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How to steal customers from your competitors?

This post is inspired by a book “Steal as an Artist” by Austin Kleon. But I will get to that a bit later. As a startup founder I am always looking for creative ways to grow our customer base. In the past, we've written a bunch of articles about some of the strategies we use. However, this post is somewhat different — as this time it wasn't us who came up with the strategy, but it was rather a series of events which led to a discovery of one of the best growth-hacks so far.

#1 What we (used) to do

“Snowball Effect”

In June, we grew our revenue by 160%. We did it by implementing a strategy to which we refer as the “Snowball Effect”. It's fairly simple to explain. First, we ran an analysis on our biggest spenders and segmented them into the narrowest target groups you could imagine.

An example would be;
VP of Sales — at a SaaS company with 100–150 employees, who tweets about funding or M&A, and follows Inbound.org or other related account(s).

Using our proprietary algorithms we would put together the contacts of the entire target audience which matches those parameters. And we would approach them with highly-personalised emails, which mention some relevant clients / case-studies, and so on.

This works pretty well, and we still make a lot of revenue from those activities. BUT I felt that with all the technology and tools we've developed we can do better..and this is where it starts to get interesting

#2 Three tactics to steal customers from your competitors

In June, I started reading “Steal like an artist”. Not only it's a very good and quick read, but it will probably also make you rethink quite a few things. As a startup founder, many times I feel that my team is trying to reinvent the wheel. This is especially the case when it comes to UX/UI and other relevant topics. I always think — somebody must have done this pretty well in the past, so why don't we just learn and copy from the best. And then I thought..wait..why wouldn't we also apply this to lead generation.

A. Targeted Following on Twitter | Effectivity: LOW

Most of your competitors probably have a Twitter account. And many of them follow their customers and vice versa. So why wouldn't you save some time and copy their following (by targeting only relevant individuals). There are some pretty good/cheap tools for this like; Tweepi.com or Unfollowers.com. If you know a bit of code, you can also fully automate this with some simple scripts.

The effectivity of those activities is frankly speaking quite low. But it will help you quickly grow your Twitter follower base. And if you only follow relevant individuals (CMO, CEO, etc.) — it can bring you some real results=conversions.

B. Generating leads from Customer Pages | Effectivity: Medium

Above you can see a screenshot from our competitor's Customer Page. Not only they list a bunch of clients [company name], but they also share the decision maker [name + position]. Many times you can also get the direct link [company URL]. This makes it very easy for us to generate personal contacts of those people. So we've decided to make a simple bot which can scrape Customer Pages at a scale.

Now, what are the pro's of doing this?

  • You can target people already interested in similar product offering
  • You can use your competitor's weaknesses as a conversation-starter
  • With a decent list of competitors you can scale this up very quickly

What are the con’s of doing this?

  • Sometimes the listed customers are real brand evangelists
  • If you don't have many competitors, you can't scale this up

C. Generating leads from Competitor's followers | Effectivity: High

This is probably among the top three requests we receive from our customers. By now we've been generating millions of personal contacts from Twitter, Instagram and Facebook followers.

How it works is pretty simple to explain. Let's say I just launched a car-sharing platform for which I need to gain some quick initial traction. I will start by collecting information about all competitor's Twitter and Facebook followers. And then, I will filter / segment this data by: location, gender, age, social media behaviour, topics of interest, occupation and other variables. At the end, I will be left with a highly-targeted list of individuals who might be already spending for a similar product offering or who are at least interested enough to follow one of my competitors.

Another quick “hack” is to gather data from customer support accounts. Then, you can be sure that high percentage of those people are actually real customers of your competitor. What's more, you can also collect data of people who interact with your competitors (by mentioning them @ or by posting on their Facebook wall).

This tactic is very easy to scale up (as long as you've some popular competitors). Moreover, it's very effective — as many of your competitors have spent big $ to grow their follower base with relevant people. We've been doing this for hundreds of clients by now, and the result they have been getting are really above average compared to FB, Twitter, Adwords or LinkedIn advertising.

Looking forward to your feedback and comments. And if you need some help with scaling up your lead generation, don't hesitate to contact me at dominik@spaceship.rocks

Written by Dominik Vacikar.

Astronaut @spaceshyp & @spacemanHQ • Founder @rentomato • Previously CMO@nestpick

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