Wednesday, January 30, 2013

    Identifying and Stealing Customers from your Competitors

    Hustler (Photo credit: jonas_l)
    Learn how to reach out to a competitor's customers and shake some sense into them.

    Seeing customers using a competing product is painful, especially since your product is cheaper, faster, more user friendly, better looking, and etc. If only you could show your competitor's customers everything they are missing out on, then you could turn them into your customers.  This blog post lays out a process that I have executed in the past to "poach" customers from competitors.  

    **This process works mainly for web businesses that require users to create profiles or publicly list some identifying information about themselves.  

    Customer information to look for on a competitor's site

    Name and/or Location and/or Picture and/or Company
    Use the information to Google the customer and hopefully find some contact info.

    Twitter handle
    Reaching out to customers via tweets is free and most people do not have a large number of mentions so when they do get one they pay attention. (More about Twitter outreach)

    Facebook profile
    Facebook has implemented paid messages which greatly increase the chance of your message being seen.  In fact, with the advent of the Other Inbox, it is not even worth the effort to send a free message as FB users are not notified when they receive a message in the Other Inbox.  Most FB users do not even know that the Other Inbox exists.  
    LinkedIn Profile
    LinkedIn users will usually list out some kind of contact information in their public profile such as email, website and links to other social media accounts.  Also, most LinkedIn users will also accept somewhat tailored connection invites.  Almost all LinkedIn users share all their contact info to connections via their profile.    

    Finding a customer's email

    Email remains the best converting communication channel.  With some of the information listed above, you may be able to discover an email by running through:
    If you know what company the customer is from, you might be able to grab their email on  This works best for smaller companies or if the customer's company title is readily apparent.

    Checking the registration info of a customer's domain could get you an email, phone number and address.

    Pitching your product

    After gathering the relevant contact information, it is time to build your pitch.  
    • It is best to reach out with social media without selling first, before trying to sell in a cold email email.  
    • Drive prospective customers to specifically built landing pages that show them why your product is better than the one they are using.  
    • Lastly, do not forget to tag your outreach links with UTM codes so you know which distribution channel is driving traffic and converting.

    Expect some Backlash

    The large majority of people do not mind getting these solicitations. However, there is a small minority that consider poaching highly unethical and will make you aware of it. Chances are that you will never convert these people into customers, however, it is a good idea to have a strategy in place to keep the situation from escalating (ie. file a BBB complaint). 

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