In the unlikely situation that your industry has plenty of business for everyone, then good on you. But, it won’t be too long before your market becomes squeezed by new competitors, all too willing to steal your business and you may have to revisit this post. Let’s be clear about this: competitors would not hesitate to take your business, so you should not think twice about taking theirs.

If, like many businesses, you’re in a tight, saturated or stagnant market then gaining new customers may mean taking customers off your competition to gain market share.

At the end of the day, business is business and if you need to acquire customers from your competitors, then so be it. So, how do you go about stealing these customers?

Poaching Competitors
Poaching Can Be Very Healthy For Your business

Many customers will remain loyal to another competitor: if this is the case, then there’s not much you can do to tempt them away without spending fortunes. However, there are no doubt customers who are unhappy or not too brand-loyal with their current suppliers, so it’s these types of customers who are ripe for the taking. And, what we really mean by all this is, that if you want to improve your market share and gain more customers, you’re going to have to be aggressive in your marketing strategies and go directly for competitor customers.

If your firm trades on the Internet, or it’s a primary vehicle for new business enquiries, your competitors may have a large number of customers online, so the internet can be a very useful when it comes to stealing them. Here’s a few ways that can help you steal your competitor’s customers online.

  1. Poach LinkedIn Contacts
    LinkedIn is a very powerful tool for business to business. Many companies are connected to their client list through LinkedIn. Depending on your sector, it may be easy to identify which contacts are customers, so by checking the LinkedIn profile of your direct competitors, you can reach out to these customers and make them your contacts too. Once you have connected, it’s then up to your influencing and sales poaching methods to explain why your products or services are better than those of your competition.
  2. Get Discount Dirty
    Many companies are resorting to dirty tactics when it comes to stealing customers from their competitors, and you can too. All you have to do is offer a reward (usually a discount) to customers who choose your company over that of your competitors. You could offer discounts if customers prove to you that your competitors have given them a quote or if they provide a competitor’s brochure when making a purchase from your site. Many insurance companies do this by asking what quotes you’ve had so far to renew your premiums. This is one of the best ways to poach customers with little effort, especially these days when most people are looking for great deals. Check out your competitors’ online adverts and advertise in the same places.
  3. Use Twitter
    Steal your competitor’s Twitter followers by tracking tweets about them and then responding to these tweets. It’s easy to track your competition using the search box in Twitter and tools like Topsy and Social Mention are helpful in undertaking this. Monitoring competition social media allows you to check for questions from their customers. If you can respond to their queries before your competitors do, you will be creating awareness of your own, helping to build your company’s reputation, and hopefully result in more customers.
  4. Take Advantage of Facebook
    As with Twitter, it is possible to steal customers from your competitors through Facebook. By checking out your competitors Facebook page, you can see who their followers are and which followers tend to interact the most. You can then target these customers and attract them with offers for your products or services. Facebook is a great way to get more information on the demographics of competitors (age ranges, locations etc).
  5. Go Direct
    Okay, this depends on your industry but often your customers will be visible – you just need to know where to look. For example, if you are a coffee supplier, then coffee shops are pretty visible, and popping in to see them, emailing them or connecting via social media will reap rewards. They key here is not to let rejection put you off. Plug away and it’ll pay dividends – those who shout loudest often get heard.
  6. Point Out the Competition’s Weaknesses
    If you want to entice new customers, you need to show them why your company is better than that of the competition. Create comparison charts that will highlight all the ways in which your product or service is better than that of your competitors. Look to place ads on websites where your competitors’ customers frequent. Mobile phone, broadband, web hosting and software companies often use comparisons this to highlight the features, benefits and prices of their using comparison tables.

    Example Competitor Comparision Chart
    An example competitor comparison chart on Formstack’s website.
  7. Spend Money on Relevant Content/SEO
    If you want to make money, you very often have to spend money; that is just how business works. Your website needs to have appropriate content, and plenty of it, in order to appear higher in the search engine rankings. If you do not have the time to add relevant content to your website or blog, pay a professional copywriter to take care of this for you. A good content marketing strategy will ensure that your site appears higher than that of your competition. Once this happens, you will begin to steal the customers that were previously visiting your competitor’s website.

Bonus Tip: Hiring an SEO company is also an excellent way to improve your website’s position on search engines such as Google. SEO experts use effective tactics to ensure your site ranks higher for the keywords you want to target, and keywords that your competitors and industry target. Most companies have neither the skills nor the time to do this, so hiring an expert is the ideal solution. There are lots of ways expert SEO’s can help take competition customers. Any SEO worth their salt will undertake competitive research: Checking competitors backlinks, forums and other (non-social media) places on the Internet where potential customers reside.

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