Comparison page best practices

October 3, 2020

Pages that explain how your product compares with competitors – they’re extremely helpful for your prospects, and for Google, too.

There are a few ways to put these pages together. Let’s say you run a service called Badminton. You could own:

  • The phrase “Alternatives to Badminton”.
  • Similar phrases for your competitors – if your competitors are TableTennis and Squash, try owning “Alternatives to TableTennis” and “Alternatives to Squash”
  • Phrases that specifically compare your product to these competitors, like “Badminton vs. Squash”
  • Phrases that help prospects understand how to choose a solution in your area, whether or not they specifically mention your competitors

Building pages like these can:

  • Help your customers evaluate whether your solution is the best fit for them
  • Bring you to awareness with customers who might not already know about you
  • Help you more deals where your solution is (or appears to be) a better fit

Where to focus when building comparison pages

We’ve outlined several different approaches in the first list above – and you probably don’t have the resources to produce all of this content at once.

Mostly, where to focus should be decided by where the search volume is.

For example, if you’re small or a new entrant, it might make sense to first build out pages that show you as an alternative to your larger competitor. That lets you take advantage of interest associated with that competitor. On the other hand, if you have some traction, you might want to invest the resources to inform customers who are looking for alternatives to you.

Once you’ve decided how to attack building these pages, it’s time to start building them. The first step is to make sure these pages “frame the conversation” with your prospect.

Framing the conversation

In every conversation, we present different framing by emphasizing different information – even if all the information we provide is true, we can show different lenses on it.

As a marketer, you want to give true information, but you can certainly do it from the viewpoint of your product, focusing on the feature categories that you think are the most important, and that are likely to lead to a better experience for the user overall.

  • Heap does a good job of this. They choose comparison points like “Easy to implement” and “Access to complete historical data” which they believe are the most important to the user (and where they can win).

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  • Guru also does this, and fairly aggressively. They only give their competitor Notion a checkmark in a couple of generic categories, including a sneaky one that’s actually a way of pigeonholing them into a very specific use case.

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Don’t compare yourself to your competitors based on what they think is important. Compare yourself based on what you think is important.

Elements to include on comparison pages

Once you’ve decided how to frame the conversation, you’ll probably build some kind of comparison chart as in the examples above. That’s a pretty basic tactic, and in addition to a comparison chart, there are a few other items you can include on your comparison pages to make them even more effective.

  • Testimonials can be extremely powerful to show exactly who your solution is better suited to. PieSync has some of these on its comparison pages versus Zapier. However, these can be pretty hard to come by, and it’s critical to keep these up to date. A more sustainable long-term strategy is to use more generic testimonials and keep them up to date with all of your others.
  • Sites like G2Crowd provide crowdsourced reviews and statistics comparing different solutions. If you can keep these reviews up to date, they can be a powerful tool to show the differences between your solution and another.
  • In addition to specific comparisons to your competitors, it’s also important to include your standard product messaging. Remember that many visitors to your page will not know who you are, who uses your product, or how you price. This is all important information to include, everywhere.
  • Migration information can be helpful for prospects. If it’s easy to move from a competitor’s product to yours, include information about this capability or service on the page. Doing this removes one of the major barriers to consideration: switching costs.

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  • Once you’ve put together multiple compare pages, add a central location for all of them. Toast does a good job of this. A possible downside to this strategy is that if your competitors aren’t well known, but you are, you end up exposing your visitors to alternatives they may not have been aware of. However, even if you are doing that, that gives you a powerful way to frame the conversation about these competitors.

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Other considerations for comparison pages

If a user is on a comparison page, that likely means they’re close to making a purchase decision or are, at least, actively researching. In that case, it’s useful to include live chat so that you can quickly answer other questions that come up.

If you have a sales team, it’s also critical that your sales teams have the information that’s on the comparison pages. Even better, originate comparison page content from content your sales teams are already using.

Lastly, strongly consider putting a retargeting pixel on your comparison pages. Visitors here are likely to be worth actively engaging through some kind of paid retargeting program.

Conclusion

Comparison pages can be incredibly valuable selling tools and helpful for prospects as they make decisions about whether to buy your product. When building them, think strategically about what message you want to send and how you want your prospect to think about you versus your competitors. There are lots of other things you can do to make these pages successful, too – sharing them with your sales team, offering live chat, and generally creating a comprehensive resource for switchers and potential switchers.


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