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Intel and inspiration for the world's best marketers.

How to Go Head-to-Head: Great Competitive Comparison Pages

Posted by Ellie Mirman on September 25, 2017.

When you’re in a crowded market, it seems like every sales conversation is a competitive one. “How are you different from Product X?” “We already use Product Y. Why would we need your product?” “I hate Product Z. How are you better?”

There are different approaches to handling these questions - you can go the consultative route, stepping back from the head-to-head conversation and talk about use cases. But sometimes, you can get a positive prospect reaction from a straightforward response on how you compare to the competition. The most confident of competitive companies out there do just that - they put front and center how they are better than the competition.

A targeted search on your industry of choice surfaces some great examples of competitive comparison pages. Here are 6 takeaways from those pages on how best to go head-to-head with your rivals.

1. Let customers speak for themselves

Leveraging customer testimonials serves a dual purpose on a competitive comparison page: (1) social proof from your customers raving about your product/service, (2) staying clean when it comes to speaking against your competition. This example from Zendesk truly highlights the former, leveraging their own customer testimonials in a quickly consumable way throughout the page. For every benefit they tout, they include a related customer testimonial to back up the statement.

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See the whole page →

2. Go broad to address many competitors at once

Kill two (or more) birds with one stone using general comparison pages that detail your benefits over a competitive category. In an industry as crowded as point-of-sale, there are too many competitors to address on individual pages. Toast has taken a broad approach to detail their benefits over each type of competitor, allowing them to tackle many scenarios at once. If the key points are the same, this can help address more customer conversations and make it easier to train employees on how to handle these situations as well.

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See the whole page →

3. Get some SEO mojo to rank for competitive searches

You can use competitive comparison pages in a number of cases: prospect follow up content, internal training, online conversion, and getting found in a competitive market. This last point is key - in a competitive market, your potential customers are likely online searching for details on how different products compare. If you can get your webpages ranking for those terms, you can frame the conversation as it’s happening. To do this, you’ll need to build inbound links and a great place to start is with internal linkbuilding. Klaviyo does this well, by including their top competitive comparison pages in the footer of their website. This way, they are more likely to show in search results for “Klaviyo vs. Mailchimp.”

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4. Don’t advertise for your competitors

One of the potential downsides of creating competitive comparison pages is that it can further promote the brands you want to beat. One way to balance this out is to exclude their logos or other branding from your comparison pages. Below, you can see that Vend made this exact change - removing their competitors’ logos from these comparison pages and simply listing the company’s name. This also provides a visual cue to the reader that the left (branded) column is the “winner.”

Vend-vs-Shopkeep.png

See the whole page →

5. Take it offline

Quite a few companies have taken the approach of turning their competitive comparison pages into landing pages - encouraging the potential customer to have a more in depth conversation. Some companies say very little on their landing page, prompting the prospect to request competitive comparison information. Other companies include reviews, ratings, or head-to-head comparisons. This page from InsightSquared is a great example of sharing hard-hitting high-level information - leveraging respected ratings and reviews - and prompting the prospect to request more detail. From there, the company can get in touch with the prospect to have a more specific conversation about their needs and why this is the best solution for them.

InsightSquared-vs-Domo.png

See more pages →

6. Spruce it up with visuals

Comparison pages don’t need to be boring. Remember, this is yet another opportunity to communicate your company’s brand values and engage your prospects. This example from Intercom has all sorts of personality. Visuals - both screenshots and illustrations - make this a more engaging page that draws people in. It’s easy to scroll through the long page without noticing how much content you’ve consumed, simply because of the pleasant layout and illustrative visuals.

Intercom-vs-Zendesk.png

See the whole page →

How are you approaching your competitive comparison pages? Have other favorites providing inspiration? Let us know!

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3 Ways to Write Headlines That Turn Heads

Posted by Alexandra Cardinale on June 01, 2016.

The following is a guest post by Kimberly Crossland (@SavvyCopywriter), founder at The Savvy Copywriter, LLC. Kimberly is a fierce and curious writer, marketing wonk, and Vice President and Communications chair at the Greater Vail Area Chamber of Commerce.

It’s one of my biggest pet peeves. When I go to a website and the headline only reads, “Welcome to XYZ Company,” I cringe.

Perhaps that’s because I’m a copywriter by trade and this headline doesn’t embrace the power of words. But perhaps it’s something else.

Perhaps it’s because this message feels anything but inviting or informative. It feels unoriginal and unsubstantial. Although the sentiment is well-intended it leaves me feeling like the business doesn’t have a clue who I am or why I am on the website.

I’ll give you this. It’s an easy headline to write, but it’s not the only simple headline. There are other formulas you can follow to help you make a stronger first impression.

Here are a few examples of how you can hit your reader over the head with powerful words that inspire the feeling of, “Wow, THIS is what I’ve been looking for all this time!”

1. Welcome Them

This might confuse you based on everything I just said but hear me out.

If you want to lay the welcome mat out on your website, you can welcome your reader to something other than your company. Welcome her to the benefits of working with your business.

Let’s pretend you have a coffee shop with an inviting store where students and professionals regularly meet. For the sake of this example, we’ll call it, “Coffee Etc.” You could say, “Welcome to Coffee Etc.” or you could say, “Welcome to Coffee, Conversation and Collaboration.”

See the difference?

First, I used alliteration to make the headline easy and enjoyable to read. Second, I incorporated the features the website visitor is hoping to find in the coffee shop.

Instead of assuming your business name will resonate and immediately inspire the feeling you want your buyers to feel, get specific. Show them what they’re being welcomed into.

2. Use Your Brand

Want to have a little fun on your website? Play around with tweaking common phrases into on brand messages.
One company that does this well is Sierra Trading Post. This brand is all about adventurous, outdoor lifestyles. Here is one example of the fun ways they incorporated that into their headlines to capture the attention of their target audience.

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This particular headline sparks your interest with “Be Like Your Dog.” The brand knows that a lot of their customers are dog lovers. Keep reading and you’ll see what they mean. They want their customers to go outside.  

The headline is clear yet clever. It fits in seamlessly with their brand and the items they’re selling.

3. Lead With the How

You’ve probably heard, “start with the why.” This is a spin on it.

The first question your reader wants answered is, “how would this product/service/business make my life better?” Talking about what you offer won’t answer that. You need to lead with the how.

PayPal does a great job of this. Instead of talking about boring financial algorithms and money matters, they focus on how their customers are using PayPal to make their life a little better. Here are a few examples:

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On this page, PayPal shares an image of a couple buying a new home. Right below it, they address the benefit again. It’s fast and easy to send money with PayPal so you can get back to focusing on the very thing you’re buying.

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Here’s another one. “Forget your wallet.” That’s usually a nightmare for people who are out shopping but with PayPal, you can “step to the front of the line” and still pay. They’re telling a story with their headlines about how you’ll use their product.

Takeaways

Your headlines aren’t an area where you want to stuff keywords and tell, tell, tell. You can sell your stuff with creative messaging that paints a picture for your website visitor about why he will want to work with you.

I’m collecting several of my favorite headlines on Crayon.co. And if you’re not sure how to use Crayon during the brainstorming process, check out my best tips for finding copywriting inspiration from this great website.

4 Before & After Copywriting Tweaks to Increase Conversions

Posted by Chelsea Baldwin on May 19, 2016.

I’ve been known to write a hard-hitting, cognitively intense copywriting tutorial or two.

But today I’m going to bypass all the psychological reverse-engineering and show you ways you can improve the relevance and resonance of your landing page’s hooks from the instant readers look at them.

Which is important, because as avid users of the internet, we all proactively ignore so much that ignoring things has become the default setting for our us.

Think about it—of all the websites you opened at work yesterday, how many of them do you actually remember well enough that you could find them again if your browsing history was erased?

So when you want people to remember you, you need to do things a little differently than everyone else in your industry is doing.

And fortunately, it often only takes a few little tweaks here and there to achieve the resonance you’re looking for.

In this post, I’ll walk you through four different hooks that can very easily be made better with a few tiny copywriting tweaks and hopefully it’ll help you find ways to optimize the hooks on your own landing pages… so you can decrease your bounce rates and increase your conversion rates.

1. Sitefinity

Sitefinity is a content management and digital marketing platform that helps people grow their businesses.

On this page, they’re offering a lead magnet to help their prospects know how to grow their business while putting more people into their sales funnel.

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Terms like “data-driven marketing” and “drive growth” aren’t inherently bad on their own, but they do little to speak to the actual pain points of marketers who would need Sitefinity’s services.

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By turning the jargon on it’s head and incorporating daily pain points marketers face, I’ve made this hook way more interesting to their potential target market.

Think about it, do you think “YESSS!!!” when you read “Data-Driven Marketing”? Probably not.

But when you read “Stop Number-Crunching & Start Using Data to Grow”, you’re suddenly way more interested because I’ve promised to eliminate a major pain point and deliver the result you’re looking for.

2. Results.com

This company offers business management software to help companies look at all their management pieces from the bigger picture to make sure absolutely everything is optimized for the best possible result.

The page we’re looking at, though, is their hiring page.

The on their website you’d land on if you decided you wanted to work for this company and were checking for openings that fit your skill set.

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The company makes it clear that they want only the best. But they use vague language that isn’t really clear how this differentiates them from any other company out there. Because we all only want to hire the best, after all. Plus, the talk of their manifesto is confusing. I searched their website and it wasn’t easy to find anywhere.

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Here, I’ve used the main headline to make it clear that this page is about hiring and not anything else. Below it, I got rid of the confusing manifesto speak and replaced it with language that explains what they actually meant, but in a way that entices quality people to continue the application process.

3. HourlyNerd

This is a landing page for a webinar HourlyNerd hosted back in November on public speaking.

The first example here is actually pretty good—if they’ve done their marketing right, then the people who land here will be the ones looking for advice on how to not make fools of themselves while speaking in public, which the headline promises.

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The headline promises exactly what the webinar will deliver—which is exactly what their target audience is looking for. But there is some missed opportunity to resonate with the audience on a deeper level and get them to literally say “yes” in their minds.

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Do you see how this modification also promises exactly what the webinar will deliver and still speaks to exactly what the target audience is looking for? But this time, I used the main headline to speak to real situations and feelings the reader is experiencing and get them to say “yes” to what I’m offering not once, but twice… building momentum towards them registering for the webinar.

4. Co-Construct

So many times, good businesses fall into the trap of saying what everyone else in their industry says about their products. Which is understandable, especially if you’re just trying to get a decent landing page up and you’re not a nerdy copywriter that loves playing with words.

What results, though, are vague statements that kind of mean something, but don’t get to the heart of the matter and the reason prospects are shopping around on your site.

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Co-Construct is a great company with a lot to brag about. But the fact that they sell a home building software is repeated twice, “#1 Highest Rated” is a bit redundant, and though they speak to pain points in the video, they don’t do it with their text.

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In this revision, I’ve kept their trademarked statement at the top, cleared out redundancies to make the text more impactful, and used the sub-heading to both speak directly to the annoying pain points outlined in the video and show off their awesome guarantee. The wording is also more conversational and less “stiff professional”, making readers feel more at home on the site.

Conclusion

None of these changes were very hard to make. In fact, all I had to do was step back, look at the business from the perspective and pain points of the customer, and ask myself how this company could resonate with me better.

I tweaked the text to include a promise to end those annoying pain points, and suddenly the offering is much more interesting to potential clients, which would increase conversion rates.

Author Bio

Chelsea Baldwin is the founder of Copy Power, where she teaches business owners, marketing professionals, and other copywriters how to reverse-engineer copywriting based on reader psychology, brain cues, and thought processes. She also runs Copy Power TV, where she live-edits the copywriting of websites in different industries to show viewers how they can improve the conversions of their own websites.

50 Headlines Containing 5 Words or Less

Posted by Dan Slagen on January 10, 2016.

Concise headlines are a struggle for a number of marketing teams. While the purpose of copywriting is to quickly convince a visitor to take an action, too many times websites are overloaded with superflouous copy and boring industry jargon.

Your headline should be concise, compelling and convincing enough to produce an action from visitors. Is your headline 5 words or less? If not, check out these examples!

1. The Home Page on tictail.com

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2. The Home Page on chegg.com

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3. The Home Page on harrys.com

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4. The Home Page on emaze.com

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5. The Home Page on snapguide.com

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6. The Home Page on demandmedia.com

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7. The Home Page on fundrise.com

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8. The Home Page on bebo.com

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9. The Home Page on ustream.tv

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10. The Home Page on janrain.com

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11. The Home Page on marxentlabs.com

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12. The Home Page on zinch.com

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13. The Home Page on recurly.com

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14. The Home Page on ancestry.com

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15. The Home Page on outbrain.com

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16. The Signup Page on sqwiggle.com

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17. The Home Page on slack.com

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18. The Home Page on impactbnd.com

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19. The Home Page on hubspot.com

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20. The Home Page on hellowallet.com

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21. The Home Page on hoteltonight.com

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22. The Home Page on adroll.com

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23. The Home Page on lightcms.com

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24. The Home Page on zillow.com

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25. The Home Page on join.me

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26. The Home Page on contently.com

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27. The Home Page on mayoclinic.org

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28. The Home Page on tradeo.com

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29. The About Page on pinterest.com

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30. The Home Page on meetingsbooker.com

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31. The Home Page on sanctuaryretreats.com

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32. The Home Page on projectfixup.com

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33. The Home Page on green-red.com

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34. The Home Page on infusionsoft.com

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35. The Home Page on myfitnesspal.com

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36. The Home Page on wipster.io

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37. The Home Page on talenthouse.com

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38. The Home Page on yapstone.com

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39. The Home Page on chartio.com

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40. The Home Page on ubuntu.com

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41. The Home Page on nitrous.io

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42. The Home Page on raise.com

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43. The Home Page on chrischristie.com

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44. The Home Page on hp.com

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45. The Landing Page on hltcorp.com

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46. The Home Page on aliph.com

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47. The Home Page on kissmetrics.com

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48. The Pricing Page on mavenlink.com

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49. The Home Page on planningpod.com

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50. The Home Page on walkscore.com

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