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How to Stop Potential Customers from Comparison Shopping

Every business owner, online or offline, suffers from a problem that decreases sales, narrows margins, and reduces revenues.

The problem is comparison shopping.

Think about the last time you were considering a purchase. You probably checked out several different places in order to find the best options, the best prices, and the best guarantee.

Your potential customers are doing the same thing!

Today, I’d like to show you how to minimize, or possibly even prevent, this comparison shopping so that you can increase the number of customers you acquire without decreasing your prices.

Let’s get right to it.

#1: Exploit the “Mere-Exposure” Effect

The mere-exposure effect is a psychological phenomenon that can be used in advertising. It refers to the fact that people tend to develop a preference for things merely because they are familiar with them. In social psychology, this effect is called the familiarity principle.

It’s also the main power behind branding. Big companies spend millions of dollars every year looking for “exposure.” They want to implant themselves into the minds of consumers. They want to be thought of first any time a consumer thinks about a product in their genre.

For example, I say “soft drink” and you think…

Coke, right?

That’s the power behind branding. Unfortunately, it takes many years and millions of dollars’ worth of advertising to achieve that kind of recognition.

To expedite the process while getting money upfront, here’s what you do:

Think of at least five different places where you can get yourself in front of potential customers while still making money. Here are a few ways to do that:

  1. Publish articles on a large variety of other websites (as I am with this guest post)
  2. Spend money to raise your SEO rankings so prospects find you when performing searches
  3. Retarget visitors based on their behaviors on your website so you can “follow them around”
  4. Spend the time and money to find profitable PAID traffic campaigns, using various vendors (Google, Bing, Facebook, etc.)
  5. Think about using other media such as SMS messages, voicemail broadcasts, newsletters, and direct mail

You don’t have to do all these at once. Make your own list, prioritize it, and start implementing the items one by one. Use as many of them simultaneously as you can so that every time your prospect is participating in an activity associated with your area of expertise, they will see your business. Within a few months to a year, you’ll be “everywhere” and you’ll be taking full advantage of this incredibly powerful psychological principle.

#2: Survey to Find Out Why People Chose You

When I begin work on a new project, I always start by presenting a survey to prospects and customers.

There’s a good reason for that.

Surveys help you uncover marketing gold. It allows your customers to tell you exactly how to sell them.

You’ll be able to uncover their fears, find out why they didn’t buy from you, discover what did make them buy from you, learn what they think about your competitors, identify what products/services they’re looking for, and anything else you want to know!

There are many different ways you can survey your audience. For example, you can create surveys…

  • To ask new prospects what they’re looking for
  • To generate ideas for new products, services, or other ways you can help your audience
  • To discover why your customers chose your product/service instead of your competitors’

I’ve personally used surveys for all three. Before creating your survey, just take a minute to think about WHY you’re building the survey.

Is it to improve your sales pages? Create new products? Improve the ordering experience? Find your customers’ biggest frustrations? Judge how you’re competing against your competitors?

Keeping in line with the topic of this article, you might use a survey to find out specifically what appeals to your customers. When you find out why they bought from you instead of your competitors, put that information directly into your sales messages! It will resonate with future prospects and increase your conversions and sales.

#3: Prepare Comparisons for Your Prospects

Whether you like it or not, people are researching your company and comparing it with your competitors.

The problem with this is that the information they find isn’t always tweaked in your favor.

And, as you know, not everything you read online is true.

So, instead of letting your potential customers be guided by the Internet gerbils, do the research for them and show them – on YOUR website (or offline) – how you stack up in key areas.

Two great ways to do this are through comparison charts and FAQ’s.

Here’s an example of a comparison chart a client of mine uses, which accurately portrays the product being sold as the best choice for the person viewing the page:

krill oil comparison

Including this in your FAQ’s is easy. Simply add a question asking, “Why should I choose your product over <insert competitor>?”

Then, answer the question.

Now, what kinds of results does this get?

Obviously, every person implementing this strategy will see different results. However, from my experience in my own business, side businesses, and conducting conversion rate optimization for clients, I’ve seen a “general” increase of 15% – 20% by adding either of these to the main sales pages.

(I’ve never tested adding both at once.)

To get the best results, I’d recommend following these guidelines:

  • FAQ’s can be placed in your footer on every page, and at the bottom of all your main sales pages.
  • Comparison charts can be shown on the main sales page, typically just before a call to action button. (You also can test comparison charts in other places, but start on the main sales page, test it, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised.)

By the way, I recently created an entire “Why Us” page for a client who had so many differentiating factors, it was warranted.

#4: Write “Smarter” Copy

Writing more engaging (what I call “smarter” copy) can make an incredible impact on your conversion rates because it sells the prospect there and then, stopping them from even beginning the comparison process.

Here are a few ways to do so:

  • Conduct surveys – As we discussed earlier, surveys are one of the fastest and most accurate ways to discover the true emotional hot buttons of your market. Find out what is frustrating potential customers, what solution they’re looking for, and what’s going to make them buy. Then, talk about it in your copy! For one client, I looked through nearly 1,000 survey responses, and then I prioritized his page based on which frustrations appeared most often.
  • Add some personality – Nobody wants to read something that’s boring. Add a little personality into your writing. Write like you talk. If you are enthusiastic, show it! If you are a little sarcastic, write the same way! People engage when they feel your energy, so don’t be afraid to show it.
  • Use stories to resonate with multiple “lifestyle triggers” – This is most powerful when it is used in your email campaigns. The premise is simple. Every prospect that comes to your website has certain “lifestyle triggers.” Maybe they love golf or children or sports or the outdoors or a certain TV show or… You get the idea. Within your writing, tell stories about these things and then transition that into a lesson. For example, I love all the things I just mentioned. In my emails, I frequently start off talking about them. For instance, I might say that I “just got back from a hike” or describe something one of my sons just did, and then segue into a marketing lesson that will help my audience.

People sometimes complicate the process of copywriting. It’s not complicated. Yes, there are more advanced techniques I use in my writing, but I’m a trained copywriter. If you aren’t, and you’re doing your own writing, just focus on being yourself and relating to your audience. The rest will flow naturally.

#5: Provide More Proof

The reason people comparison shop is because they want to find out which product/service is going to give them the best chance of getting the best results.

If you want to stop people from comparing, give them overwhelming proof that you will give them the results they’re after. It’s as simple as that! Here are some ways to do that:

The most obvious way is to use case studies/testimonials. Provide reviews by previous buyers who explain their successful experiences with your product. These stories can work because people like to do what others are doing. Be sure to furnish at least four or five reviews to increase the chances that potential customers will see someone they can relate to in one of them.

You also can use technical jargon. Imagine you walk into a party and strike up a chat with a random person. As you ask them about their job, they begin talking to you in language you can barely decipher. You have an idea of what they’re talking about, but obviously their comprehension of the subject is far greater than yours.

Would you instantly think that person was an expert in their field?

Of course!

One of the best ways to increase sales is to speak to your prospects in a very casual, easy-to-understand language. However, you can add a little spark to the conversation by interlacing that with technical jargon they might not understand, simply to prove your comprehension and authority in the subject.

Here’s a quick example of the copy I created for the client with the comparison chart on krill oil in Section 3 above.

“Our krill oil is then quickly captured and secured in an airtight capsule, using our proprietary capliques™ technology. These capliques™ work in two unique ways…

1) Proprietary Sealing – Capliques™ use an innovative band-sealing technology which minimizes leakage and prevents odor. It also utilizes a proven application that is more natural and doesn’t require additional fillers or binders.

2) Advanced Delivery System – Capliques™ provide a quadruple benefit by utilizing a two-phase delivery system which simultaneously requires less excipients, limits oxidation, improves bioavailability and increases absorption rates. Plus our time-release capsules release the krill oil slowly so you get maximum absorption and longer protection.

By using this sealing and delivery system and combining it with the most potent blend of krill oil we’ve come across, you get better results at a cheaper price.”

Notice how it mixes technical jargon with simple language that is easy to understand? That’s what you want to strive for.

Which of These Will You Implement?

We covered a lot today. Some suggestions will resonate perfectly, while others will not apply. All of them are extremely effective. Go back and skim through this post and let me know which you plan to implement first.

And, of course, let me know if you have any questions. Write your comments below, and I’ll be happy to help out!

About the Author: Jeremy Reeves is a sales funnel specialist. He helps his students and private clients build advanced, automated sales funnels to increase revenue and stabilize cash flow while building trust and credibility. You can learn more about how he can help you at www.JeremyReeves.com where you can download his free report, “How To Build A Million Dollar Sales Funnel.” You can follow Reeves on Google+ here.

  1. Corey Pemberton Oct 15, 2014 at 11:30 am

    Great stuff, Jeremy. Thanks for writing this up! I’m currently working on building my online platform to tap into the “mere-exposure” effect. And I’ve gotten some great insight from clients about how they found me online and eventually decided to hire me. I was making some assumptions about that before…big mistake!

    Do you think you could leverage the principle about preparing comparisons in a service business? How do you recommend doing that (when service providers might be less “standardized” than competing products)?

    Thanks! – Corey

    • Jeremy Reeves Oct 16, 2014 at 3:25 am

      Good question Corey. Yes you can still do that. What you’re going to want to do is focus on comparing VALUE. So competitor A only does ABC. You do the same thing, but you do is “THIS” way which gives X benefit to the client. Or, you do ABC, but you also do DEF on top of that.

      Think about what your clients are looking for in the service you provide, what your competitors are giving them, and how you fill in the gap :)

  2. Defining your unfair advantage and effectively marketing it is the only way to avoid being treated like a commodity by the consumer … thanks for fleshing out the details behind achieving this end!

  3. Excellent point about mixing up the style to include both casual conversational tone as well as some technical jargon. I am used to hearing a lot of advise about technical jargon that sometimes I consciously try to stay clear of jargon. Sometimes you have to use industry-accepted jargon to create good conversations and establish thought leadership. I say tease the reader with just enough jargon to incite curiosity in the readers. I suppose this also depends on the target persona you are creating the content for.

  4. very nice blog. really learned a lot. Thanks

  5. Thanks Jeremy, I especially like your comparison chart – it is so helpful to have a visual aid to actually see what features are offered side by side with the competition. It also works to put it out there that your product is in the same neighborhood as the big players. I’m mid launch and I’ll add a comparison chart and answer the “So why should I chose my product over the competition?” to my own sales funnel. Of to get started!
    Grateful for your Efforts,
    Bren

  6. I would add, if you are the market leader or have a prominent position in the market (or want to have it), make your product or service difficult to compare. If you offer a different feature set, or a different packaging / delivery / business model, even a clearly different design or tone, you make comparison much more difficult.
    Note that it works only if customers compare other vendors against you, not the other way around.

  7. Great ways to tackle the problem of getting filtered out by aggregated lists of competitors. Thanks for the very in-depth, detailed breakdown.

  8. In fact, this phenomenon is no small problem to which each holder of the store must fight. However, it is always worthwhile to use comparison sites :)

  9. This is so noteworthy, Jeremy. Thanks a lot.

    I have a little off-the-topic question though but might help some too. The comparison that I was looking was about the same product sold from different countries. A customer compares my product price vs the store in another country, where I actually shopped my product from to sell where I’m at. My customer obviously understands about shipping/cargo charges for the difference but not convinced of my mark-up and would rather order the product from the other country and wait, than order it from my store, in the same city where my customer also lives.

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