growthhack your competitios

Do you know that your competitors can help you build your customers base and revenues? They have worked hard for you and you can simply hijack their hard earned customers and networks with these growth hacks.

Imagine the potential to ethically reach over 300,000 people who are on JobberMan.com’s database who you know are market-fit for your educational products “without having to pay JobberMan” or the potential to leverage a “loophole” in your competitors’ strategy to your advantage.

These hacks are very simple to execute and if you apply any of the hacks, you are guaranteed to enjoy additional exposure to your competitions’ customer base and their best strategy which you can use to instantly grow your own business system.

Let’s take them one by one.

  • Gmail advertising
  • Use NerdyData.com to get your competitors customers list
  • Handpick competitors’ best strategies by looking behind their shoulders

A. GMAIL ADVERTISING

Gmail is fast becoming the No.1 inbox services globally. As at 2012, Gmail has over 425million users who use it as their primary email address. Also services like Google Apps and exchange has increase the number of businesses using Gmail to open their emails.

number of people using gmail Google Search

While Gmail is free to use, in order to monetize its huge inventory, Google has a programme that allows advertisers to display relevant advertising in personal Gmail boxes. That is where the massive opportunity lies and it has a huge potential to help you make money from your competition’s customer database.

This is made possible by Gmail Ads………

What Is Gmail Ads?

Gmail Ads, formerly called Gmail Sponsored Promotions, is a unique ad type that shows up only in personal Gmail boxes in the promotions tab (it does not show in Google business apps email boxes yet)

The ad is comprised of 2 creative elements: a teaser ad and an expanded ad unit. The teaser has a 25 character text headline and 100 characters of body text. There is also a 50×50 image in the ad and the “Company Name” you declare.

An advertiser is charged on a Cost per Click (CPC) basis when a user clicks the teaser unit (example below)

Gmail sponsored promotions

When the teaser ad is clicked, it opens the expanded ad which is a 600×1000 (maximum) piece of simple html that can feature images, text, links, a form field, embedded videos, and click-to-call phone numbers.

Like the one below:

Gmail sponsored promotions

With Gmail Ad, you now have an endless possibility at your disposal to:

  1. Target by domain the people that get emails from websites that have an audience of people that are highly likely to be your customers.
  1. Reach customers of your companion products– For instance, if you are offering payday loan product like Remita.com and want to reach employees, you can target Jobberman.com, ShortList.NG or MyJobMag.com whose major audience comprise employee and job seekers.
  1. Target your ideal personas based on subscriptions – If you’ve figured out your customer is an aspiring mother who subscribes to Mamallete.com and shops at Konga; you can use mamallete.com or Konga.com to form the foundation of a target audience to expose your offer to them.
  1. Use their Purchase History and Job Title to send them relevant offer. For example, you can use the transactional email receipts sent to your target audience to send them relevant offers. Using Uber as an example, they send emails receipts to passenger with their trip details. With this information, you can target them for a pay-as-you-drive car loans.
  1. You can combine all the user attributes above for a more powerful offer. Imagine the ability to specifically target an ideal prospect who is regarded to be:
  • A middle level executive…..
  • With high professional and self-development quest and …..
  • Actively or passively job hunting

With this client description above I can create an advert layer for jobberman.com (a job website) and Coursera.com (a career improvement website) to advertise to this target client with Gmail ads.

A simple way to achieve the above is to sign up for your competitor’s newsletter or buy a product that entitles you to receive emails from them. After you have received a couple of email communications from them, you can then take a good look at all the emails to identify what they all have in common to your ideal audience. You want to look out for a keyword or sentence, or phrase that is consistent in all the messages.

Another option is to note down the Unsubscribe link and address (usually located in the footer of the email, as a result of the CAN SPAM act).

Next step is to run a Google Adwords that targets a (set of) particular word you have identified in the emails sent by your competitors.

How do you set up Google Adwords to target Gmail traffic?

If you are familiar with Google Adwords advertising, you can set up an Ad specifically for Gmail audience. If you are new to Adwords, you can read this beginners’ guide to catch up on Google Adwords, first.

When you are ready, this guide covers how to set up your Gmail Ad and the best creative format to use in order to make your advertising “native” to users’ experience. This is because a native advertising content looks exactly like ordinary email; hence, the click-through rate is going to be high.

Take a look at this other example DIGITAL MARKETER

Let’s go to the second hack.

B. USE NERDYDATA TO GET YOUR COMPETITORS’ CUSTOMERS

Services like email automation software (e.g. Aweber, MailChimp etc.), payment integration platforms (Interswitch, VoguePay, CashEnvoy etc.) and web analytics services (Google Analytics, MixPanel, Intercom.io etc.) can only work when their users connect with their servers.

If you know how to use Nerdy data, there is a sweet spot to “steal” your competitors’ customers, if they require a line of code on their clients’ website or online properties for it to work.

What is NerdyData?

NerdyData.com offers an opportunity to unearth the code behind a website and track every instance where it is repeated. It is like a search engine to simply lookup database of code on the internet

Nerdy Data | Google of Source code

Let’s create a real life scenario for PayStack.co, a new online payment startup in Nigeria that is focused on developers. With Nerdydata, Paystack.co can potentially target every customer of Interswitch who might also be ideal prospects for Paystack’s services.

Another example:

If I own a web agency that specializes in wordpress websites, I can run a query to determine the number of websites that are running a version of wordpress release that I know have a security flaw and contact every site owner running the vulnerable version with my WordPress security services.

I got to know about NerdyData from Bryan Harris. It will be worth your time to check out his essay on getting the best out of this strategy. Also, Bryan recently recorded a typical scenario of how you can use NerdyData using the case study of how a video marketing agency can target potential clients who host their videos on Wistia.

The next step after identifying your potential target is to contact them.

You can visit the About Us page of their respective websites or use tools like email Hunter and LeadFuze to get their emails and social media profiles so that you can cold call or email them.

The third hack is ….

C. HANDPICK COMPETITORS’ BEST STRATEGIES BY LOOKING BEHIND THEIR SHOULDERS

We have covered two main areas. Both of them do not involve any action from your competition. This third hack allows you to study your competitions’ action and reverse engineer it to your advantage.

For example, what are your competitors doing better than you?

  • Are they building a better marketing funnels or campaigns?
  • Does their advertising campaign work better?
  • Did they recently make changes to their website and you want to know why?

There are myriads of tools to track these and make informed decision; here is a good start

BuiltWith – This tool allows you to “see behind the hood” to uncover the stuffs a website is made of. Builtwith.com provides a technology that tracks technology profiles of websites with the goal to help you implement them on your own projects.

SpyFu – This is the tool to use if you are looking for new and efficient ways to conduct research to show you the keywords that websites buy on Google Adwords as well as the keywords that websites are showing up for within search results. The service also gives cost per click and search volume statistics on keywords and uses that data to approximate what websites are spending on advertising. Historical advertising budgets offered by SpyFu also help advertisers project what an advertising campaign will cost in the future.

Similarweb: SimilarWeb provides web analytics, data mining and business intelligence. You can use SimilarWeb.com’s advanced traffic estimator tool to determine any website’s traffic sources & uncover their online marketing strategies. Alexa.com also offers similar functionalities.

Follow.net: Follow.net allows you to see a high-level overview about any site, across a variety of sources by pulling data from many partners to bring you the widest & most comprehensive, high-level overview of any site’s marketing data.

Moat: Moat Analytics measure trillions of digital video ad impressions and content. Their database gives you an exclusive platform to know what your competitions are doing right to get their message heard.

WayBack Machine – This is a screenshot archive of virtually any website in the world. Currently over 439 billion web pages have been saved over time; including your competitors’ own. The Wayback Machine is a digital archive of the World Wide Web and other information on the Internet.

 

CONCLUSION

With these three hacks, there is a big potential to leverage the effort of your competitors to your advantage to increase your customer and revenues.

While it is good to keep tab on your competition, this can be described as looking at the rear mirror of a car while driving. A good driver spends most of the time looking at the front while driving. In the same way, you need to keep your own growth plan in view.

Here are my best recommendations.

  1. Build your own metrics to measure your goals 
  2. Ensure your own website design is good
  3. Experiment on several marketing tactics of your own

Good luck.

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