Competitor Comparison Landing Pages: A Strategic Approach for B2B SaaS
Last updated: June 29, 2020
Most SaaS companies fall into two camps when it comes to competitor comparison landing pages.
Camp 1 doesn’t make them because they think they’re an unethical potshot at their competitors.
Camp 2 does create them, but they do so in a way that does a poor job of actually making a comparison (i.e., they’ll focus entirely on themselves, or they’ll focus too much on discounting their competitors).
When companies don’t create them at all, more than likely, their competitors have — and are therefore controlling the narrative for prospects about how your products match up. And when they create them without making a true comparison, they’re not providing prospects with what they came to that page to understand.
Both cases lead to lost opportunities and, ultimately, lost revenue and market share.
In this article, we’ll make our case to both of these camps about how they should be doing things differently — creating pages that are respectful, actually useful, and more compelling to right-fit prospects.
Below we discuss:
- Common mistakes (and the implications that follow)
- High-level thoughts on our process for creating comparison pages
- An example of a comparison page we made for our client BoardOnTrack, including a detailed breakdown of what we did and why.
Then we’ll wrap up with a few more examples of great comparison pages that you can take additional inspiration from.
Competitor comparison landing pages are one of the core types of bottom-of-the-funnel SaaS content we create for our clients. They’re highly valuable for lead generation from both a PPC and SEO perspective. If you’d like to learn more about our services, schedule a Free SaaS Scale Session.
Common Mistakes We See with SaaS Comparison Pages
1. Not Creating Them All Together
Some SaaS companies feel that comparative advertising is dirty. It’s lowbrow. It’s casting shade. And they think, “We’re going to run our own race.”
But most of these companies haven’t been exposed to what a great comparison page can do. And when you leave it up to your competitors to frame the differences between your products … Well, you probably know how that goes.
We’ve heard from SaaS founders how upsetting it is when they see their competitor’s comparison pages. They’ll say, “They say we don’t have that feature, but we do!”
This is the problem with not presenting your own argument and side of the story. When you let your competitors or sites like Capterra frame comparisons for you in search engine results, it’s very likely they’ll miss things or provide inaccurate information. And that misinformation turns away buyers who would otherwise have been a great fit for your product.
2. Directing Traffic to Thin Pages That Don’t Make a True Comparison
Next, there are SaaS companies that create pages for the purpose of directing traffic from Google search queries (whether through paid ads or organic search). But they’ll simply slap on an H1 heading with the comparison keyword and otherwise say nothing of their competitor.
The thinking is this: We should bid on that term and just send people to this page we already have. All we really need to do is get people to sign up for a trial.
But this is a very me-focused, short-term way of approaching comparison pages. Your best prospects are smart. And when they land on the page expecting to get detailed information about how your product differs from your competitor’s product, and all they see is a thinly veiled way of getting them to sign up for a trial or demo — you’ve lost them.
They can see right through you and are likely to bounce with a bad taste in their mouth.
3. Focusing Entirely on Themselves or Overly Discounting Their Competitors
Lastly, the other common mistake we see is when SaaS companies create comparison pages that are heavily focused on themselves or overly focused on discounting their competitors — both of which can lead to poor outcomes.
When these companies focus on themselves, the content of the page doesn’t actually match the pain point of potential customers as they typed it into their search queries. Their pain point was: We want to understand the actual differences between these services. This naturally leads to lower conversion rates.
When companies focus on discounting their competitors, it seems like they’re compensating for something — like they don’t believe in their own service. This is typically perceived as tasteless and reflects poorly on the brand.
Above all, these are the mistakes we see and the ones you should avoid when creating your comparison pages. Now let’s look at how we typically go about creating these pages with our clients.
How We Create Competitor Comparison Pages for Our B2B SaaS Clients
When we’re creating comparison pages with clients, everything begins with understanding the nuances of how the products actually differ.
And this isn’t always easy to do. Many times, competing SaaS products do very similar things with very similar features.
So we’ll walk through our SaaS positioning canvas and ask our clients questions to surface the differences that do exist. We’ll ask them questions like:
- Why would your target customer buy your solution vs <top competitor>?
- What type of customer would your platform be a better fit for vs <top competitor>?
- How do you solve your customer’s core pain points differently from an approach or strategy perspective than your competitors do?
Inevitably, subtle or not so subtle differences will come out that we can use on the page to convey the true differences between products.
To take it a step further, we’ll sometimes interview the customers of our clients who have recently subscribed to hear them explain in their own words why they chose our client over their competitors. That way, we can learn what really matters to users and ensure we reflect that on our comparison page.
Now let’s break down an example of a comparison page we recently created for our client BoardOnTrack (inspired by this classic Intercom vs Drift comparison page).
Should you include a competitor comparison table?
One of the most common questions we see about product comparison pages between SaaS competitors is whether or not it’s reasonable or useful to include a competitor comparison chart or competitor comparison table.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with including a competitor comparison table as long as it does the following:
- Presents an objective view of both products – marketers have a tendency to choose the starkest differences between their product and a competitors and then highlight them. This is a cynical move that buyers can smell a mile off.
- Adds to the overall narrative – remember that with your competitor comparison pages you’re telling a story and trying to communicate your value proposition. If a feature-by-feature analysis actually helps a visitor to your site turn into a user, then great! But this is not always the case and you should use your best judgement.
- Includes only the important elements – it’s just not helpful to add a competitor comparison table that cites every single feature of both products. No product – even with feature parity – is actually alike. There are better ways to frame your argument than an endless checkbox list of features. Instead, it can be helpful to include information about the business model (e.g. do you offer a free trial but your competitor doesn’t?)
A good competitor comparison page can be a key SaaS landing page where conversions of your best-fit customers actually take place. But it’s important to be authentic and helpful in order to build trust and awareness with target audience.
SaaS Comparison Page Example: BoardOnTrack
We’ve talked previously about our approach to headlines in our article on SaaS landing pages — how we’ve found that posing questions (as opposed to making generic statements) is often a more effective way of grabbing visitors’ attention and provoking them to read further.
So rather than the standard “BoardOnTrack vs. BoardDocs” headline, we went with the question “Why Choose BoardOnTrack over BoardDocs?” After all, that’s what prospects who type in “BoardOnTrack vs. BoardDocs” are trying to understand.
Then we open up with a short acknowledgement and nod to BoardDocs to signal to readers that we aren’t here to trash our competitors. We’re here to understand the differences between these two services.
Then we created a section to convey our client’s perspective on the core difference:
In essence, the difference between the two services is that BoardDocs is for any school board, and BoardOnTrack is designed specifically for charter school boards. So this section was an effort to communicate to visitors that if they’re a charter school, this product has been tailored for their exact needs.
From there, we created a section describing the top five reasons why charter school boards should choose BoardOnTrack:
For each reason, we included a relevant product screenshot to help visualize the product for prospects. Then we described in a few short paragraphs how the feature works and benefits users.
In the next section, we used a comparison table to visualize the differences between BoardOnTrack and BoardDocs. But we limited the amount of features we compared and tried to keep things as simple as possible (contrary to many comparison tables out there with an overwhelming amount of rows).
Then we used logos of charter school boards using their product as social proof:
And customer testimonials to provide further credibility:
One thing we’d do differently next time: If our client had customers who were previously their competitor’s customers, we’d reach out to them for testimonials about why they made the switch. That would make the testimonials even more relevant to the page and thus that much stronger.
And finally, the call to action:
Rather than plugging in multiple CTA’s throughout the page, we stuck with a single CTA at the bottom of the page, inviting readers to join one of BoardOnTrack’s biweekly webinar-style demos. In doing so, we increase the probability that people who book a demo will be a good fit for BoardOnTrack (indicative of having read through to the bottom of the page before signing up).
3 More SaaS Comparison Pages to Take Inspiration From
The following are some additional comparison pages to draw inspiration from, including the elements we think these companies have gotten right.
1. Pipedrive vs. Salesforce CRM
- Meta description: If you look at their meta description, they’re actually talking about comparison points to aid the decision making process between Salesforce and Pipedrive. And we think this approach of showing their intention to make a true comparison (not just focus on themselves) does well to match the narrative that’s already going on in prospects’ minds.
- Sub headline: They make a direct link to the pain points of Salesforce, touching on how it can be difficult to use for people who are less technically savvy.
- G2 and Capterra ratings: Their use of showing how real users rate the two products is a transparent way of signaling to prospects that they have nothing to hide — that they’re confident in their product.
- Customer testimonials: By focusing on how and why customers who used to use Salesforce have come over to Pipedrive, their testimonials are directly related to the content and context of the page.
2. QuickBooks vs. FreshBooks
- Headline: By positioning themselves as the non-accountant software, this is likely to resonate with anyone reading who identifies themselves as not an accountant. It provides contrast between themselves and QuickBooks which is used by a lot of professional accountants.
- Sub headline: By stating they’re designed exclusively for small business owners, they further position themselves as the option for non-accountants. And by pairing that with a proof point such as “97% of customers recommend Freshbooks”, they’re able to communicate a compelling case in a small space.
- Testimonials: With the section headline, “Why Other Small Business Owners Made the Switch,” paired with testimonials from users who came to them from QuickBooks, they’re showcasing the specific pain points that real people have felt using their competitor’s product — and signaling how people who have made this switch have been happy with their decision.
- Support contact info and FAQ: By providing a short section with how to contact the FreshBooks support team with questions, they acknowledge that people often need more information to make this decision. And their accordion FAQ section also helps to aid the reader in further understanding their product.
3. Harvest vs. Everhour
- First impression: Similar to the BoardOnTrack example above, we like how they explain how this page will be different from the existing pages on the topic: “Most of the articles provide a differentiation just on the features of the tools. But we decided to go deeper and make a comparison of products’ principles and concepts. We will also describe how they will influence and, ideally, complement the processes at your company.” In doing so, they signal to prospects how they’ve made an effort to make the page more useful than the others.
- Use of GIF’s: Their use of GIF’s is a great way to show (rather than tell) and visualize what it’s like to actually use the product.
- Communicating differentiation: Throughout the page they do well to show what Harvest’s product can’t do that their product can, helping to position themselves based on their strengths. For example, “Harvest doesn’t sync any additional but crucial data of your project like sections or tags, while Everhour does.”
Effective SaaS Comparison Pages Can Increase Lead Quality and Win Right-Fit Customers
Competitor comparison pages are more than just a content marketing asset for SEO or paid media — they’re a chance to help customers see for themselves whether they’re truly a good fit for your service.
They’re an opportunity to say, “This is what we do and who we’re made for. And this is what they do and who they’re made for.” This can help SaaS companies attract more of their ideal customers and less poorly fit customers who end up churning after 100 days.
By giving competitors credit where it’s due and helping prospective customers see the real differences between your products, you can increase the effectiveness of your comparison pages and win more of the right customers in the process.
Competitor comparison landing pages are one of the core types of bottom of the funnel SaaS content that we create for our clients. If you’d like to learn more about our services, schedule a Free SaaS Scale Session.
What you should do now
Whenever you’re ready…here are 4 ways we can help you grow your B2B software or technology business:
- Claim your Free SaaS Scale Session. If you’d like to work with us to turn your website into your best demo and trial acquisition platform, claim your FREE SaaS Scale Session. One of our growth experts will understand your current demand generation situation, and then suggest practical digital marketing strategies to double your demo and trial traffic and conversion fast.
- If you’d like to learn the exact demand strategies we use for free, go to our blog or visit our resources section, where you can download guides, calculators, and templates we use for our most successful clients.
- If you’d like to work with other experts on our team or learn why we have off the charts team member satisfaction score, then see our Careers page.
- If you know another marketer who’d enjoy reading this page, share it with them via email, Linkedin, Twitter, or Facebook.