I swear that the headline wasn’t supposed to be click bait and I don’t really mean physically stealing your competitors’ clients (like waiting in a car park and persuading them to use your product instead of theirs)… that’s just plain creepy 😜.
There are a few legitimate strategies you can use though, that are somewhat ethical (depending on your viewpoint) and that the vast majority of switched-on companies use every day.
So, what strategies are we talking about exactly?
The first one is…….
Table Of Contents
Producing a Product Alternative page
If you offer a popular product or service and are in a competitive niche, I can guarantee that your clients are most likely searching for alternatives to your competitors’ products or service. So, how can you legitimately steal them?
By producing a specific post or page on your website with the heading:
“Your competitor name – alternative”
This is where you’d write a blog post or page where you point out the main differences and advantages over using your competitors product or service vs using theirs.
Here’s an example:
Zendesk is one of the most popular help-desk software out there, but there are many alternatives. There will be times when people won’t be happy with their service or have had a bad experience – in which case they’re likely to search online for an alternative. Here’s a quick search I did for “Zendesk alternative” and these were the results:
The three results I have pointed to on this graphic have all adopted this same strategy. The second result by GrooveHQ is one of the best examples I’ve seen of using their potential client’s search activity to steal their competitors’ client. You can see an example of their page here.
Clever stuff eh?
Use Twitter To Find Disgruntled Clients Of Your Competitors
If you don’t use Twitter for your small business, you really should be – Twitter is one of the greatest sources of market intelligence out there today.
Here’s how we instruct our clients to do this very simple task:
At the top right-hand side of Twitter, there’s a search bar. Using the Zendesk example, try a few terms like “Zendesk” “not happy”; make sure you place these terms in brackets to target these terms specifically with a sentence.
Here are the results:
Here’s a nice list of clients that aren’t happy with the Zendesk service (sorry, Zendesk for using you as an example). What GrooveHQ can now do is jump into this conversation by sending them a reply via a reply tweet:
Here’s what that looks like once you press that button:
You then have the ability to say whatever you want in this reply. Our play would be to first say that that you are sorry they are having problems with said company and offer them a free trial or a coupon for your service. You could even insert a link back to your post or page that shows you as an alternative.
Is this stealing, hmmm… maybe, but the client was probably on their way out of the door anyway…
Last but not least and this is pretty aggressive (even by my standards):
Run An Ad
Using the same key words like “Zendesk alternative”, “Zendesk competitor” or my favourite “Zendesk pricing”, you could simply run an ad on either Google or Bing targeting these keywords (obviously you would insert your own competitors’ name here and not Zendesk).
Zoho have actually done this on the original picture I showed:
In this example, Zoho (a competing brand) has set up an ad, targeting Zendesk clients. Anytime certain keywords are searched for their ad will be displayed.
The reason I like the “pricing” keyword is that the client searching is in a “buyer mode”. This is the best time to get their attention and draw them from the original mindset of getting “Zendesk prices”. If you produced an ad, you would send them to the exact same alternative page you produced (just make sure you have a graphic which shows comparison pricing for the two companies.
Are these strategies a little underhand? I don’t think so. Ethical? That’s a harder one to answer… It all depends on how hard you want to go after your main competitors.
Funny thing is, they’re probably doing the exact same thing back to you.
In all honesty, this only works if you’re in a big enough niche with plenty of searches for your type of product or service. If you’re in a small niche, this probably won’t work that well…
Here at Xenmedia, we advise our clients to go with a more organic approach and simply produce a specific page on their website that specifically targets their brand or service as an alternative. We don’t actually recommend going out and placing ads. Not because it doesn’t work, but the benefits aren’t often seen by spending money on this sort of thing.
If you’re unsure, you can always set up tracking to find out just how many clients find your page. This can be done by installing a code via Google Analytics.
So what do you think? Is this something you have done or something you would contemplate? I’d love to hear your thoughts! 👇👇👇👇👇👇