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Using Comparison Pages to Snag Opportunities

March 26, 2019
Erik Hinds

In the decision phase of a conversion or sales funnel, prospects will often do comparisons to competing products or services. Fortunately, this provides an opportunity for both organic and paid media campaigns. In this post, we will help you take advantage of this comparison process and tip the decision balance in your favor.

Sales Funnel

Snag low-funnel opportunities and the lowest hanging fruit using comparison pages in four easy steps.

Here are the four steps:

  1. Find out what/who you are compared to
  2. Build a comparison page
  3. Optimize for Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  4. Build a paid campaign

Step 1: Your Competition

You may already know who you are being compared to. But just to be sure, you should check with the authority on the subject; Google.Begin your research by entering your brand or product into Google and add “vs” to the query to get an autosuggest list of competitors.

Below we will use Freshbooks, and online accounting platform as an example:

Google search results

Google will provide you with a list of competitors that people are actually comparing you to online. (Bonus: Use the Chrome plugin Keywords Everywhere to get search volume and cost-per-click.)

From the query above, we can tell that we should definitely setup comparison pages for:

  • Freshbooks vs. Quickbooks
  • Freshbooks vs. Wave
  • Freshbooks vs. Xero
  • Freshbooks vs. Zoho
  • Freshbooks vs. Harvest

Step 2 – How to Build Your Comparison Page

Before we get into any page building, you have to make sure that both:

  1. The comparison is relevant
  2. Your offering is superior

Start by mapping out the comparison points that showcase your offering in a positive light. (Note: do a separate comparison for each competitor. Don’t align all of them and judge them on the same criteria.)

Plan on building a separate page for each competitor. At a minimum your page should contain:

  • Comparison grid
  • Additional benefits
  • Trust building elements
  • Call to action

As an example, let’s look at how Freshbooks approaches a comparison to their main competitor; Quickbooks:

Comparison grid

Comparison Grid

Remember, we are looking to position your differentiators. Freshbooks goes to the extreme and puts all the checkmarks in their column. While it looks impressive at first glance, this could come off as disingenuous.

Once you have compared apples to apples, it’s time to establish other benefits of your offer.

Additional Benefits

Below we can see how Freshbooks shows additional selling points. These may be offered by your competitors as well, like 24/7 support:

Features

Keep in mind that you are attempting to make the conversion decision a slam dunk.

Once you have checked all the internal boxes for features, the next step is to establish trustworthiness.

Building Trust

Any conversion focused web page needs to establish trust with the visitor. Using social proof and trust iconography are good methods for trust building.

Relevant trust iconography and symbols:

Other high profile customers or media mentions:

Now that you have established trust with the visitor, guide them to the next step.

Build a Call to Action (CTA)

Before you start designing and developing a web page, outline your desired next step you want the visitor to take.

Examples include:

  • Free trials
  • Schedule a demo or consultation
  • Sales chatbot
  • Attend a webinar
  • Direct purchase (if it makes sense)

Make sure that your CTA is used multiple times throughout the webpage:

  • Top of the page
  • In every main section
  • Bottom of the page

Step 3 – Optimize for SEO

Now that you have designed and built a great landing page, you need to make sure it can be found.

Follow SEO best practices and use YOUR BRAND/PRODUCT vs. YOUR COMPETITOR  in the following:

  • Page title
  • Heading 1
  • Meta description
  • URL
  • Within the first 100 words of the body copy
  • Alt text for one image

Meta Description

Take great care in crafting your meta description. This is where you get your chance to make a first impression.

For example; “How does ABC compare to XYZ? Find out the pros and cons of both solutions and find the right fit for your situation.”

Internal Linking  

Next, make sure that the page is included in the sitemap.xml file.

Then, find several pages within the website to link to this new comparison page. Google indexes some pages more than others, so try to put a link somewhere Google goes to frequently. (You can determine this by examining your Google Analytics reports.)  

Some companies put comparison links directly in the footer of the website, which is completely acceptable.

Build Links

Search the web for places that are discussing your competitor and offer links to your comparison page. Great places to find this discussion include:

  • Blogs
  • Forums
  • Quora
  • Reddit

That should cover the bases for organic search. Now let’s ensure placement with paid campaigns.

Step 4 – Build a Paid Campaign

In reality, you’ll want to build two campaigns:

  1. PPC ads to drive traffic from the “vs” search
    1. Strategic campaign structure with carefully selected keywords and match type to ensure quality traffic is being driven to the site
  2. Remarketing campaigns for those who do not convert
    1. Retargeting is low hanging fruit and can be quickly rolled out with banner ads, paid search ads and further extended into youtube video inventory with bumper ads or :15s and :30s

Also, use this campaign as an opportunity to learn more about your audience. Try adding different audiences set to “Observation.” You may discover some people with certain audience characteristics are outperforming others. Use this data to then tailor your ad copy and landing pages.

One trick we’ve used is to create a custom audience based on the comparison URL. You can then run display ads which appear to that highly targeted custom audience…people who are interested or in-market for the keywords on you page.

Conclusion

The reality is that by the time a customer comes to your website, they’re likely quite a way down the sales decision path. They’re researching your competition and the best way to take advantage of this customer behaviour is by following the steps listed above.

Above and beyond the benefit you get in the sales process, knowing your competition is a great way of making sure your company is at the forefront of your industry and you’re not falling behind. By combining competitor knowledge with a low-funnel opportunity campaign, you can make sure both your customers and your sales team is knowledgeable about your product/service, the competition, and how to address common objections late in the sales process.

Please note the comparison page references came from Freshbooks’ cloud accounting website – https://www.freshbooks.com/compare/quickbooks-online-alternative.

Bonus: Other Great Comparison Pages

Some other examples of businesses that excel in their comparison pages:

Want to connect with customers who are ready to buy your product?