Use This Advertising Strategy to Get Competitor’s Website Traffic

google adwords on laptop

Table of Contents

How would you like to get competitor’s website traffic and customer’s they paid to attract? It’s easier and faster than you think. All you’ll need is a solid understanding of what make you better and your competitors worse.

Let’s get to it.

Where does website traffic come from?

More than 90% of all searches starts on Google. So that’s the first part where all search traffic comes from. There are really two sources of website traffic; organic search and paid ads via Google Ads. So, if you want to get competitor’s website traffic, you’ll want to understand both of these.

Now, organic search is a function of SEO (Search Engine Optimization). It’s considered a FREE strategy, but don’t kid yourself. driving website traffic with organic search will cost you time and money — even if you use a free tool like Google Analytics for traffic analytics data or traffic analytics reports.

But there’s another way to direct website traffic from your competitors websites to yours. It’s not free, but it just might be your lowest total cost marketing strategy — Google Ads!

How Can Google Ads Help You Advance Your Business Goals

Google ads are a great way to generate new customers, and to get competitor’s website traffic.

But first, you will need to do some research on your customers and your competitors. The good news is that doing this research is FREE. But implementing what you’ve learned isn’t.

Check your competitors website traffic and find the keywords your customers are searching for, run your own ads on Google, and pass through traffic to their website. This is much more difficult than it seems because you’ll need competition analysis to drive results.

We’ll get to that in a minute. But for now, I want you to consider that Google Ads is a serious lowest total cost option to get new customers and get competitor’s website traffic.

What are Google Ads?

Google Ads (aka AdWords) is a pay per click advertising service that shows ads on Google-served search engine results. Google Ads can help you drive new customer traffic to your website because it’s faster and easier than SEO. It’s also typically less expensive than running print, radio or television ads for extended periods of time.

I like to say that Google Ads are a “pay to play” marketing strategy because they help you jump ahead of the line in search traffic.

screenshot of google ads in search

Is Google Ads Right For My Business?

While most paid advertising consultants will tell you that any type of business can use Google Ads, I’m not sure I agree. Some businesses are a better fit for paid ads than others.

Here is my profile of the perfect type of business for Google Ads:

  • You have competitors who are bigger than you and have more money to spend on marketing.
  • You’re a startup trying to break into an established industry.
  • Your business requires you to be working with clients and doesn’t leave a lot of time for sales and marketing.
  • You want a steady stream of prospects quickly.
  • Your clients know exactly what they are searching for – they know what problem they are trying to solve or a specific product they want.
  • You have a local business OR a highly niched business that uses a very specific vocabulary or ad keywords

This article is for the “ALL” Marketing Superpowers

Want to know what YOUR marketing superpower is?

How to Use Google Ads to Skim Customers From Your Competitor

If you’re ready to get website traffic from your competitors, then this is how you do it.

Lior Krolewicz is a Google Ads expert who has successfully used this strategy for his business and for his clients.

Here’s what to do.

Step 1: Identify and research a single target competitor

First, you want to focus on a single competitor and research where your competitors website traffic comes from.

How to check competitor’s website traffic

I use SEMRush. But that’s a paid tool. It does come with a 7-day free trial. Personally, I think that SEMRush is the easiest and lowest-tech tool to use for competitor website traffic analysis. This is why I recommend spending a lot of time on their website, reading the blog, watching training videos and getting yourself ready to do the research. Then you can sign up for the free trial and do all your work while it’s free. If you need more time, it’s $99/mo. So you can extend your research for 30 days and see if you like the tool enough.

What can you learn from your website competitors sites?

  • Analyze your competitor’s brand identity. What does their brand stand for? How are they the same or different from you?
  • What Keywords Are They Using? Look at their organic keyword performance. Do they rank well for those keywords? Is there anything you could do to improve their ranking?
  • Are they using negative keywords? Negative keywords are words that don’t match your products or services so you won’t show in search results when someone searches for them.
  • What’s Their Evergreen Content? Evergreen content is content that stays relevant over time. You can create evergreen content by writing about topics that people care about but aren’t necessarily looking for right now.
  • How Present Are They on Social Media? Look at their social media presence. Does your competitor have any accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.?
  • Does Your Competitor Have Any Videos? How many videos does your competitor have? What topics are they creating videos about? 
  • Do They Have Any Reviews? What are people raving about? What are people complaining about?
  • Are they advertising on social media? You can search for their ads on Facebook by visiting the Facebook Ads library and typing in their name. 
  • What Changes Have They Made to Their Website? What are they featuring now? What have they dropped?
  • What Are They Blogging About? What keywords are they ranking for? Which are they NOT ranking for that you might be able to grab?
  • How Are They Pricing Their Products? How much are they selling per item? How often are they offering discounts?
  • Have They Changed Their Prices Recently? Has something changed recently that may affect how they’re pricing their products

Step 2: Create a comparison table of features and benefits

Every great marketing project starts with creating a feature and benefit table. Here’s what to do.

Start with your competitor and review their paid search campaigns. What products are they offering and what features and benefits are they mentioning? Dig into those.

Remember, if they are already spending money on ads, then the products and services in those ads will tell you what your competitor wants to feature.

Then repeat this process for yourself. Where do you and your competitor offer the same thing or something similar?

How are you different than your competitor?

How are you better?

This part of the process requires you to be brutally honest with yourself, otherwise it won’t work.

Step 3: Make a list of all the ways you are better than them

You can start this list by ways that YOU think you are better. But don’t stop there.

Go over your list and make sure that you’ve created that list from the perspective of your customer. This is critical because the name of this game is to re-direct your “searching customer’s” attention away from your competitor and to you.

So, if you haven’t done so, go back and make sure that all the ways that you are different are ways that are relevant to your customer.

Here’s a tip: Don’t overthink this or edit this. Instead do what I call a “brain dump” of everything that’s in your head as you’re going through this list. This will come in handy in the next step.

Step 4: What could you say to the customer who see’s your competitor’s ad to grab their attention?

This is either the fun part or the hardest part. Go back to the list of where you think you are better and start brainstorming what you might say to that person who is searching for your competitor.

Here’s an example of SEMRush’s ad that’s designed to grab people looking for Moz.

example of how to get competitor's website traffic with Google Ads

Take a super close look at this ad so that you can see all of the steps in action.

Know your audience. You sort of have to be an SEO professional or content marketer to “get” this. SEMRush’s ad team is targeting content marketer’s and since Moz is their biggest competitor and one of the leaders in this space, they assume their audience will go looking for them.

Put yourself in the moment with your customer. Next they become the “searcher” in the moment; typing in “moz” and seeing the Moz ad. What’s the next thing they will do? Read the next one — and what do they see? It STOPS the scroll “Meh” — what kind of ad starts with Meh — oh wait, they are talking to me “Meh — you can do better” – now the searchers mind goes to “How can I do better?” The ad answers your question and piques your curiosity so much that you can’t wait to click.

Here’s another example from Lior Krolwicz.

example of small business getting website traffic from a bigger competitor

In this example, Lior picked a big competitor of his. He did the analysis and wrote an ad that sounds like a “HEY — look over here”

“Don’t hire those guys — REALLY, 100% Results or you don’t pay”

In his analysis, Krolewicz identified a relevant weakness — the fact that this competitor didn’t offer a guarantee.

So, like one of those guys in Little Italy, standing in front of a restaurant, he grabs your attention and tells you something that you might not have known. It’s at least worth a click — right?

Where to Send People From Your Google Ad

What happens after you get their attention and get the click? It’s like inviting them into your home. So make sure that once they come through your door — and to your website you reward them with actual support for what you are offering.

Here’s how Krolewicz did it — he sent them to his home page.

screenshot of Yael consulting landing page for competitive Google Ad

As you can see, his homepage takes over where his ad left off.

Assuming you were searching for the competitor and clicked on his ad, you’d be asking yourself “Who is this guy?” and his home page tells you exactly who he is, what he offers, and so on.

WARNING: What to Look Out For If You’re Stealing Competitor’s Website Traffic

If you want to be successful with taking website traffic from your competitor, then you need to be aware of the following risks and challenges:

It can get pricey: While there may be 1% of the marketers who get killer results for no money, this is the exception and not the rule. Driving website traffic can get expensive. No matter how much competitive analysis you’ve done, there’s no avoiding the testing phase of what actually drive website traffic and what doesn’t.

Competitor retaliation: Be careful. Depending on who your competitor is, you could be in line for some serious retaliation, like people clicking on your link to spend your ad dollars. They can do the same to you and you could get into a pissing match. Tread carefully.

It won’t work forever. This customer syphoning strategy won’t work forever. The purpose of this strategy is to break into a market and grab some new customers. But it’s up to you to create great experiences.

How to Use this Customer-Stealing Ad Strategy on Facebook

Now that you’re a pro at luring customers away from competitors with Google Ads, let’s see how this would work with Facebook Ads.

Step 1: Create a campaign targeting your competitor’s page likes

The first thing you want to do is start creating your ad. In this example, I chose the website traffic goal.

screenshot of how to setup audience for facebook ad

Then, where you define your audience, choose your competitor in the detailed targeting.

In this case, I selected people who were interested in Moz.

screenshot for facebook ad to get competitor's website traffic

You can use this basic targeting feature to target your ad to everyone who Likes the competitor’s Facebook Page.

Create several different audiences. Here are a few examples:

  • Facebook Competitor Pages – write down all your main competitors and locate their Facebook pages. You can either find the business Facebook pages or pages of the founders.
  • Facebook Pages in Search – Type in keywords related to your industry into the Facebook search box. This will give you a list of pages that are related to your industry.
  • Facebook Pages You’ve Liked – If you have liked any pages related to your industry, it means that you think they are doing a good job. To find out more about what these pages are doing well, you can look at your own Facebook profile and see the pages you have liked in the past.
  • Top Fans Page Likes -If you go to the Community tab on any Facebook page, you will see a list of people who like that page. If you click on their profile, you can see other pages that they have liked.
  • Facebook Pages of Brands or Public Figures – One strategy is to think of brands and public figures within your industry. Find their Facebook pages and add them to your list.
  • Related Pages or Pages Liked By -You can find out what pages your competitors like on Facebook. Go to a Facebook page that is related to your industry. Look on the sidebar for “Pages Liked by This Page” or “Related Pages.” These options will help you find competitor pages that you never would have thought of.
  • Facebook Audience Insights – When you are in Facebook Audience Insights, add interests that are related to your business. Click on the Page Likes tab to see a list of pages that the people who have those interests have liked. Facebook sorts this list by how interested they are in those pages. Pay more attention to the pages with a high-interest score.

Step 2: Create a set of messages design to appeal to your competitor’s audience

Based on your research, create a set of messages and images that you think might appeal to the competitor’s audience.

Step 3: Test which audience gets the best response to your messages

You can test which of your audiences respond best to each of your messages.

screen shot of how to let Facebook optimize your audiences and messages

While you can do this in Facebook, my favorite tool for this is AdEspresso — they make this process insanely easy.

Here’s a great article on how to do A/B testing with AdEspresso.

What’s the Payoff For Using This Customer-Stealing Strategy

This customer-getting strategy is wonderful on so many levels. I’m going to outline them here:

Reduces trial-and-error

If you haven’t done a lot of paid advertising, this is a great way to get started. You’ll benefit from what’s working for your competitor and make it work for you.

Focuses your messaging

Instead of analyzing an entire market or industry or doing a ton of customer research, you can start creating messages based on what your competitor isn’t saying or doing.

You’ll become a better sales person

Nothing makes you a better salesperson than gaining a deep understanding of your competitors. Because you have to dig deeper into their products and services, you’ll identify subtleties you may not have noticed in the past that set you apart from your competitors.

How Much Traffic Will You Get?

Search engines drive traffic. But the question you have to ask yourself is how much traffic is organic search traffic and how much web traffic is going to be paid search traffic.

It’s no secret that traffic trends are leading toward having a combination of web traffic come from organic search and other web traffic that comes from paid advertising.

Given those traffic metrics, it makes sense to leverage paid search by doing some digital marketing intelligence and competitor research and skimming some of your competitor’s traffic volume and sending it your way.

You’re already studying your competitor, why not get some new customers to your own site from the effort.

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