Your competitors probably have many customers. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could win them over and make them loyal to your brand instead? Your competitors would lose customers, you’d gain customers, and you’d be in a position to keep those customers indefinitely.
This isn’t always an easy task, but it is an achievable one, and with the following strategies, you can accomplish it for your brand.
What Drives Customer Loyalty
According to NewPoint Marketing, the best starting point is understanding what makes customers loyal. Factors for customer loyalty vary wildly, depending on your industry, your competitors, and the nature of your target demographics. There are also different individual factors that drive people to deviate from their demographic cohorts.
Still, most loyal customers derive their loyalty from one or more of the following factors:
- Price. We all know people who make their purchasing decisions based almost exclusively on price. And in many ways, it makes sense. Why would you pay more for an almost identical product unnecessarily?
- Quality and consistency. Some people continue buying products from a brand because of the quality of the product, and its consistency of quality. If it’s a food product made from better ingredients, or if the integrity of the product is always super reliable, there’s no reason for a customer to leave.
- Familiarity. Familiarity and nostalgia are powerful forces as well. If you’ve grown up with a brand, or if you’ve purchased from it consistently over the course of decades, it’s going to take a massive effort to get you to change your buying habits.
- Trust. Trust is earned over time. When customers have faith that a brand is going to do right by them, and continue producing excellent products, they have no reasonable motivation to leave.
- Emotional value. Sometimes, people stick with a specific brand because of its emotional value. Having good memories with this brand may be enough to encourage persistent loyalty.
- Customer service. Excellent customer service can salvage a bad experience and make a good experience even better. Even a single amazing interaction could fuel a customer’s loyalty to a brand for years to come – and a bad interaction could lose them forever.
2 Ways to Approach Competitors’ Customers
If you’re going to convince the customers of your competitors that they should leave the brand they know for your brand, you need to have a strong approach. There are two main ways that you can approach competitors’ customers effectively. Note that both of these approaches harness the power of competitive differentiation.
- Exploit a competitor’s weakness. One option is to exploit a competitor’s weakness. For example, if you read reviews for one of your top competitors and you realize that they have awful customer service, you can appeal to those customers by promising exemplary customer service with your brand. If your competitor has tons of customers because they’ve historically had low prices, but they’ve recently increased those prices, you can win those customers by lowering your prices to be more in line with their expectations.
- Emphasize a comparative strength. If your competitor doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses, your only option is to emphasize a comparative strength. For example, does your product or service have an extra feature that your competitor can’t match? Is there something about your brand that makes it more valuable than competing brands in the industry?
Outreach and Initial Interactions
Once you decide on an approach, there are many different strategies you can use to specifically reach people who are already familiar with competing brands.
- Targeted ads. One option is to utilize targeted ads to reach people who you know are already patronizing your competitors. In some cases, you can even advertise based on your competitor’s brand name. If you do this, make it clear that your brand is different and highlight the factors that make your brand superior.
- Product placement and packaging. If you have a product that belongs on store shelves, you can also optimize your product placement to make your product stand out. Featuring your product one shelf higher, or wrapping it in bright, colorful packaging could be exactly what you need to win more eyes and bring more customers to your side.
- Free trials. Do you truly believe in the superiority of your product? If so, people should want to switch as soon as they try it and see how much better it is. This is one reason why free trials are such a popular marketing option for brands looking to convert competitors’ customers.
- Incentives to switch. In economics, it’s understood that people individually respond to incentives. If you provide competitors’ customers with a real incentive to switch, they may abandon their previous loyalty immediately. A deep discount or a special freebie for signing up could be all you need to win people over.
Sealing the Deal
Initially reaching your competitors’ customers is good, and you might get thousands of people to try your product in the process. But if you want those people to stick with your brand, you’ll need to seal the deal with a few additional strategies.
- Master the first impression. Getting a customer to try your product is always good, but that customer is only going to buy from your brand if they’re truly impressed with your product. You need to master the art of the first impression to maximize retention here.
- Make your product/service objectively valuable. Brand loyalty is often so strong that it obscures logical reasoning. If you want any hope of overcoming that existing loyalty, you need to make sure your product or service is objectively more valuable than comparable products and services. Whether it’s price, quality, or support, you need to establish that superiority.
- Provide excellent service, from start to finish. Even if your product is only somewhat better than a competitor’s product, you can win better customer loyalty by offering better customer service.
- Remain consistent. Want to make sure your new customers stick with you indefinitely, rather than crawling back to your competitor? You need to remain consistent. Luring people in with low prices, then jacking those prices up is going to damage your reputation. Providing excellent service, then becoming unreachable is going to force people to leave.
It’s not easy to reach customers that are already loyal to your top competitors. And even with the best strategies in place, there are going to be some competitor customers that are genuinely unreachable. But with a solid approach, and consistent practices, your brand can win over thousands of competitors’ customers and finally get the edge you’ve always wanted.