Your competitors are smart. They know your customers will already be interested in products or services similar to the ones they provide, so it’s very likely they’ll try to attract them away from you. And they’ll probably try in a number of different ways, from using search engines (such as Google AdWords) and social media targeting, to posters near your business.
Winning customers back from your competitors is essential – customers who have shopped with you before and continue to come back become loyal, which can help guarantee future income, giving you and your business more stability.
There are ways you can win customers back and outsmart your rivals. Start with these four simple steps:
1) Shout about your USP
If you completely understand the thing that makes you different from your competitors (commonly referred to as your unique selling point or USP), you’ll be able to clearly communicate why customers should choose you over your competitors. You may be selling similar products or services, but finding what makes your business unique could be the key to attracting and retaining customers. This will help you to grab their attention if you’re advertising in the same place as your competitors.
For example, EasyJet’s USP is its cheap fares, while British Airways’ USP is the high quality of its service. These different USPs appeal to different kinds of audiences, so it’s all about knowing what your ideal customer wants and then offering it to them. Finding what it is you do better than your competitors and then shouting about it is your strongest weapon in your marketing arsenal.
2) Research your competitors
Knowing exactly what your competitors are offering should be the next step in your marketing plan. Take a look on their websites, or visit their social media pages, to see what deals they are offering. If they are offering to beat competitor’s quotes you will have to think of a plan to make your quotes unbeatable – not necessarily by price, but by added value and a clear USP like a great aftercare package or free installation.
Find out how customers feel about your competitor’s products or service and use this information to target them. You could gather this information by asking your existing customers, or searching online for what people are saying about their business. If you spot any weaknesses, think about how your business could solve these problems for customers; this will ensure you always win out over your competitors.
You should also consider joining groups and pages on Facebook that are associated with your business. For example a bakery might join wedding groups, DIY/crafty groups or cooking groups, where members might share their experiences (positive or negative) with cake suppliers, or their own success stories of making cakes. This is your opportunity to respond directly to any negative comments and help to provide a solution, as well as show your experience by providing helpful tips for people trying to bake their own cakes. This will help build a positive reputation for your business.
It’s important to remember not to simply copy what your competitors are doing, but to only use that information to help improve your own business. Not only are those campaigns specific to their business, rather than yours, but it also shows potential customers that you’re not offering anything different – always try to communicate why you’re different, which will help set you apart, rather than next to, your competitors.
3) Capitalise on competitors’ gaps
Chances are your competitors have used some crafty tactics to attract customers from you. These tactics are available to you too and don’t necessarily mean you’re not playing fair. Think about what competitors aren’t doing at the moment which you could do – the gaps in their business which customers don’t like – and shout about it.
For example, if you know your competitor’s customers don’t like that they close early on certain afternoons, you could stay open late. You could offer a free consultation because you know your competitor doesn’t, or even offer money off for anyone who brings you a competitor’s newspaper advert. These tactics may seem underhand but as long as you’re providing something which your competitor doesn’t and you’re filling the ‘gaps’ they’re leaving, people will thank you.
4) Use online advertising
If you want to attract customers online and take them away from your competitors, then there are various different types of online ads you could try. Online adverts allow you to ‘target’ customers very specifically, so the adverts are seen by certain people in specific times and places.
For example, you could use Google AdWords to run a campaign where one of the keywords was your competitor’s name – this would mean your advert might appear in the search results when someone searched for the competing business. Be careful when choosing who to compete against though, as it’s likely big national brand names will be very expensive.
Traditional methods of marketing, such as cleverly placed print or billboard ads, are also effective ways to draw your customers’ attention away from your competitors. If you’re concerned that your competitors are taking away your customers, try these four tactics to help win them back: understand your USP, do your research, capitalise on competitors’ gaps and use online advertising. R