Want to target an audience that’s already interested in your service offerings? Contributor Tamar Weinberg explains how to identify and capture your competitors’ customers.
Turning your competitor’s customer into your own is a game of love, war and strategy. To do it effectively, you need to capture their attention and then prove you’re a worthwhile investment.
Here are the steps you should take to effectively grow your client base by capturing users who are already familiar with similar services.
As with any strategy of the heart, the first step is understanding what makes your potential customers tick.
Start by asking some questions. What is the competition currently offering? What do their customers like or dislike about it? Can you solve their problem faster? Can you give them a better reward? Can you make it easier for them to get what they want?
This may sound difficult at first, but thankfully, with social media and online tools, it has never been easier. Tools like Mention will help you measure customer sentiment and the volume of social media mentions. Also, check out online review sites such as Amazon, Yelp, TripAdvisor, and even Facebook, especially if your competitor has a local business. Tools like Synup will help you monitor those multiple touchpoints with ease.
It’s also wise to survey your own customers to gain a deeper understanding of why they picked you over the competition.
The one thing your research should reveal is how you can make yourself different — and how to ensure this difference is something your customers actually want.
Ironically, a lot of companies go about innovating and solving problems customers don’t need to solve. It makes little sense, for example, to develop the world’s fastest smartphone when what your customers really want is longer battery life.
Next, you’ll have to get their attention.
At the early stages of stealing, don’t do it outright. If you open by letting potential customers know that you’re only after them because they’re with your competitor, then you’ll just seem predatory. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use that knowledge to your advantage.
Hands down, the best way to engage is by using highly targeted social media advertising. Start with copy that speaks directly to them (using the information you gleaned in the research stage) and target the followers and fans of your competitors’ social media pages.
Facebook and Twitter make it super-simple for you to do this, as they provide features specifically designed for targeting other accounts. For example, Facebook’s Lookalike Audience tool lets you directly target fans of other businesses, and Twitter’s Follower targeting creates segmented audiences based on the businesses or specific thought leaders your customers already respect.
So you’ve got their attention. And they like what they see. That’s great news for you!
Once your competitor’s customers click through from your ad, your only job is to get them to stick around for more.
To do that, you need to woo… not sell.
How do you woo the customer of your dreams? Simple — with a free offer for something genuinely valuable and a landing page with one goal: to get them in your funnel. In fact, this one-two combination is the foundation of content marketing itself.
When creating a landing page, there are a few psychological features to pay attention to:
- go for function and clarity over clever or cool,
- make the reader feel some discomfort,
- evoke a strong desire to remove this discomfort, and
- use color psychology to increase conversions.
There are many landing page tools available, but selecting one that integrates directly with your email provider is the smartest. For example, GetResponse has a squeeze page generator that allows you to create great-looking, mobile-friendly landing pages in minutes and also includes email marketing software, which you will need for future steps in this guide.
Your beautiful landing page worked like a dream, and now you know they are interested, but your work is only half done. It’s the content you provide at this stage that will make them decide if you live up to the promise you made. Get this stage right and you’ve earned their trust, a crucial requirement for doing business.
To hook your competition’s customer, give them just enough to convince them that you are a valuable source of information (or entertainment, depending on your brand). This creates a positive association with your brand name for future reference.
Again, at this stage you’re getting them to reciprocate your interest. You still aren’t selling.
The easy way to determine what content works best is to focus on the complaints or FAQs about your product or industry that you gleaned from your research. Be sure to address their needs without blatant self-promotion, which can be a turn-off.
Instead of starting with what you think your audience might like, reverse-engineer your hookable content by starting with popular content in your niche.
SearchReddit is a phenomenal tool to get you started. Simply enter your niche, product or service and spend some time working through the 10 to 20 most popular entries in the “top” tab. Not only will you automatically discover what content, headlines and keywords are already working, you can also dig into the comments — both on Reddit itself, as well as the original posts, to find out what’s missing.
When it comes to choosing a format for delivering this content, you have several options ranging from e-books to newsletters to video tutorials and more. It all depends on the type of information you’re delivering and the preferences of your audience.
Your prospect just become a genuine lead. They’re hooked. Now what?
It’s time to make that first sale.
The most effective online sales channel is still email marketing, with a recent Econsultancy survey ranking email as the digital channel with the highest return on investment. So if you’re not utilizing email marketing now, you should get started right away.
One important thing to note about maximizing revenue through emails: personalization wins every time. Personalized emails deliver 6x higher transaction rates, but 70 percent of brands fail to use them. This is a powerful opportunity to get ahead of the competition and develop a more personalized relationship with your new customers.
E-commerce powerhouse Shopify also recommends using A/B Testing to optimize open and click-through rates. You can use the squeeze page creator mentioned above to execute split testing on email campaigns, as well, for killer results. Because most new customers will “add to cart” without actually completing their purchase, you should also set up autoresponders aimed at capturing people who abandon carts.
Now that you’ve secured the sale, you may think your work is over, but there’s still one last step.
Retaining customers is all about treating them right.
You got them by outdoing the competition, but you’ll lose them if you don’t keep working to stay ahead. You’ve got to work doubly hard to ensure you follow through on your promises and don’t lose your new customers to a competitor.
Loyalty programs can take many forms and are essential for businesses that want to grow while keeping their current customers happy.
Bonus Tip: Use loyalty programs that provide continuous rewards for each purchase, as opposed to those that require a lot of work for future rewards. They work a lot better.
Learn as much as you can about your target, be a cut above the others vying for their business, capture their attention, and win them over for life by showing how much you care.
The power is in your hands. Use it wisely.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.
(Some images used under license from Shutterstock.com.)