Written by Araminta Robertson
A lot of fintech companies are uncomfortable with writing about their competitors. And yet, writing about your competitors is one of the highest converting types of content you can create.
However, even if you do want to write content about competitors, you might face challenges like:
- Convincing higher ups that it is ok to write about competitors.
- Having enough information on your competitors.
- Doing it in a way that will keep the compliance team happy.
In this piece, we look into the multiple reasons why it pays to write about competitors and go into some real examples of top performing content we have written.
Why should you write about your competitors?
1. Your customers will compare you to your competitors anyway
Intuitively, you might feel that it’s wrong to write about your competitors. What if a potential client reads about your competitor and then decides to go with them?
The issue with this kind of thinking is that if your target customer was going to switch to a competitor, they would do it anyway – whether you mention your competitors or not.
Think about it: when you go about your day and purchase something online, you probably Google everything. You’ll compare one type of electric bike to another, you’ll do endless research on different hotels to stay at and which coffee machine to buy. So why would you act any differently in a B2B setting?
The point is: whether you like it or not, your target customer is already comparing you to competitors. And if they don’t know who your competitors are, they’ll find out in less time than it took you to read this sentence.
As consumers, we love comparing, reading reviews, weighing up the pros and cons. It’s the same in the business world.
Whether you write about your competitors or not, your customers will find out about your competitors. And if they prefer your competitor, they’ll switch anyway. And if you’re hoping that you can tie them into a contract before they realise, then you’ve got another problem on your hands.
2. You can target people who are close to converting
Anyone who is typing up “Xero vs FreeAgent” or “Brex vs Ramp”, is very close to buying. They already know what their problem is, they’ve established what the solution is and they are now comparing different competitors.
In other words, they are an ideal client. Not targeting these types of prospects is leaving customers, and therefore revenue, on the table.
Here are the conversion rates for three of our clients. Notice for each client, there is at least one “comparison post” in the top five highest converting articles.
Without these comparison posts, our clients would be missing out on many more leads per month from their content.
You might be worried that your product is “too different” to your competitors to be truly compared – and you’re likely right. But remember this: it comes down to how your prospect thinks.
Sure, your product might be very different to a competitors’ and you’re essentially comparing apples to oranges. But your target customer doesn’t see it that way – they might not know that you’re very different. Which is why, we would argue, it’s even more important to write a comparison post to make it clear how you’re different, who you usually work with and when it makes sense to work with you versus a competitor.
3. Those who are searching up comparisons are usually not existing customers
We sometimes get push-back from clients that say that there’s a risk that people who read these articles and are already clients might find out about competitors and then switch.
First of all, as we’ve already established, it’s highly likely that if they were going to do that, they would have done it already. They’ve likely already done their research and have decided to work with you.
Secondly, these comparison articles are targeting potential new customers – in other words, people who are not yet customers. They are actually very often finding out about you for the first time, especially if you write a comparison post that piggybacks off of famous competitors, e.g. “Stripe vs Adyen vs [your product]”.
By targeting people who are not yet customers and maybe not even aware of your brand, you are:
- Putting yourself on the same stage as large incumbents, which is great for brand awareness and credibility.
- Building awareness of your product to people who are not even aware that your product exists (and are highly qualified to becoming customers).
- Acquiring new customers.
This argument showcases that really, there is nothing to lose by writing this kind of article. The worst case scenario is that a potential customer (who didn’t know about your product), finds out about your product (yay, brand awareness), and then chooses to go with a competitor. So you’ve raised brand awareness, but not acquired a customer – that’s better than nothing happening at all. Who knows, they might become a customer later on in their journey!
4. You can make a good case for choosing to pick your product
What’s very important when writing a comparison post is to not bash competitors. Instead, you want to use a comparison post to explain clearly for whom your product is ideal for.
In other words, own the fact that you are not for everyone, but you are excellent for this particular type of person or company.
This is a lot easier to do in a blog post, where you can add a section like “Who are we good for?”. It’s not so easy on a landing page, where you might only talk about your product.
By owning the fact that your product is not for everyone and explaining why, you’re seen in the eyes of the customer as a lot more trustworthy. Which leads us onto the next point…
5. Address the elephant in the room and be transparent
When people are buying your product, there’s an elephant in the room: what are your weaknesses? What are you not so good at?
Many companies will pretend there is no elephant in the room. They’ll say that their spend management tool is great for all types of businesses. That they’re the best invoice financing tool in the country.
But customers know that’s not true. They know that there are some things that you might not be so good at – and that’s ok.
As a company, you have two choices:
- You can allow the customer to discover the elephant in the room once they become a customer (which might lead to them losing trust), or
- You can say, the minute they walk in: “Here is our elephant. Do you have a problem with it?”.
For example: if you’re a spend management tool, you can admit that you don’t work well for small companies. Or that you work best for companies that operate only in one country. As an invoice financing tool, you might admit that you don’t work very well for the manufacturing industry.
Ideally, you’re not admitting weaknesses that are inherent to your product (e.g. our spend management tool is bad at spend management) – it’s obviously a lot easier to do this if you have a genuinely good product. Instead, you can just admit what type of companies you don’t work well with, and those that you do work well with.
A comparison post is the best way to do that. By owning the fact that you don’t work with everyone, you’re demonstrating confidence in your product. And when you aren’t scared to talk about your competitors, it shows that you know your product is good and that you aren’t afraid to admit that your product is not for anyone.
This article originally appeared on the Mint Studios blog.
This article does not contain investment advice or recommendations. Every investment and trading move involves risk, and readers should conduct their own research when making a decision.
The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of the Swiss Finance + Technology Association.
Araminta Robertson is the Founder and Managing Director at Mint Studios, a content marketing agency that helps fintech companies turn their website blog into a customer acquisition channel. The Mint Studios has helped fintech companies like Modulr, Zai, Confused.com and Jeeves use content to bring in USD 500k+ worth of customers.
She also co-manages the 1,500+ person Fintech Marketing Slack group and conference, is the host of the Market Like a Fintech podcast and Edinburgh’s Fintech Mixer events. She talks regularly at events hosted by Finovate Europe, Fintech Talents and BrightonSEO.