Operations

6 Ways To Market Against Competitors With Class

Bill Faeth
Posted on October 1, 2018

Deciding to go toe-to-toe with a competitor is a risky choice. But it’s one you can achieve successfully without stooping to low levels. The key is creating fear, uncertainty, and doubt in the minds of your prospects. (Creative Commons file shot)

Deciding to go toe-to-toe with a competitor is a risky choice. But it’s one you can achieve successfully without stooping to low levels. The key is creating fear, uncertainty, and doubt in the minds of your prospects. (Creative Commons file shot)

Coke versus Pepsi. McDonald’s versus Burger King. Apple versus Microsoft. These are classic competitors who have run ads targeting the other brand. Most, however, avoid saying or writing the name of the competitor on video or in text. Like spies on a secret mission to retrieve stolen gems from a safe, powerhouse brands and small businesses use a set of tools to market against their foes with class.  

Deciding to go toe-to-toe with a competitor is a risky choice. But it’s one you can achieve successfully without stooping to low levels. The key is creating fear, uncertainty, and doubt in the minds of your prospects.

You do that by: 1) Showing you’re an equally formidable, if not stronger solution to problems; 2) Reaching new audiences to spread your influence; 3) Leveraging content and copy to create cohesive and compelling brand messages that convert; 4) Promoting value over price. Here’s what I mean:

1. Up Your SEO Game

Conduct market research on your competitors using tools like SEMRush and Screaming Frog to gain insight into their Search Engine Optimization strategy (SEO). These tools will help you find the target keywords they are using across their websites. If your competitors are focusing on certain keywords, so should you. Once you develop a list of those keywords, ensure the content on each of your webpages far surpasses your competitors’ in quality. This means adding more descriptive and educational content, including relevant visuals that punctuate the information you share. Use your target keyword an ample amount of times without keyword stuffing. Then, select one or two secondary keywords and integrate them into your content to amplify your SEO.

2. Target Their Interested Users On Facebook

While you can’t target by keyword or page likes, you can set your ads up to be shown to people interested in a subject or Facebook page. Use interest-based targeting by typing in your competitor’s name as a specific interest you want users to have to see your ads in their timelines. If your competitors manage any popular magazines or branded blogs, target people interested in those as well.    

3. Expand To New Markets

Increase your client base by branching out to new markets. Think about different audience segments that may benefit from your services and start building sales and marketing campaigns to reach them. Waste less time promoting your services to disinterested markets. Focus your energy, ad budget, and sales resources on creative solutions to your market strategy.

4. Generalize References To Your Competition

Take, for example, the early 2000s Mac versus PC commercials, such as the one where Justin Long and John Hodgman showed the weakness of Microsoft compared to the strengths of Apple. The commercials never mention Microsoft outright, and judge the brands based on the machines they developed.

When marketing against your competitors, adopt a similar approach. Attack a perspective, feature, or emotion; don’t tarnish a business name to get ahead. For example, a limo business could look at TNCs and point out some glaring trends:

  • There are random people driving random cars to pick up other random people, whereas your service is consistent and precise.
  • There aren’t bosses or a hierarchy to ensure rides are carried out efficiently and without incident.
  • They offer services ranging from low-cost to luxury, but is their performance high across the board?

You can take an idea like “convenience” and flip it to make your process seem better than a competitor’s.

5. Leverage Content Marketing

Analyze your competition to determine their strengths and weaknesses. Then, create an education campaign designed to incite fear, uncertainty, or doubt about your competitor by focusing on your strengths (where the others fail). This could include selecting a topic such as “5 Questions To Ask When Picking a Hotel Transportation Provider” and putting information into a format like a white paper, Ebook, short video, webcast, or blog post. Use your social media accounts and ad platforms to drive traffic to the resource and watch your brand authority rise.

6. Compete On Value, Not Price

Define the advantages a prospect receives when they choose you. Instead of pushing discounts and lowering your prices, convey your value in compelling ways through visual ads and sales presentations. If you adopt this mindset, you’ll maintain or increase profit margins while claiming the target audiences you desire.

There are many ways you can combat your opponents without throwing a sucker punch to their guts. Try one (or all!) of the methods I reviewed to win over new prospects and lost clients.

Bill Faeth is the founder of Limo University (www.LimoGrowth.com), Inbound Marketing Agents (www.inboundmarketingagents.com), and 23 additional startups, including Silver Oak Transportation of Nashville, Tenn. As a successful former operator and active advocate for the industry, Bill continues to invest into educating and training operators on how to grow, manage and sustain a more profitable business. You can reach Bill at [email protected] For more columns and blog posts by Bill Faeth, click here.

 

Related Topics: Bill Faeth, client markets, How To, marketing/promotions, Profit Motives, profits, Sales & Marketing, SEO, service pricing, staying competitive

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