Deploying Product Comparisons in an Inbound Marketing Strategy

May 19, 2016

whole brain marketing blog author


Posted by Alex Sobal

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Whenever you have to decide between two or more similar choices, how do you figure out which is the best one? Let’s say you’re buying a truck, for example, and you’ve narrowed it down to either a Ford Explorer or Jeep Cherokee. After test-driving both to get a feel for the car, you run through the pros and cons of each and compare them to each other, right?

You look at things, like which had the smoother ride, total cost, gas mileage, warranties, interest rates, legroom, heated seats, and other premium features, and you see which of the two wins the most categories. You might even compare the Consumer Reports for both and read some articles comparing them online to get another opinion.

Why?

Because once you’ve narrowed down all the potential options to the best 2-3 choices, the easiest way to pick the best of the best is to simply compare them with each other. People don’t just do this for cars either; this process happens in every purchase made by business decision-makers also.

Using Product Comparisons to Your Advantage

Knowing that your prospects are going to be directly comparing your offerings with your competitors, you can use product comparisons to highlight the advantages and benefits of your products or service, as well as attract more visitors to your site. Not only do articles like “Company A vs. Company B” generate a lot of clicks and interest on social media, they’re also some of the most searched phrases on search engines. Just look at the suggestions for what other people are searching whenever you add “vs.” after a particular product, service, or company name, for example:

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If you know that people are going to be comparing your product or service with one of your competitors, writing a classic “A vs. B” article is one of the best ways to position yourself ahead of the competition—as long as you go about it the right way.

The Two Types of Comparisons: Direct and Indirect 

If you’re looking to compare your products or service with your competitors, there are two different ways you can go about it. The first (and most direct) way to do it is by comparing your product or service directly to theirs (e.g., Whopper vs. Big Mac, Sprint vs. Verizon, Dell vs. Apple, etc.). Comparing them head-to-head is best the way to compare product specs, highlight the distinct advantages each option has, and allows you to answer the specific questions your prospects have about each, like which has longer battery life, more memory, or faster software?

On the other hand, comparing your product directly with one your competitors might not always be the best move. If you don’t want your competitors to feel like you’re attacking them directly, for example, you can create an indirect comparison about the product or services you offer (e.g., Aluminum truck bodies vs. Steel truck bodies, national carrier vs. local carrier, custom lubricants vs. standard lubricants, etc.). This is also a great way to create a general comparison for your product, service, or company versus a particular group of competitors, rather just 1-on-1.

Writing Product Comparisons That Are Genuine

In order for your product comparison to actually persuade readers one way or the other, you have to be 100% honest and truthful with your comparison. If Samsung writes an article comparing the Galaxy to the iPhone, for example, and says the Galaxy is better in every single way imaginable, how many people are actually going to buy that comparison? It’d be totally biased and not trustworthy at all.

In order to get readers to actually trust your product comparison, make sure you follow these tips: 

Acknowledge Where Your Competitors Do Something Better

It’s not always easy to swallow your pride and admit another company does something better, but that’s part of writing an honest comparison. As much as you’d like to be superior in every way, no business is without their flaws. There’s no shame in saying one of your competitors might be better in a particular area or two, because you’ll be better in other areas—and you can focus on that. If you give your competitors credit where credit is due, it’ll also be fair to toot your own horn when you’re better. You’ll only give yourself a worse reputation if you lie, too; so try to be as unbiased as possible when writing your comparisons.

Focus on Specs, but Don’t Forget to Mention Capabilities 

A lot of times with product comparisons, you see people comparing two options solely based on their specs (i.e., memory, product size, number of downloads allowed per month, etc.). And while these are certainly important topics that your prospects want to know about it, don’t make it completely based off specs. You know how something might look great on paper, but you aren’t sure if it’d be useful in the real world? That’s exactly what I’m talking about. Make sure you mention the different capabilities of your product/service, so people can envision using it for themselves.

If You Can Take a Video, Seeing is Believing

While some product comparisons will mostly be a matter of opinion for users, other products and services can be compared head-to-head almost scientifically. Let’s say you’re comparing the bottling speed of two bottling machines, for example. A video of both machines operating side-by-side (accompanied with some statistics) is undoubtedly the best way to prove which is better, as a lot of prospects fall into the “seeing is believing” category.

Knowing that your prospects are always going to be comparing you to your closest competitors, showing a comparison of your products or services is a great way to show off your benefits and advantages of your offerings. Whether you use a direct or indirect comparison, just make sure you’re as genuine as possible, and focus on the positives of your brand. If you’re looking for a great example of an unbiased review or comparison, check out our blog, “HubSpot Marketing & Sales vs. Salesforce & Pardot: CRM and Marketing Automation for B2B”.

Inbound marketing a guide for industrial manufacturing



Topics: Content Marketing



whole brain marketing blog author
Written by Alex Sobal

Alex has exceptional writing skills and the ability to learn new industries and their complex processes. While at Weidert Group, he was also an avid social media marketer and wrote frequently on online community engagement and content creation strategies for our blog.

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