Why You Should Care About Your Competitors

As businesses, we are often too busy and concerned with our own brand, believing that we provide superior quality, service and delivery. Now although this may be true, your potential customers may not always think so. If they did, why would anyone not buy from you?

My favourite question to ask any business owner is: ‘Why would someone choose a competitor over you?’ Think about it. The question may prompt you to identify multiple opportunities for development, ranging from your brand’s visibility and awareness, campaign and ad messaging, product descriptions and website landing paging all the way to sales offers and promotional materials.

The truth is, consumers are now spoilt for choice. Even when a customer seems to know what they want, the decision isn’t black and white. With hundreds of ads presented every day that promote just as many products and services, it’s easy for a user to get lost and lose focus amongst all the ‘noise’. This is especially true for the online marketing space.


Case Study: Online Window Shopping

In 2017, I was involved in a Google Adwords experiment that tried to determine the best ad position and CPC to get the most efficient results from campaign spend. We wanted to gauge at which position users lost interest and stop clicking on our ads. When were we no longer a viable option? The experiment manipulated ad positions, and we tracked when Click-Through Rates [CTR] fell off. We set the bar for CTR at 3%—anything lower and we were no longer relevant.

It’s important to note that the SEM campaign was run within the car rental industry, which is a climate of high competition and equally high consumer demand.

The experiment ran for over 4 weeks. What we found was remarkable—we discovered that no matter what position our ads were presented, CTR remained above 3%. It didn’t matter where the ad was placed, it still received a click. So, what was happening?

The answer was simple: consumers were shopping around!

Our hypothesis was, if you’re looking for a car rental company and want the best possible deal available, you are not going to simply click and make a purchase off the first ad you click on or the first site you visit. You’re going to shop around, so you are most likely going to click on all ads presented and valuate the best deal for you.

So, why does that matter?

Things have changed. Ads delivery and audience targeting are getting better every year, but the fundamental concept remains the same: consumers want the best deal based on what is most important to them.

Refer to our Ad Creation Cheat Sheet for more information on the best ways to capture and research your audience.


Case Study: A Better Deal

Another case study I’d like to highlight was with a client in the patio and decking industry. While click-through rates and website traffic were high, conversion rates were not as positively correlated as we would’ve hoped.

So, I took to the auction insights, got a list of competitors, and visited their sites. What did I find? A better deal. Finance offers, BBQ giveaways, free quotes, anything the competitors could think of to try and sweeten the deal was out there. Admittedly, we believed our client had a superior product, with better quality and track record of success, but it seemed like their audience didn’t care.

Be apprehensive of why users may not be converting on your site. What other options are being presented and what may entice them away from you?


Running Promotions & Setting Expectations

Now that you have a better idea of what your competitors are doing, you and your marketing team are better equipped to plan and run great promotions to get those customers to convert.

man sharing a handshake with someone
Set the right expecations

However, when running a promotion especially to get new clients on board, it’s very important to factor in the expectation you are setting. A lot of times, businesses will run an introductory offer when trying to get a user to commit to a long-term subscription or plan. In most instances, this works. Consumers are quick to grab a deal and sign up.

The vulnerability of this approach, however, is exposed when the true, non-discounted invoice is sent to clients. Customer expectations of low prices would have been previously set and a lot of them may have forgotten the actual price of the on-going service. This is going to create a whole set of headaches for any business to resolve.

So instead, try other ways to get your audience engaged. Try using a ‘good deal’, an add-on, something that your competitors are not offering. People love a bargain, and even more so, they love getting something for free. But here’s the thing, it doesn’t always have to be anything free. Sometimes you just need to emphasise your offering to allow consumers to gauge the true benefit. It doesn’t have to be the best deal, it just has to be a better deal then what your competitors are offering.


Keep an Eye on the Competition

It is paramount to be confident in your brand and offering, but don’t get stuck in your bubble. Know who your competitors are, who else is running ads, what they’re offering and how they’re positioning themselves as different. Having all this information will help you come up with a strategy to distinguish yourself as superior and more favourable.

In the next topic, we’ll discuss ways in which you can keep track of your competition and be on pulse of how you are performing. But for now, ask yourself, ‘Why would anyone choose a competitor over me?’

Ready to work with an online marketing team that’s got a figure on the pulse? Whether you’re in New Zealand, Australia, or anywhere in the world, we can help. Reach out to our digital marketing experts today for a free consultation!


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