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Choose your enemies wisely

Welcome to today’s issue of Conversion Alchemy Journal. If you received this from a friend and enjoy it, subscribe here.

“A wise man gets more use from his enemies than a fool from his friends.”

Baltasar Gracian

Today I wanted to write about competition, and how to use it to your advantage.

As I’m looking at my clients competitors this week, this is fresh on my mind and I’ve been using the time to improve the way I look at and study the competition’s positioning, messaging and copy.

If you struggle to quickly make sense of what you should do to stand out, this will be helpful.

It comes down to distilling a company’s website into its core messaging, UX and strategy components.

I do all this by collecting information from competitor’s websites into a simple spreadsheet.

Secretly spying on competitors

To start, I look at the 3 core elements of the MECLABS heuristic equation:

  • Motivation (what brings people to the site)
  • Value (what the company offers and promises)
  • Anxiety (how the company addresses their ICPs worries and doubts)

Then I add their CTAs (calls to action) to get an idea for what next step they want their audience to take.

This is where I copy-paste actual website copy for each of the core sections of the site. If you’re curious about how to differentiate different types of copy, and analyze any site in seconds, here’s a quick video I made with examples.

With this I know exactly what messaging angles and language others in the space use. You don’t have to copy entire pages, just enough to give you a sense for the key points they’re hitting.

Next, I’ll look at their website’s UX and branding.

This is because I want to really get a “feel” for competitors’ image, bot only how they say what they do, but how they want their customers to perceive them. Which is also reflected on the user experience and design of the site. Understanding branding is also a great way into their voice and tone.

Two key sections here in particular are super helpful.

  • Message: What are the main messages or themes the business is trying to convey? This could be words, like “data-driven, easy-to-use, fast” etc. In other words, what can you deduce from the copy they use about the core messages they’re trying to convey?
  • Emotional triggers: Based on the colors and words used, what emotional triggers is the business trying to evoke? With this I’m trying to capture the essence of the brand that comes through from the site’s design and copy. It’s based on understanding design principles and how colors and words impact how we feel.

The key to being a good conversion copywriter I think, is to look beyond words.

Finally, I’ll look at their pricing strategy and come up with a couple of notes based on everything I’ve observed.

You could add more to strategy, like SEO, analytics data etc. but I prefer to stick with simplicity. Trust me, when looking at 5-10 competitors it’s plenty.

Learning about their offer’s structure and how they price and package it, gives me great insights that I can use to make my client’s positioning and messaging even more differentiated. And to align it with their offer.

Too often B2B SaaS pricing gets bloated and confusing. This is a great chance to take an objective look at it with fresh eyes and decide if/how to improve it.

For my notes at the end, I typically divide them into “Good”, “Bad” and “Positioning” to cover all bases.

There you have it. By spending a couple of hours to gather all this juicy information, you now have a better understanding of your enemies high level positioning and messaging than 90% of people in your field.

Now, you just have to use it to write your copy!

📚 3 things to get better at copywriting

Video: Picking sharp, powerful words to communicate better

This is a great interview on wealth, success, career and life in general, but they also talk about communication and how the guest, Scott Galloway finds super powerful language to use in his writing. Check it out.

video preview

Article: Love having enemies

Speaking of Scott Galloway. Here’s a recent article, where he writes about having enemies and the benefits of finding yours. If you’re struggling to battle the competition, this will inspire you. Plus his writing is great.

Tribes are defined by their enemies. They help us convert danger and anxiety into brotherhood and glory. Spiritual leaders preach we should love our enemies. Evolution teaches us to love having enemies.

Swipe file: Attack your indirect competitors

I took this photo back in 2017 (when X wasn’t a thing) on the New York subway. It’s a great example of proactively attacking other ways of doing what you do. How can you encapsulate what indirect competitors do well in a few words and counter it?


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✅ Don’t miss it

Episode 14 of The Message-Market Fit podcast is out!

video preview

I had an great chat with Brendan Hufford, founder of Growth Sprints, a consultancy helping B2B software companies break free from “checkbox marketing”. Here’s what you’ll learn:

  • How to navigate imposter syndrome and improve self-perception
  • Finding purpose in your work and personal life
  • Harnessing the power of “hook – story – offer” in your content creation
  • How you can craft engaging content on LinkedIn to build your brand
  • Unlocking the potential of visual content in your marketing strategy
  • Understanding the importance of reach vs. resonance in content distribution
  • How to implement innovative demand generation strategies
  • Creating content IP and naming solutions to stand out in your industry
  • How to avoid the pitfalls of checkbox marketing
  • Leveraging deep customer insights and the role of AI in marketing

And way way more.

Check it out here, wherever you listen to podcasts or on Youtube. And if you find it valuable, would you consider subscribing and leaving a rating? 🙏

🤔 Thought of the week

“It takes courage and vulnerability to get direct and quality feedback. You’ve got to be completely honest that “this” is where you’re currently at. There’s risk in getting feedback, but only if you need to be right.”

Dan Sullivan, 10x Is Easier Than 2x

Be as ruthless at asking feedback as you are at giving it. Its a reminder of how fragile your ego is and of how attached you are to your self image.

Have a great weekend!

Chris Silvestri

Founder, Conversion Alchemy

🙌🏻 Let’s be friends (unless you’re a stalker)

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Every week I write about what I’m learning at my copywriting/UX desk ,with fun, insightful and quirky stories.

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