If you want your e-commerce business to flourish, it's important that you are either as successful – or more successful – than other companies in the industry.
One way to ensure that you're competitive in your field is by making an excellent product and providing outstanding service.
However, there are some "dirtier" ways to get ahead, and one of those is by stealing clients from others (note: you can still steal them in an ethical way!)
Thanks to the power of the Internet and digital marketing tools, it's possible for businesses to figure out which consumers are doing business with their competitors. If you can figure out who's buying from the competition, you can target those customers, too, and potentially woo them and win them over for your business.
Looking to steal customers from your competitors? Here are some steps that are effective (and legitimate!)
Create a Custom Audience of People Who've Liked Competitor Facebook Pages
Social media platforms are a good way to see who engages with or follows a particular brand or business.
You can use the Facebook Lookalike Audience tool to direct get at other business' fans and followers. You can also create a new Facebook ad set that targets people who've specifically indicated that they are a fan of competing business pages.
When you are setting up the intended audience for your new ad, include your competitor's name in the Interests section of the page. This will target people who have indicated that they are the "fan" of a competitor page, which means they have expressly shown that they are interested in what the company does (if they haven't already bought from them).
You can also market directly to Twitter followers of your competitors by using the social platform's Follower Targeting tool to advertise directly to the audience looking for you. The tool allows you to create very specific ad target audiences of people that follow interests or pages that are similar to yours (or compete with yours).
You can use the tool to target competitor Twitter handles, as well as those of complimentary brands, media outlets that cover your industry, influencers that promote brands in your field, or you can use the similar audiences tool so that you marketing to people who follow pages that are similar to yours.
Utilize Your Competitors' Brand Name as a Google Search Keyword
Many people who are brand loyal get onto a search engine like Google to search for a specific brand's webpage. Studies show that branded queries have a high click through rate on the first half of the first page of Google.
You can make sure you come up in the search results of people looking for a competing brand or product by using a competitor brand name as a keyword in your PPC ads.
For example, you could place an ad with the title [Your Brand] vs. [Competitor Brand]: See How They Compare, then have that ad link to a landing page that has a brief comparison of your company and another, and your company's products to buy.
When you use a competitor keyword, be careful and sensitive about how you execute. For example, don't smear their name, but perhaps offer a productive and informative comparison of products or an explanation of how your companies relate or compare. Also, make sure you use other keywords in ads besides your competitor name.
By treading carefully, you can ensure that you don't create an all-out war, and that your competitors don't also take out a bunch of negative ads using your name, as well.
Review Competitors' Ad Creative
Take a look at how your competitors are advertising to their potential customers, then use that as inspiration for how you'll market to yours.
You can, for example, browse through the ads they're using to market on Facebook, then analyze their ad creatives.
Then, once you've gotten a good idea at what they're saying to potential customers and how they're trying to sell, you can create ad copy that is more effective or refined.
Consider creating ad creative that promotes an aspect of a product or service that your competitor leaves out. Or, make an ad in reaction to your competitors' ad: for example, if they were using ads featuring Batman, why not create an ad campaign that uses the Joker at its center?
Competitors' ad creatives are a great place to get inspiration for your own.
Take Advantage of Gmail for Online Advertising
Google offers more than PPC ads in their search results. You can also place native ads in Gmail, which show up at the top of email inboxes.
Ensure that your emails show up in interested people's inboxes by using a competitor's brand name or domain name as the keyword for your ad.
Your email will show up in interested user's inbox as an ad at the top, but it will look like an email, which will encourage them to open it and read what you have to say in the promotional message.
Look on Review Sites
Scour review sites (like Yelp!, Google, and more) for competitor companies and the reviews that previous customers have left about them.
If customers aren't 100% satisfied, contact them directly and offer them your product or service as an improved replacement.
Finding people who aren't totally happy with what a business has to offer will appreciate a company who can offer them a better alternative (as well as the personal attention).
Ultimately, to win in the e-commerce game, you need to make sure that people are as excited to do business with you as they are with your competitors.
To do that, you can make sure you run your business in an outstanding way – but you can also determine who the people are that are looking for what you're selling, and market directly to those potentially interested buyers.
By developing strategies to steal your e-commerce competitors' customers, you can target an audience you know is interested and make sure you're investing promotional efforts in people who want to buy.