There’s a legend in the digital marketing world of a college graduate who wanted to work at a large digital agency.
This enterprising young graduate submitted his resume, and when he didn’t hear back, decided to leverage Google AdWords by bidding on the names of executives at the large company.
When those executives Googled themselves and curiously clicked on the paid search adverts, they were taken to the graduate’s resume. The executives were both peeved and impressed, and the graduate was ultimately offered the job.
Pretty inventive use of Adwords, right?
It defies the classic way businesses use the platform: bidding on keywords with commercial intent and convincing potential customers to click through to visit your website. Dermatologists bid for keywords like “fix my acne” and “dermatologist nyc” while lawn care businesses bid for “grass cutting service.”
It’s quintessential cost-per-click (CPC) advertising, and it’s often a great way for business owners to allocate their advertising budget.
The only problem is that Google Adwords can get really expensive when your competitors are bidding on the same keywords with the highest commercial intent. (The keyword “asset management” goes for $49.86 per click, and “lawyer” goes for nearly $55 per click.)
Thankfully, this isn’t the only way to use Adwords. In fact, it’s not even close.
6. Poach Your Competitors’ Clients
When your consumers get really close to making a purchase, they Google the vendors they found along the way to do some final comparing. But what if your business isn’t one of the vendors on their shortlist?
Don’t fret. With a little clever engineering in Google Adwords, you can intercept customers during this final research phase.
Instead of bidding and focusing on industry keywords, try setting up your ads on the brand names of well-established competitors. By inserting your business into the conversation when consumers research your competitors, you give yourself the opportunity to attract purchases from those who are still on the fence.
In fact, a little Googling shows this is pretty common practice. When you Google the content discovery platform “Outbrain,” you find an ad from its competitor: Taboola. And when you search “Taboola,” you find an ad from Outbrain.
The mattress company Tuft & Needle takes this a step further. When you Google “Casper,” Tuft & Needle’s advert suggests there is a shocking flaw in the competitor’s product. “Do Not Buy a Mattress,” it reads, “Before You Learn the Truth.”
When you click through, you land on a custom Tuft & Needle landing page with explanatory videos that discredit higher-priced competitors and offer a potentially better solution. Ethical quandaries aside, I have to admit this is a pretty genius use of Google Ads.
This can all get wildly expensive, especially if other competitors are trying the same tactic, or if the established brand is protecting itself with its own Google Ads. If this means poaching is out of the budget, another clever option is to bid on misspelled versions of your competitors’ brand names.
“Bidding on a misspelled version of your competitor’s brand can produce wonders, especially if your competitor is a big name in your industry,” explains Nick Ilev, Director of Marketing at Gabriel Marketing Group. “In some cases, more than 10% of searchers misspell brand names. If you capitalize on those misspellings, you can shoot to the top of the page with relatively low ad spend.”