A fully comprehensive online strategy features many different types of advertising. Google, Bing, Facebook/Instagram, LinkedIn and more offer paid advertising in several different forms.
One such advertising form, and perhaps the most popular, is the search ad.
On both Google and Bing, search ads allow you to make sure your business shows up when a user searches for specific keywords that you choose.
A high performing search campaign will target your product or service-related keywords as well as your business name. You want to make sure you show up whenever a potential customer is looking for you or what you do.
We’ve touched on branded campaigns in the past, you can read more about them here.
Though, there is an underutilized strategy for search campaigns: competitor ads.
Like a branded campaign, competitor ads target brand names, but they are the names of your competitors.
These campaigns allow your business to show up when a customer is searching actively for a competitor, putting your name in front of more people who need the services you provide.
Why Competitor Ads Are Beneficial
The primary way your business can benefit from competitor ads is by using the brand power of your competitors to boost your name recognition.
For example, if you own a shoe store, targeting the name brand of Adidas will help get your store’s name in front of people who are looking for Adidas shoes.
They will then have the option to choose to go to the Adidas online store or visit your website to order. That user would not have seen your store on their search page had you not been targeting the Adidas brand name in your area.
In the example above, we used a brand that is also a supplier, so let’s take a look at a direct competitor example.
Your business offers pest control services and has a direct competitor in the area in the form of a Terminix location. A user who is in need of pest control services knows the Terminix name due to its national brand power and types in “Terminix near me.”
If you are running a competitor campaign targeting Terminix, your business will show up on that search page and give the user an option for a locally owned and operated pest control provider.
Like the shoe shopper in the previous example, that user would not have seen your business without the competitor campaign.
Downsides of Competitor Campaigns
Before adding a competitor campaign into your digital strategy, you need to make sure your team knows how to handle calls that were originally intended for your competition.
Users don’t always pay close attention to who they are calling from an ad and will assume that typing in “Terminix” meant that the phone number they clicked on will ring to Terminix.
So, when that user calls and asks for Terminix, your team should be trained to capture that lead.
A simple “I’m sorry, this is Bill’s Pest Control, we offer the same services as Terminix, usually at a lower price, how can I help you?” can turn a misdialed call into a new sale for your business.
Too often do we see competitor calls lead to lost opportunities because of a mismanaged phone call.
Ensure your team is well versed in how to secure the lead and sale from these kinds of calls before you engage in a competitor ad campaign, otherwise, your efforts will be all for naught.
It is also a good idea to make sure your landing page can connect the user to your brand as a superior option to your competitors.
If the user doesn’t have a reason to choose you over the brand they were looking for initially, they will bounce off the page and not choose you.
Choosing the Right Competitors
If you are ready to launch a competitor campaign it is important to choose the right competition to target.
Choose just a few (three to five) competitors so you don’t dilute your budget.
Also, make sure that the competitors you choose make sense. Which of your competitors have the most brand recognition? It doesn’t make sense to target lesser-known competition since not many people will be searching for them directly.
Identify national brands that compete in your market, well-established local competitors and anyone that you hear others talk about by name.
Take note of who is running TV ads, mailers and radio advertising, and investigate further.
Do they have a strong social profile? Are they already running ads for the same services you are targeting?
Competitors with multi-faceted branding strategies make the most sense for use in competitor ads.
Targeting your competitors with paid search ads is a great way to capitalize on their brand power and build your own.
You’ll be able to generate more awareness and generate more leads by placing your business in front of people who need your services but chose to search for a brand instead of a service.
Tread carefully when launching a competitor campaign. Train your sales staff to handle calls looking for your competition and turn them into new revenue.
Don't forget to adjust your landing page to offer a concrete reason to choose your business. And make sure you target the right competitors.
For more information on competitor campaigns, contact your marketing strategist or schedule a demo with a consultant in your area.