If you've been hanging around the 60 Second Marketer for any length of time you know that we're a reasonably nice group of people. So when I wrote the headline about "stealing your competitor's business," I almost deleted it. After all, the business world is one big happy family, right?Well, in some cases we are
one big happy family, but in other cases it's our job to attract new customers to our business
. If we don't find ways to attract new customers, then eventually our existing customers leave through attrition. That can be a death sentence. For example, if you lose 20% of your customers every year and don't replace them, you're out of business in 5 years.With that in mind, I wanted to share an approach that some businesses are using to attract their competitor's customers. I'd encourage you to be careful with this approach since, if used improperly, it can reflect poorly on your business. But if you use it the right way, it can be a great way to acquire new customers.Using Negative Conversion Strategy to Acquire New Customers.
A negative conversion strategy is essentially a way to use social media to monitor comments about your competitors, then target the people who make negative comments about your competitor's brand.In other words, you track comments, then when you see a negative comment, you (gently) introduce your brand to the person who made the comment.The first step is to use one of the many social media monitoring tools mentioned in our free e-book entitled "The 83 Best Social Media and Mobile Marketing Tools for Small- to Mid-Sized Business.
" I've used SocialMention in the example below, which is a free tool that does a terrific job for our needs.The second step is to type your competitor's name into the search bar. In this scenario, let's pretend you're in charge of social media at The Home Depot. If you were, then you'd want to monitor the comments made about your main competitor -- Lowe's.Once you've typed the name of your competitor into the search bar, your next step is to scan the results to see if there's anything of note.As you can see below, if the folks at The Home Depot scanned the results, they'd see that someone made a comment about the staff at Lowe's.The final step is where I'd encourage you to be cautious
. If The Home Depot handled this incorrectly, they'd send a Tweet back to the Lowe's customer that could come across as crass or aggressive.That's not the way The Home Depot wants to be portrayed, so a much more delicate approach would be to gently support the person who Tweeted and perhaps say something positive about their competitor.Here are three examples The Home Depot could use starting with a polite comment leading up to a more aggressive approach (note: I don't recommend using the aggressive approach).
Using a negative conversion strategy can be a very useful approach to grow your business.
- The Helpful Approach (recommended): "Hi, @AnnaCurd. Sorry to hear about your experiences at Lowe's. Virtually all of Lowe's staff are good citizens, so this was probably an isolated experience."
- The Slightly Aggressive Approach: "Hi, @AnnaCurd. Sorry to hear about your experiences at Lowe's. Other alternatives might include @AceHardware, @84Lumber and @HomeDepot."
- The Aggressive Approach (not recommended): "Hi, @AnnaCurd. Sorry to hear about your experiences at Lowe's. Stop by @HomeDepot and we'll treat you right."
But, as mentioned, you have to be careful. As Mark Twain said, "When you sling mud, invariably, you get some on yourself."Next Steps for You:
One Final Point.
- Download The 83 Best Social Media and Mobile Marketing Tools for Small- to Mid-Sized Business which includes a list of the top social media monitoring tools.
- Star tracking social media comments about your competitors.
- Carefully establish a set of guidelines about how you'll respond to negative comments about your competitors. A good starting point is "don't respond." You can work your way up from there.
I introduce the concept of negative conversion to the my consulting clients
. That said, I always encourage them to think carefully before executing the strategy. Once you've created a negative perception about your own brand, it's very difficult to turn that around, so be careful.Jamie Turner is the Founder of the 60 Second Marketer and co-author of "How to Make Money with Social Media" and "Go Mobile.
" He is also a popular marketing speaker at events, trade shows and corporations around the globe.