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When you can't compete on price, use these ad copy tips

Published: August 9, 2013

Author: Jaime Sikora

Recently, I decided it was time to refresh the creative on one of my e-commerce accounts. This account, specifically, was a bit of a niche market, but it had a decent chunk of competitors. Its industry has been around for a number of years.

I did a quick search on our largest volume queries, just to see what the competitors had in mind. Price point, price point, price point…. Each ad claimed a product cheaper than the next.

My client could not compete on price; customer service and the quality of products were his forte. His current ad made reference to this, but I decided to come up with a couple variables to drive the point home. I tried to put myself in the mind of the consumer.

I A/B tested in a new ad focusing on the length of time this company was a leader in this industry.  The end result?  See below.

a/b ad test

Moral of the story (besides regularly watch your competitors’ ad copy and ad test, ad test, ad test): when your client is in a world of low, low prices and can’t compete on that selling point, here are some points to drive home:

Use Original, Official, Leader, trademark symbol, etc. Now, the first important disclaimer is to make sure this is accurate. That aside, it’s important to keep in mind potential consumer anxiety, especially when shopping online. The worries could be about whether or one is buying the correct product, or whether or not the company is a shady-fly-by-night organization. Ad copy to show your establishment as a solid, reliable business can help reassure the customer that his money is going to a company capable of standing behind its product.

Play up Free Returns/No-Hassle Returns.  This is an especially important point in the online space. When one doesn’t see the product in person before purchasing, there’s more of a chance of a margin of error/lack of satisfaction. Knowing that one can get all or most money back can be key for a thoughtful consumer, especially one who has previously learned the hard way when choosing a product or vendor solely on price.

Cite Customer Service/Live Support. We all know the frustration and hatred of not being able to talk to a live person. A lot of companies like to think our needs can be serviced by a FAQ page, but sometimes, even when it can be, it’s more assuring to have an actual conversation with a person from the company who can listen to our concerns. When people are making big-ticket transactions online, this also helps ease anxieties.

Include Free Shipping! Even when, mathematically, it’s not the best choice, this seems to consistently be a winning selling point amongst consumers. Perhaps people like the idea of knowing the total they’ll be spending up front; perhaps they don’t like the idea of putting out extra money for shipping (even though, when shipping is free, it’s often built into the cost of the product anyway); or maybe they are just easily fooled.  Regardless, free shipping is usually a winning choice.

What are your favorite strategies to counteract noncompetitive pricing?

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