Jerry West's Blog

How Well Do You Know Your Competition?

Did you know that you are competing against McDonald’s every day? McDonald’s is a process-driven organization. Their goal is to give you the same experience every time you visit a McDonald’s, no matter where it is. The hamburger, fries and the experience will be the same as it was the last time you were in the restaurant.

That sets up an expectation in the customer’s mind that your business will be like a McDonald’s, meaning your service and delivery will be process-oriented and consistently meet expectations every time. If they are a new customer, they have no experience with you; however, they do have experience with the rest of the world and the offers being made. You need to know what offers they are exposed to and what their expectation for service and deliverability is.

What can you do to make sure that your offer is not only competitive in the marketplace but superior to the current marketplace offerings? That’s easy. You just have to look.

You can see all of your competitors’ offers. There is no hiding. You can do all your competitive analysis with the right research online.

Here are the steps:

Create your PPC campaign and find the keywords that convert consistently for you.

Type a keyword into the search engine that you’re advertising on (Google, Bing, Yahoo!). The websites that are on the first page of the search results are, of course, your competitors.

Click all of the pay-per-click ads that are related to that keyword and print out the associated landing pages. If you have my Kitchen Table Copy course, this is a great time to put that into action. These are your lead capture and conversion-to-sale offers for you to review.

Now compare and find the common offers that the visitor will see as he or she moves in the marketplace looking for the products and services related to that keyword conversation. The key is “the conversation.”

Remember, if you spend 50% of your time studying your competition and the other 50% figuring out how to make a better ad, you will always be ahead of your competition. These sites have a wealth of information that you can use to test and tweak your offer.

When you find something on a competitor’s page that you don’t have, test it against your offer. If it increases response, keep it. If not, discard it. You are using the current market place offers to create a test battery of these elements:

price scenarios
calls to action
lay out
emotional appeal
deliverability options
service options
down sells
shipping options
site searchability
color schemes
e-mail capture mechanisms
free report offerings
form layout
communication formats
telephone display
product layout
descriptions of the product
button size

If you can see an element on the page, it is something for you to evaluate and possibly test. Never say never. In my career, things that I thought wouldn’t have worked have, time and time again.

There is no reason to ever run out of things to test if you are in a market that has at least a fair amount of competition. By using this thinking and methodology, you will know more about your customer, the competition, and the market.

And if your competitor is making unrealistic claims, you can use that in your ad copy, or better yet, in your pitch when you speak to your prospect.

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