review mining

Review mining: the secret is in the steal

October 2021

You know your brand inside and out. You know your customers like the back of your hand. But have you been able to turn that knowledge into high-converting copy for your website? Copy that’s more about your customers and prospects than it is about you? Odds are that your message isn’t as sticky as it should be, and that’s because knowing how to write good copy is hard. Really hard.

So stop writing it and steal it instead.

“The secret weapon for writing sizzling website copy is all about the steal.”

That’s right: steal. Or swipe. Or take, lift, borrow… however you want to frame it, the secret weapon for how to write sizzling website copy is all about the steal.

Like anyone planning a steal, you’re going to need a few tools in your bag to make your mission a success. And there’s no better tool for swiping copy instead of writing it than review mining.

The good, the bad, the ugly

We’ve talked about the power of reviews and how they can make the difference between converting or losing a customer. You might have read the recent study that found that 94% of consumers say customer reviews factor into their buying decisions. It’s clear that reviews, both good and bad, matter.

Review mining takes a deep dive into those reviews, analyzing and summarizing what customers have to say. It’s about taking your target audience’s words and converting them into information you can use to craft copy that resonates.

Don’t have customer reviews of your own? Don’t fret: that’s what your competitor’s reviews are for. Study positive reviews and learn about what works. Analyze negative ones and avoid repeating your competitors’ mistakes. The insights you gain can give you a competitive advantage if you know how to leverage the feedback and reviews users have left about other companies and brands.

It’s not about you

When it comes right down to it, writing great copy isn’t about what you want. Or what you want to say. Or even really about your product or service. It’s about what the customer needs, the outcome your prospects are looking for. It’s about identifying their pain points and delivering copy that solves them.

“You need to figure out what your prospects think, what they care about, what keeps them up at night.”

Swiping reviews and turning them into persuasive copy that increases your conversion rate hinges on understanding just that. You need to figure out what your prospects think, what they care about, what keeps them up at night. Once you’ve got that down, you’ll be speaking their language (because you’re literally using their words) and they’ll be much easier to convert.

Easy as 1, 2, 3… 4

While it might seem complicated at first, review mining is actually a simple system that breaks down into four easy steps:

1. Identify your prospects’ main pain point or problem.

2. Figure out how your product or service (or other products and services out there) addresses that pain point or solves that problem.

3. Search for online reviews of your solution or others’ solutions and note what people are saying.

4. Use the same or slightly reworded copy for your website.

Where to mine for gold

There’s no hard-and-fast rule for review mining and there are loads of ways you can “listen in” to what your customers and prospects want. There are for-pay review mining tools, of course (Appbot, MobileAction, AppFollower and SensorTower are just a few), but if you’re looking to write stickier messages for your website and don’t have the budget to outsource, putting in the work yourself doesn’t have to be a time-consuming way to dig for gold. Gold you’ll want to steal and turn it into high-converting copy that not only sells but enhances your website’s UX as well.

See what your prospects are talking about on social media. Watch their Instagram stories, read their comments on Twitter, check out what they have to say on Facebook. If you’re selling a product, there’s no better place to check out what people are saying (either about you or your competitors) than Amazon. More service-oriented? Check out review sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor to see what your prospects are talking about.

The shiniest nuggets

Many of the reviews you read won’t be useful (and we won’t even get into the fake reviews that plague websites like Amazon). That’s okay.

When it comes to review mining, what you’re looking for is sticky messages, those things that truly matter to your prospects. These are the things that will start to jump out with you as you skim through reviews and social media content. You’ll see recurring questions, frustrations, excitement. Steal these insights (you can use something as simple as an Excel file to organize the information you take from reviews) as potential messages that can find their way into your copy and messaging.

Problem, Agitate, Solve

Now that you’ve swiped the skeleton for your copy, it’s time to bring it all together.

It’s here where a tried-and-true copywriting formula for writing persuasive copy comes in handy: Problem, Agitate, Solve (PAS). This foolproof copywriting framework is a great way to structure your review mining, breaking down what might seem like a complex process into bite-sized steps. Once you plug the reviews into the formula, you’ll be able to take what you’ve swiped from prospects online and turn it into pure copywriting magic.

The easy part is identifying the problem. You want to discover what problems your customers are having in real life, how your product or service could solve those problems, and you’ll find those problems discussed in reviews.

Agitate is about specifics. You’re looking for specific stories that you can put on your website that will make it possible for prospects to see themselves on your page. It’s what shows your target audience that you get them; it mirrors their experiences, their feelings. There’s no better way to express that than through their own words, using their language.

“You’re putting on the page language that comes straight from your prospects, which makes it much more likely to convert.”

Solve is where you offer a solution. It’s about tapping into the value that people get from using your product or service, how it will make their life better. You’re putting on the page language that comes straight from your prospects, which makes it much more likely to convert (and enhance UX) because it’s not fake or something that you’ve invented off the top of your head: it’s actual things that people have actually said.

Great writers steal

T. S. Eliot once said that “good writers borrow, great writers steal.” You don’t need to be a great writer to have high-converting copy and a website that resonates with your target audience. All you have to do is listen to what people are saying and use their own words – and review mining is one of the best ways to pick the words right out of your prospects’ mouths.

Illustration: Monika Sroga

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