In many business classes, I have found it far easier to “sell’” products to those who are actively looking for or are already using competitors’ solutions than it is to “market” my client’s products in the usual places where prospects are looking for said solutions. This article will lay out why I often do this and how you can capitalize on said opportunities, using PPC ads.
Why Competitor PPC Campaigns Work So Well
There simply is no comparison of what it takes to sell a customer who has been pitched before by a competitor vs. who has not. In the case that a person has already been pitched (or already does business with the competitor), the sales conversation immediately migrates to explaining the USP of the product vs. an education course on why the prospect should really care about the value presented instead of the price, saving both time and money. These leads have clear purchase intent and will usually close for more money than those who are not familiar with the finer points of the product or service being offered.
My favorite reason for doing competitive PPC campaigns, however, has to do with determining exactly what the customer/client is interested in before my client speaks with them, tailoring the sales pitch for said prospect and giving them an upper hand, greatly increasing closing rates.
Some salespeople prefer to control the message by speaking to the prospect first, but realistically, this gives them no idea how to actually bid the offer in many cases, much like a game of poker or any other negotiation in life.
Convinced this is the way forward for your business?
Building a PPC Campaign to Steal Your Competitors’ Customers
First, Do Your Research
Before you can make any structured effort to build a campaign to siphon customers away from your competitors, you must to do a couple things:
1. Know exactly who your competitors are. Make a list of every competitor you have by checking both online and off to make sure you can build the best comprehensive list. Make sure to thoroughly check the search engines, directories, and any other place you can think off to fully exhaust your search.
2. Make a list of their weaknesses. If you don’t already have intimate knowledge of your competitors, it is now time to get up to speed on what they are doing and how they are positioning that offer to the public.
My favorite way to know what your competitors are up to is to call them up and hear their sales pitches (I know this is a bit sleazy, but some your competitors have surely already done this to you, so don’t be the only one who hasn’t). Get everything you can from them, including proposals, demos, quotes, or anything else to help you understand how they are hooking their customers/clients specifically.
Also ask them if they heard of your company and what they think of it!
Next, search online for reviews for each one of your competitors’ solutions and see what your competitors’ customers have said about them — what they like and did not like — to get the real story. It is easy to find good information by doing a simple branded search with words like “review,” “scam,” “rip-off,” etc. You can also head over to Yelp, and any industry review sources where reviews often lie.
Finally, read up on any of your competitors’ published research material, such as whitepapers, eBooks, presentations, etc., as well as brush up on any PR they have going on, including guest posts, podcasts, TV, or radio broadcasts they have been involved in.
Once you have compiled this information and know where exactly you really fit in the market, you are ready to capitalize on your competitor’s shortfalls.
Anyone can claim they are better than the competition, but it is far another thing to present exactly how you are better (I don’t care how unethical it might be to badmouth competitors, you can’t argue with the truth).
Executing Campaign Setup
Depending if you are targeting soon-to-be or existing users of the category of goods or services that you sell, your approach will be slightly different. Find where your competitors’ leads and customers are, and decide what type of information will convince them your solution is better. It’s really that simple.
The more time you spend setting this up in detail, the more success you will have with it. Make sure to tailor your ads for each medium you are advertising in, as well as for each competitor brand or product type you are trying to siphon leads from.
The ad copy you use should use to attract people originally looking for your competitors’ product should be there to generate interest as its primary goal, not to hard sell, as hard sells don’t work in this case.
Control the Message Early
Or Spell Out Flaws in the Ad Itself!
Once the prospect is on your landing page, you can present the information you have compiled from your research already conducted for the prospect to consume passively. If your product and information is good enough, the lead will sell themselves.
My favorite way of doing this is to do a side-by-side comparison of what my client sells, so it is clear what exactly the differences are.
If what you have operates longer without a recharge for instance, let people know this!
These Types of Ads Clean Up on Generic Searches Like This
Control the Message While Seeming Independent for Maximum Results
The sensible thing to do is to write one piece of content for each of your competitors’ products and services ahead of time, so you have them ready and can pick and choose for each of the discovered locations where a PPC ad will really make sense.
Again, depending where we plant our ads, we will be either targeting soon-to-be or current users of what your competitor sells, or a mixture of both. Both targets are equally worthy of your efforts.
Create one ad copy type for each medium listed below and send your prospects to the most relevant piece of comparative type of material you have developed and stored in your landing page inventory.
Google and Bing
The first and easiest thing you can do to poach leads from your competitors’ sales funnels is to place a search ad on Google/Bing for each one of your competitors’ branded searches individually. You should target specific terms related to each one of your competitors’ brand and individual product names in your class and create very unique ads for each to maximize your click through, as these leads are hot.
The next place you can go to market to people who already do business with the competitor is Facebook. This is actually very easy: simply post an ad to be shown to anyone who likes the competitors’ brand, which of course is mostly current or past customers but will also include some admirers as well.
Target Competitors Customers by Using Interest Targeting
Then Hit Them With an Ad That Crushes Their Beliefs
The third place you can go to find people who are interested in what your competitors’ sell is Twitter. Twitter will allow you to create an ad based upon specific search phases to show your ads when people search for them or tweet them. You can also target people who follow certain brands, which is another good way to target your competitors’ customers.
People use Twitter search to find reviews right before they buy, so capitalize on this.
Third Party Reviews
Via Google AdWords display network advertising, you can often also advertise to people who are actively looking for information on or reading about your competitors’ solutions themselves, and serve your research to them directly.
How to Do This
You can find related opportunities. Simply use Google’s search engine and type in “brand + reviews” and click to view all relevant search results. Make a list of all relevant search results that run Google AdSense, and bid to place your ads there, restricting targeting on the domains in question by keyword.
Third Party Help Articles
The same way you can find customers looking for reviews, you can also attract people on the Google display network looking for information on how to use the product at hand. Type in “product + help” and “product + not working” to find these opportunities.
My favorite way to find customers who are after your competitors’ products is Gmail Specific Placements. This one works especially well when you can identify keywords in your competitors’ quoting or proposal emails. Just do a simple Gmail ad placement target and keyword “target and bid” for the keyword strings that are in these quotes and proposals to hit your competitors where it hurts.
Target Your Competitors by Both Keyword & Domain to Get Great Results Like These
Hit Them With Your Unique Value Proposition
And Explain in Simple Terms How You Are Better Than the Competitor in Question
Targeting Your Competitors’ Customers Via Domain Targeting
Another great opportunity to gain business with GSP includes targeting people who get a reply from your competitors’ help desk and are likely frustrated using the same methodology. Help desk/ticket software generally always has footprints you can use to do your campaign targeting.
Find the Exact E-mail Domain You Want
And Add That Domain to AdWords for Targeting There
My testing shows these types of offers work best vs. the traditional hard sale approach.
Your goal in any competitive business niche where people are doing business online should be to ensure every one of your competitor’s prospects and customers know about you. If you do your job exceptionally well, your prospects will slowly come back if and when the desire to switch becomes priority.