Hi I’m Duncan Jones and I’m Head of Strategy and Growth at Web Profits.
Today I’m going to give you insights into exactly what you should do
if one of your competitors goes out of business to make the most of that opportunity.
Whether we’re in a booming market or a recession there will be a lot of competitors
that come and ultimately go out of business.
As sad as it is for that company and their staff it is something you can take advantage of
to grow & improve your own business.
So you’ve just heard one of your competitors has gone out of business? Now what?
Well, there’s 8 main tactics I would get started on straight away.
#1 Create A Unique Offer For Their Customers
It won’t be long before a lot of their customers lose confidence with the business
if it’s a going concern or are forced to move to a new provider if they’re ceasing services.
Your goal is to make sure that for the vast majority of those customers -
you’re the best option available.
One way to do that is to create a unique offer for those customers -
it may be something like matching the competitors pricing or features
for the first 6 months, honouring their gift cards or credit,
it may even be the first few months free while they’re in transition.
Whatever you select, if it’s an attractive offer, just for those customers
and it looks like you’re doing it to “help them out” it can be very effective.
Ensure you create a dedicated landing page speaking to those customers and the offer
you’re giving them and include a comparison table so they know how you compare.
One of the biggest fears the customers will have is the transition period so ensure your
landing page also speaks to how easy it will be to migrate and the support you’ll offer
to ensure it’s a simple process.
#2 Create A Competitor Campaign
Whether it’s existing customers or new prospects - there will still be a lot of people
searching for your competitors brand name and it’s important you’re there front and centre.
Setup a competitor campaign in Adwords & Bing targeting your competitors brand name,
domain name and any other searches that may be done such as for their login page.
The clicks from these keywords will be extremely cheap in comparison to your generic
keywords and as these customers and prospects have no option but to select
another provider they can be really effective.
Ensure your ads speak to your unique offer for those customers and take people
through to the targeted landing page which speaks just to them.
It can be a great time to also review your other search campaign budgets and ensure
they’re set high enough as if the competitor was big - the search volume for
all generic keywords should all increase as their customers search for alternatives.
#3 Outreach To Their Customers
Outreach to as many of their customers as you can find via phone,
email, in-person - however you have to do it.
Ensure you’re empathetic and let them know you’re just contacting them to help
them out for the situation they’re in + ensure you outline the special offer
you have got which is just for them.
You’ll have to get creative with how you find their customers -
for example if you offer a software tool you could see every company who is using your
competitors tool through websites such as BuiltWith or StackShare.
Other great places to start building your outreach list include prospects that you lost to them,
clients listed on their testimonials or case studies pages, clients who have linked
to them on provider & supplier pages, clients who have mentioned them on social media
and any other way you think of.
#4 Contact The Liquidators Or Receivers
Usually once a company goes out of business a liquidator, administrator
or receiver takes over. Their job is to maximise the amount of money they can obtain
for creditors and shareholders. This may involve running the business or it may involve
selling off assets. The name of the person or company running the show
is usually in press releases and is someone you should get in contact with ASAP
to see if you can strike a deal.
Some of the things you could negotiate to purchase include:
Buying the entire business.
Buying the customer base.
Buying the domain name which you can then redirect to your offer landing page
for any prospects and customers that are still typing it in.
Buying the email database which you could use for ad targeting.
Buying any website content such as blog articles and FAQ's
which you could repopulate onto your own website.
Or buying the rights to send out your offer in an email to all of their customers.
Be creative with what you try and negotiate as you never know what they will say yes to.
Start low with your offers especially if it’s for something a liquidator is unlikely to know
the value of such as website content or a domain name.
#5 Monitor Social Media Channels
Customers may be annoyed that a company has gone out of business and what this
means for them so it’s important to monitor social media and step in where appropriate
with the offer you’ve created for them or to answer any questions people have
about changing companies. Be careful not to sound insincere or to look like you’re
posting purely to take advantage of the situation as this can backfire on social.
#6 Take over their backlinks.
If your competitor has been around for quite some time, chances are they have built a
lot of backlinks from a whole range of websites.
These backlinks will have helped them rank higher in the organic search results
and if the site has disappeared all of those websites will now be linking
to a broken 404 page which is a pretty good opportunity for you
to improve your own SEO rankings.
Run your competitors website through a backlink analysis tool such as
Ahrefs or Majestic which will give you a list of each and every website linking to them.
Then you simply need to work your way through the list contacting each website owner
or editor and letting them know they are currently linking to a company
which has gone out of business.
The alternative - linking to your website. This can be an effective way to build links
as you’re helping the website owners out and they’re motivated to take action because
they are currently linking to a broken page.
Be sure to test your outreach messaging so that you can optimise
and improve it as you go down the list.
#7 See if you can help their staff.
As well as focusing on your competitors customers - have a think about whether any of
their staff could be a good fit for your business.
LinkedIn is a great place to start, simply navigate to their company page and click the staff
count and you’ll be able to browse through the profiles of people who are currently
working for them. You can filter by job title, location and heaps of other specifics.
The insights and learnings that you get from staff who have been with your competitor,
are significant. So even if you don't have any full time positions available,
consider hiring them on a contract basis,
perhaps to audit your company in the area they specialise in.
#8 Audit Your Own Business
Lastly, but not least. Audit your own business and ensure any issues that have come out
in the media or the rumour mill as to why your competitor has shut down aren’t present
in your own business. There’s clearly reasons they have had to shut down so try and
identify them and take an impartial look at your own business and see how you can use
the lessons from your competitor to make big improvements to your business.
With each of the tactics I’ve mentioned, speed is of the essence - the faster you can get
ad campaigns live or get in touch with the liquidators the less competition you’ll have
from other crafty businesses implementing the same tactics.
To ensure you’re first in line I’d recommend using Google Alerts, Meltwater
or a similar service and setting up media monitoring for all of your competitors
and then keeping a close eye on all of the news about them.
If you’ve got any other tactics or ideas let me know in the comments.
That’s it for now. Thanks for watching.