Using Evernote to Capture Competitor Screenshots

Monish SubherwalDesign LeadershipLeave a Comment

I LOVE Evernote. So much so – that I think people at my work call me the Evernote man behind my back.

Why? Because I use it for all design/web screenshot capturing including competitors.

Why Should You Care?

In order to be a design leader, you must think about the business. If you are not aware of the competitive landscape, who will be?

Top reasons why you should care about capturing competitor screenshots:

  1. You need to have an eye on your competitors. Are they responsive? How are they selling their products? What are they doing differently? What can you borrow? What shouldn’t you do?
  2. Leadership is about helping your team and company WIN. You can’t win if you don’t know your competitors.
  3. Most people DON’T look at their competitors. If you are able to articulate what the competition does – you are ahead of the curve and stand out at work.
  4. You don’t want to be stuck in a meeting not knowing what your competition is doing. The opportunity to demonstrate business awareness is then lost.

A lot of people don’t use Evernote. I know I didn’t for years. However, I think anyone who wants to be a design leader should be HIGHLY organized about capturing competitor screenshots.

Evernote helps you do that.

What’s so Great about Evernote?

Prior to Evernote I’ve tried using Google Drive, Pinterest, and our company’s server. However, each one of those methods failed. They weren’t very good at capturing competitor screenshots. Not only that – we really wanted a way to tag multiple images and share them amongst each other – and none of those methods above did all that.

As an Evernote Plus member (and no, Evernote doesn’t pay me to do this – I wish!) – I use the tool as a personal and work journal. Everything I do is in there. Notes, ideas, lists, and yes – screenshots.

Evernote is awesome because it lets you capture screenshots quickly, save them to the Evernote cloud (where your team can all access it), AND tag screenshots.

I want to share with you what I’m doing currently to capture competitor screenshots using Evernote. So the following is a handy guide for setting up an Evernote notebook.

NOTE: You’ll need Chrome to work in order to do any of the following steps.

Step 1: Get you and your team on Evernote and Evernote Web Clipper.

Download Evernote and get an account.

587592D9-14BE-49C6-A401-0F72123FE1EE

Then download Evernote Web Clipper Extension for Chrome.

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Step 2: Create a notebook for saving competitor screenshots

Using your Evernote, create a notebook in Evernote for saving your competitor screenshots. Call it “Competitor Screenshots.”

To create a new notebook, go to File > New Notebook > Synchronized Notebook.

Screen Shot 2015-06-02 at 5.08.36 AM

Step 3: Share the notebook with members of your team.

You can do this by RIGHT CLICKING on the “Competitor Screenshots” notebook, then go to “Share Notebook.”

Screen Shot 2015-06-02 at 5.19.27 AM

Add the emails addresses of your teammates. Make sure “edit and invite” is enabled. After adding email addresses, you can add a personal at the bottom and click “Send”.

This will send an email to your team and create the shared notebook within their Evernote.

Screen Shot 2015-06-02 at 5.20.11 AM

Step 4: Use Evernote Web Clipper, and take screenshots.

Launch Evernote Web Clipper in Chrome. It should be the elephant icon in the top right of the browser. Select “Screenshot”:

Screen Shot 2015-06-02 at 5.26.27 AM

This will launch the scope tool which will let you take a screenshot:

Screen Shot 2015-06-02 at 5.23.01 AM

When done, Evernote will give you a menu with lots of buttons. Under the Organize section choose the notebook you created “Competitor Screenshots” (you can search for it too):

Screen Shot 2015-06-02 at 5.23.38 AM

Lastly, feel free to add tags (I’ve added “homepage” and “yelp” here – but you can easily add “desktop”, “responsive”, or whatever):

Screen Shot 2015-06-02 at 5.24.18 AM

TADA! You’re done! From here on, team members can save any screenshots to the shared Competitor Screenshots folder and everyone can access the latest screenshots.

Now go out and educate your team on the tool and have them contribute to this notebook.

Team Adoption of the Tool

Adopting new technology and tools takes some time. There could be some resistance to change and that’s OK.
To counter resistance, that here are two proactive and powerful mindsets:

  1. Lead by example. If you don’t find the tool useful – no one else will. Keep using it yourself – be ahead of the curve and aware of your competitors. Over time you’ll convince others of its value based on how you are using it.
  2. Find an influential person on the team to adopt it and evangelize it. This could be your boss or co-worker. This person can spread the good word for you.

If 1 and 2 don’t work – people may not be adopting the tool because you haven’t communicated the value of doing so.
Refer back to the beginning of this article on “Why you should care” and adopt the ideas there to help educate others on the importance of capturing competitor screenshots.

Extra: How to Capture Full Pages and How Tagging Works

Capturing the full page

Nothing is ever 100% perfect. There are some complications with Evernote Web Clipper – the primary problem being, it is not possible (currently in Evernote) to capture below the fold.

If you have a large monitor, you can capture the entire page. But if you don’t here’s what I do: I use is a screen capturing tool to save the entire page as a PNG or JPG and import the image into Evernote.

Currently I use Nimbus Screenshot – it’s a Chrome extension. You can download it here. But you can use whatever you want that gets the job done.

screenshot-chrome.google.com 2015-06-01 06-57-35

When you save an entire page through Nimbus, you should then:

1. Go into the Competitor Screenshots notebook
2. Create a new note
3. Either drag and drop the image there OR you can go to File > Attach Files to import the image.

Phew. You’re done. A little pain in the butt, but once you get it – it’s simple.

Using tagging

Tagging is a little wonky in Evernote.

As the creator of the notebook, you can select a tag within Evernote Web Clipper.

As a member of your team (non-creator of the notebook), you will NOT be able to select pre-created tags – which is a little weird.

What you have to do instead is go INTO the note (the screenshot) and tag it there. Then the tag will be enabled for all members of the team.

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