How to Ethically Steal Competitors’ Customers

May, 29 2018
Anna Hubbel
How to Ethically Steal Competitors’ Customers #business #marketingstrategy #advertising Click To Tweet

As if attracting new customers for your business wasn’t hard enough, you also have to worry about losing customers to your competition. Getting customers to switch from your competition without appearing desperate makes it even more challenging.

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Targeting your competitors’ customers—convincing them that your business is better than those other guys’s—takes a lot of careful strategies. You want to prove that your product or service is better, and you want to do it while still preserving your ethical integrity. Extensive research is the best way to do this. As the saying goes, knowledge is power. Here are various ways to ethically steal your competitors’ customers.

Identify Your Key Competitors

Who’s offering a product or service similar to yours? How successful or well known are they across social networks?

For example, we all know Coca-Cola and Pepsi are big rivals, as are Verizon and AT&T, Google and Amazon, Instagram and Snapchat. That’s not to say you only have one major competitor; there are likely multiple rivals you need to watch out for. Identify which ones present the biggest challenge to your business and which ones have customers you want in your target audience.

Research Your Competitors’ Customer Base

Look at the customers who are responding to or interacting with your competition’s social media ads and posts. For example, look at who’s commenting on a Facebook or Instagram ad, who’s using hashtags relevant to your competition, or who’s sharing your competition’s content. Take note of the kind of content that appears to generate the most engagement because this will inform you about what attracts your target customers.

Interview the Competitor’s Customers

As you gather more and more information about your competitors’ customers, you can reach out to them for interviews about their customer experience with your rivals. Keep the interviews brief but thorough enough to obtain useful information for your campaign. For instance, learn what it is they like or dislike about your competition or what they want to see more or less of. This is also a good opportunity to demonstrate your business’s excellent customer service. You can even offer a discount or free sample of your product or service as an incentive.

Analyze Your Competitors’ Ad Designs and Performance

After you’ve examined the customer engagement levels of your competition’s marketing content, you should analyze which ad designs and formats perform the best for your rivals. Perhaps your target audience engages more with video demos than with photos or graphics. Or maybe certain color schemes generate more interest than others. Record your findings in a document or spreadsheet to inform your own campaigns.

Offer a Solution Your Competitors Don’t Have

When writing ad copy or creating video marketing messages, we’re always told to communicate to customers how a product or service presents a solution to a problem. If you’re targeting your competitors’ audience, you take that idea a step further: present a solution to a problem that your rival’s product or service doesn’t provide.

For example, while both Gillette and Dollar Shave Club offer a solution to unwanted body and facial hair, Dollar Shave Club offers a slew of other products in addition to razors, such as shave butter, and delivers them straight to your door for one very reasonable price. In this case, the brand is offering the solutions of pre- and post-shave products for skin conditioning and a low price to address problems Gillette does not strongly promote in its campaigns.

Offer Better Customer Service

Research the various customer services your rivals provide and explore ways you can offer even better customer service. For example, if your competitor doesn’t use Facebook Messenger to communicate with its customers, expand your customer service to incorporate Messenger bots. Your target audience may find the speed and convenience of your Messenger bots in addressing their customer needs to be just the thing to sway them over to your business. Even if your product or service is equal in value to that of your competition, excellent customer service can bring the balance in your favor.

Photo Courtesy of Messenger Developer BlogUse Information Facebook Provides to Your Advantage

Facebook tries to make its platform as transparent as possible for users. Part of that effort includes providing information about business’s advertisements. When you see a competitor’s ad in News Feed, if you select the three dots at the top right corner of the ad, you will see the option that reads “Why am I seeing this?” Selecting that option allows you to see a brief summary of the advertiser’s target demographic. You can use this information to inform your own audience targeting.

You can also use Facebook’s interest-based targeting when making Facebook ads to see if your competitor is listed as an interest you want to target. By selecting your rival in this list, your ad will target customers who are interested in your competition.

Use YouTube Ads to Disrupt Competitors’ Videos

If you choose to use YouTube in your marketing strategy, through careful targeting and compelling video creation, you can disrupt your competitor’s videos. All you need to do is make a memorable and stunning TrueView video ad and target your ad to reach anyone who searches for videos by your competitor. When someone starts to watch a video by your rival, your ad will play first.

With all this newly-gained knowledge about reaching your rival’s customer base, before you dive deep into your marketing strategy, you should keep in mind that product comparison might not be the best strategy for your campaign.