Bidding on competitor brands in PPC is tempting. Few victories are sweeter than stealing a sale or lead away from your competition. But PPC conquesting isn’t easy.
The search engines know that the most relevant ad for a brand search is an ad from that brand – not its competitors. Quality score on competitor keywords is usually low – after all, few advertisers are willing to list their competitors on their website, and trademark rules often prohibit advertisers from using competitor brands in ad copy. And yet, PPC conquesting can be profitable. Here are five ways to succeed at PPC conquesting.
1. Create Great Landing Pages
A successful PPC campaign begins with a good landing page. Don’t even think about bidding on competitor brands until you have a strong landing page in place. Remember, users searched for your competition – it’s up to you to convince them that you’re a better choice. Show the users how you stack up and why they should choose you over the competition. One effective way to swing users to your side is to use landing pages with a comparison grid, like this:
This advertiser actually grades the market leader, giving them a B+. Notice that they gave them a decent grade that isn’t too low. Giving the competitor an F would seem disingenuous. But a B+ is believable.
They’re also using color effectively, even to the point of putting exclamation points in an octagon shape – the same shape as a stop sign. We’re conditioned to stop and pay attention when we see that red sign.
Good landing page practices also appear on the page – a prominent form, the phone number in three different places, and a suggested package for users to buy.
Other ways to convince conquest prospects that you’re better are:
- Ratings and reviews. Letting your satisfied customers speak for you is more trustworthy than bragging about yourself.
- Free trials or demos. Let your product speak for itself in a risk-free manner. Offering a free trial or demo shows that you stand behind your product and are confident it’s the right choice.
Landing pages that offer something of value are effective conquesting tools, too, especially for complex products or services. Maybe your main offer is a free whitepaper download. You could create a landing page for conquest keywords that offers multiple whitepapers and assets with a single signup, like this:
This advertiser is offering 18 whitepapers and 42 case studies (a total of 60 assets) for free. It’s clear that they really want your business.
Engaging conquest visitors via chat is another way to convince them to buy from you. Proactively initiating a chat to answer questions shows that you’re interested in the prospect’s needs.
2. Use Compelling Ad Copy
Put your best foot forward in terms of your offer and value proposition in ad copy. If you’ve designed good landing pages, this should be easy to do.
What would you rather get: one whitepaper, or 60 as in the example above? Focus on your best offer for conquest terms – if you can, try to beat whatever your competitors are offering.
3. Use RLSA
RLSA, or remarketing lists for search ads, are available in both AdWords and Bing. With RLSA, you can adjust bids and/or ad copy according to past user behavior, the same as you would for display remarketing. But the benefit here is that you’re still bidding on keywords.
Use RLSA to increase bids on users who’ve previously visited your site but didn’t convert. I usually use the maximum +300% bid modifier on this traffic, and it’s worth every penny.
You can also use RLSA to show different offers to those who already visited your site and are now searching for the competition. Give these folks your best possible deal.
4. Use Misspellings & Modified Broad Match
Having trouble getting your ads to appear on competitor brand searches? Get creative.
Try bidding on misspellings of their brand. Bid on “wallmart” instead of “Walmart” and you may have a better chance of getting your ad to appear.
You can also use modified broad match to your advantage.
Let’s say you’re a clothing retailer competing with Walmart. You could bid on “+Walmart +kids +clothing” (without the quotes). You’ll often have a better chance of your ads showing on these longer tail phrases than on just “Walmart.”
5. Bid On ‘Cancel’ Keywords
If you’re in a service or contractual business, adding “cancel” terms to your keyword list can dramatically improve results in your competitor campaigns.
People looking for ways to cancel a service are often disgruntled customers. Show them why you’re better in your ad copy and on your landing pages. Persuade them to switch.
We’ve also seen higher quality scores on “cancel” keywords than on the brands themselves. Consider this example:
Competitor brands have a quality score of only 2. But look at the “cancel” terms:
The lowest score is 4, and one keyword has 10/10! While “cancel” keywords are usually low volume, they have a high conversion potential.
With the right landing pages, ad copy, and strategy, your search conquesting campaigns can be a good source of quality traffic and sales or leads.