Competitors – the thing no one wants to think or talk about but definitely should. Strategically, you could argue that the pie is big enough to make comparisons unnecessary or that it could end up being free promotion for competitors. The last thing anyone wants is to rock the boat or piss anyone off. No one wants a race to the bottom.
But the reality is, if you’re trying to differentiate yourself in a crowded market, acknowledging your competitors will be inevitable. For many startups, especially SaaS companies, this has manifested in the form of competitor comparison webpages, or “comparative marketing” as Intercom calls it. Beyond a simple table with checkmarks next to the company’s name and crosses next to the competitor’s, these in-depth writeups serve as sales tools to differentiate products/services and highlight strengths.
Not convinced? Here are 4 reasons why competitor comparison pages should be part of your website and overall marketing strategy.
Match your audience
It can be tempting to onboard any and every person that comes across your website, especially if you’re in your early days. However, more and more startups are starting to realize the value of filtering potential customers. Gatekeeping your product/service for the right user will help ensure high customer satisfaction and high net promoter scores.
Competitor comparison pages are a great way to achieve this. It takes self-awareness and confidence to show both your company’s strengths and limitations, but it’s definitely something customers will appreciate. Honesty is a powerful sales tactic.
Being upfront will also save time and money for your sales/marketing team as they will be able to focus on potential customers who are more likely to love the product and convert. It’s all about getting the market to understand who you are and having the right customer jump onboard.
Find more definition
Have you ever looked at a startup’s website and thought, “wait, what do they do?” When you’re just launching and talking about new technology, it can be difficult to describe what a product/service actually does in an eloquent and concise way.
While you’re finding the right words, competitor comparisons can help bring more clarity for potential customers as it uses concrete terms and examples. Comparative content defines who you are and what your product is by who you are like and what your product isn’t.
If you’re having a hard time comparing your product to a competitor’s because of how different features are (e.g. Asana vs. Trello, Airtable vs. Google Sheets), focus on what value you’re delivering and how you’re delivering it better.
A great content marketing strategy should cover the full spectrum of the sales funnel:
Top Funnel – Content that attracts new people and raises brand awareness
Middle Funnel – Content that informs interested people of product/service solutions
Bottom Funnel – Content that converts people who are in-the-market and ready to purchase
Comparative marketing content is one of the best ways to target that bottom-funnel audience. When potential customers are looking for a product to solve a problem, they will typically shop around before settling on one solution. Get ahead of the curve and do the research for them by providing detailed competitor comparisons.
Climb the (search) ranks
And where will people go to research product options? Google, of course! As your startup gains more traction, more and more people will start searching keywords like “[your company] vs. [competitor]”. Having competitor comparison pages ready on your website will mean you can drive organic traffic on these search queries.
What’s more is that, depending on the quality and detail of your comparative content, you may also have a chance of climbing the search ranks for your competitor’s branded keyword terms. Yep, that means you can effectively drive organic traffic away from your competitor to your website with comparison pages.
As with all content marketing strategies, competitor comparison pages will take time to build momentum and deliver results, which is why we always recommend getting started sooner than later. Make sure to check out Part 2 of this Comparative Marketing series, where we look at how you can implement this strategy!
Looking to take your startup’s marketing to the next level? Get in touch with us today at firstname.lastname@example.org!