What if I told you there is a group of people out there who are already primed and ready to buy from you?

The good news is – that group actually exists. They’re your competitors’ customers!

Everyone is aware of Google AdWords and Facebook ads. But there are several other lucrative options – major players in the ad game that are often overlooked!

Here are six ways to use competitive advertising to target your competitors’ customers:

Bid on your competitor’s brand with Google AdWords

Brand keywords are typically some of the best performing keywords you can target. They’re super relevant, and those searching are often very familiar with the company they’re searching for. Bidding on your competitor’s name is a great way to get cheap, high-quality AdWords clicks.

Plus, people searching these branded keywords are probably also in the final purchase decision-making stage and near to closing. They’re well past the discovery-of-services phase, so they’re probably much higher-value leads.

It’s just a matter of creating a strategy that works.

Target the competition with a ‘showdown’ campaign – calling them out in the ad headline, then directing the consumer to a showdown page where you compare your product against theirs. Go head to head with your competitor… in fact, do it right in the headline!

Competitor campaigns like these will get you the results you’re looking for. Low cost per click, high potential for closes. A new, smaller company can reap big dividends by tagging along when a big competitor is a search term.

Not every competitor AdWords campaign pays off, but there’s clearly the potential from this strategy to drive new business.

Target their customer interests with Facebook ads

Facebook is an excellent channel for this strategy because of the ad platform’s outstanding targeting abilities.

One of the best ways to target your competitor’s customers with Facebook ads is to create an ad specifically for their fan base by targeting their audience. This will work best if you do your research on the posts that your competitor’s audience likes best, then deliver them something better with your ad.

While Facebook doesn’t specifically allow you to target fans of your competitors’ pages, they do make it easy to target large competitors and people with similar interests. All you need to do is enter the name of your competitor’s fan page in the “interests” section.

For example, if you’re creating ads for your local hardware store, you could target people in the area who ‘like’ or have interest in pages related to Ace Hardware, Lowe’s, and The Home Depot.

Targeting your competitor through an interest-based audience isn’t an exact formula. While you can’t directly target the business’ actual follower list, you’ll get a pretty close approximation.

But simply by researching customer interests, you can develop a hyper-targeted audience – just head to your competitors’ Facebook pages and research the people who like them. Click on their profiles, grab their most relevant Likes to your business, and add them to a spreadsheet to find their common interests.

With this information, you can create custom audiences that target people with interests that are most likely to align with both your competitor and your company.

Target LinkedIn custom audiences

Just like with Facebook and Twitter ads, you can create custom audiences to target individuals on LinkedIn who are already interested, have skills in, or belong to groups relevant to your competitors’ products/services.

Some targeting options include location, job title, seniority level, gender, and age.

Leverage YouTube ads to scoop your competitor’s videos

What if you could show potential customers your ad… right before your competitor’s video? You can do exactly that using the YouTube Ad Placements category, as long as your competitor’s video allows monetization. If you create an engaging video, viewers won’t want to skip it. In fact, they may not even watch your competitor’s video!

Place Yelp ads on your competitor’s profile

Yelp tends to elicit strong reactions from business owners. Whether it’s hidden reviews, aggressive sales tactics, or their local SEO dominance, it seems like everyone has an opinion on the business review giant.

However, appearing on your competitors’ Yelp profiles does have value, especially if you’re a smaller company in a large market with a lot of high-profile competitors. Yelp competitive advertising can help you build brand awareness in your market.

Yelp does have its drawbacks (lack of transparency into keywords, aggressive sales reps, etc.), but it can boost your brand recognition and drive low-cost leads to your business. As always, if you can’t validate that Yelp ads are effective for you, find another channel.

Target your competitor’s followers with Twitter ads

Twitter is another channel where you can target your competitor’s followers effectively. Almost 50% of active Twitter users follow brands/companies, and 67% of people are more likely to buy from brands they follow on Twitter.

All’s fair in love and war (and business)

Remember, you’re fighting to succeed and grow your business. There’s nothing dishonest about positioning your own ad campaign to leverage your competitors’ ads to your advantage!

Your chances for success increase dramatically when you plan your ad campaign with a specific goal or objective and a killer landing page. The more you plan your campaign around the interests and needs of your target audience, the higher your conversion rate will be.

Want to learn how you can apply these techniques to your own business?
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