytics

Semrush Traffic Trends analysis was key in understanding how others in the space drive traffic and acquire customers, as well as contextualizing who those customers are and how to best approach them.  

Optimizing product pages for the biggest traffic-driving keywords

Next, Frootbat did a competitor keyword analysis using Semrush Keyword Gap. By just entering several domains in the tool, the team got a list of keywords that brought thousands of users to their site but that Frootbat was missing: 

The team began targeting these terms in their own marketing efforts, and their organic search traffic has increased by 49%, up strongly from the baseline traffic growth trend of 22.6%. They are projecting a 2X increase in revenue for the associated products

For example, using these gap insights, the company expanded its product lines and successfully launched new ‘craft’ and ‘artisan’ lines in the bourbon whiskey and tequila spaces. 

Additionally, one of Frootbat’s core best sellers was marketed using a specific product name. This product title was driving good traffic results, however, keyword gap research revealed new opportunities to expand their reach and capture more market share. 

Monitoring the competition over time

After the initial discoveries, the team wanted to continue tracking patterns in competitor behavior, spotting new trends, and analyzing where their portfolios are moving.

When it comes to watching competitors on an ongoing basis, Semrush’s EyeOn tool provided Frootbat a “behind-the-scenes look” into what some of the bigger players in the space were doing. The tool revealed other marketing channels and revenue streams they may not have otherwise explored. 

Frootbat uses EyeOn’s weekly reports to monitor where things are going in their market. They watch competitor marketing activity, track new competitor campaigns, and pinpoint keywords and category niches competitors are pushing on a weekly basis

An example of a weekly competitor update email

With timely data on competitor activity, Frootbat has become prone to acting quickly in response to competitor moves. The weekly reports make it easy to pinpoint competitor actions and respond within 7 days. This is a massive advantage in an industry where new products or categories begin trending quickly, leading the market to engage in a volatile manner. 

“Making sure we’re trending across as many topics as possible is paramount to the business,” says Clark.

In terms of the company’s revenue, staying on top of trending topics has shown huge results. By tracking competitor campaigns and identifying their big investments, Frootbat can engage competitively by undercutting competitors' prices or focusing on certain verticals where opportunities exist. 

Key Takeaways

Monitoring rivals and tracking emerging market trends allows companies to stay one step ahead of the competition. To replicate Frootbat’s success: 

  • Identify trending products, expand your catalog, and promote through the most impactful channels. Find these insights using Semrush.Trends.
  • Gather timely competitive intel and counter competitor strategy shifts swiftly. Use tools like Semrush EyeOn to get a weekly summary of your competitors’ campaigns and keywords.
  • Broaden your reach with marketing targeted toward trending topics. 

As Frootbat’s success shows, fast reactions to sudden shifts in markets and competitor strategies can produce big results. To achieve a similar level of success, ongoing competitor monitoring and regular market research are key activities to place at the forefront of your strategy. 

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