Review Mining: How to Understand Your Buyers When You’ve Got Limited Time (And Budget)

Don’t write your customer copy. Steal it.

Before you think I’m encouraging you to plagiarize, hear me out…

In an ideal world, every company would heavily invest in upfront customer research. Marketers would interview customers 1:1, send surveys to an engaged email list, and hang around where their prospects talk.

But we live in the Real World™—where budgets are tight, pressure to deliver fast growth is high, and clients rarely know exactly why their best-fit customers buy.

Then it’s no wonder why 65% of marketers seldom conduct audience research despite knowing that those who do are 303% more likely to achieve their goals, according to a study by CoSchedule.

But you can’t throw caution in the wind and (gasp) guess what your buyers are thinking in 2022.

So, how do you spark new marketing ideas without actually talking to customers?

You hunt for what they’ve already said…behind your back.

What is review mining?

Review mining is when you scour through online reviews of your and your competitors’ products—and analyze them for useful intel to guide your marketing.

Why reviews? Reviews are one of the easiest (and cost-effective) ways to listen to your customers. They contain juicy details from real buyers—why they bought from you, what triggered their buying journey, which other solutions they have tried, and more.

For example, Glossier’s Priming Moisturizer Rich face cream’s reviews contain goldmine insights about why customers choose this product from them.

Not just this: You can also use snippets from these reviews in the product’s description directly to increase conversions.

The best part? You don’t need to rely only on your product’s testimonials for review mining research. Even if you’re a new brand in the market, you can analyze the online reviews of your competitors. Learn what people complain about, which pain points your rival doesn’t solve, and why buyers would want a new product.

For example, browse through G2 reviews of the leading email marketing platform, Mailchimp. You’ll find many missing features from the software, why customers would consider switching to a new product, and what they hate about the service.

Review mining gets you unsolicited buyer opinions—you understand what your buyers love and what your prospects want.

But where do you begin online review mining?

“Top Marketing Newsletters You Need to Subscribe To”

How to get review mining data?

Before getting into the nitty-gritty, set a clear goal for what you aim to accomplish with online review mining research.

  • Maybe you want to come up with ideas for optimizing your Facebook ads
  • Perhaps you aim to enhance your landing page’s copy for the best-fit customers
  • Or maybe you need to run a pulse-check on your prospects before launching a new product

Determining what you’ll do with the reviews you collect before getting your hands dirty will help you start strong, look at the right resources, and avoid time-consuming mistakes.

For instance, if you work with a brand with hundreds of products and 15,000+ reviews, you cannot analyze every review. It’s not practical. You’ll need to prioritize and define the project’s scope.

With that out of the way, let’s buckle down and learn how to find the best buyer reviews:

#1: Gathering the data: Where to find online reviews?

Broadly, there are three most common places to find reviews: 

  • Your own or your competitor’s website: These are the reviews and case studies on your or your competitor’s site. For example, the beverage brand, Olipop, has testimonials from customers for each drink on its online shop.
  • Third-party review sites: Customers also leave testimonials on third-party websites like Amazon, Google Reviews, Capterra, etc.

    The third-party resource you should look into depends on your industry and type of business.

    For example, if you’re selling software, your go-to third-party review site should be
    G2, TrustRadius, and GetApp. On the other hand, if you have a service-based business, you can look for reviews on Facebook pages, Yelp, or TrustPilot.

    For a consumer product like Olipop, Amazon reviews can be a goldmine.
  • Social Reviews: Want some honest, informal product reviews? There’s no better place than social media and niche communities. Although social reviews are a little hard to gather, they’re a treasure-hunt for understanding how your buyers think, talk, and shop.

    Search Facebook groups, read Instagram comments, watch YouTube review videos, and go down Quora rabbit holes to search for what buyers are saying.

    For example, see how buyers share their unfiltered opinion on Olipop in a subreddit:

Hot tip: Gathering data can be time-intensive and tedious. Consider outsourcing this step to a virtual assistant or hiring someone to help via Fiverr or Upwork.

#2: Organizing the reviews: How to make sense of qualitative data?

Online review mining gives you qualitative data (i.e., actual words from genuine buyers). It isn’t as straightforward as crunching numbers.

But if you do it right, it can be crazy powerful.

The first step is determining the number of reviews you need to collect. How do you know if you’ve collected one too many testimonials or are short of a few? It depends on the scope of your project.

For instance, if you want to write a copy for running an Instagram ad, analyzing a handful of five-star reviews of your product might do the trick. But if you want to rebuild your marketing assets to be more customer-focused, you need to mine many reviews to spot potential patterns that can inform your strategy.

The second step is filtering the most useful reviews. What makes an online review qualify as useful?

  • The review contains emotional language or a surprising experience with your product
  • The review shares valuable details about their buying journey, the background of the customer, and what competitors the buyer has tried
  • The review includes memorable phrases that you can use directly in your copy or content

For example, see the following review by a customer for the transcription service company, Rev:

It highlights who the customer is (a user researcher in a small company), what they use Rev for (transcribing interviews), and what pain points they solve (saving time and having more conversations without fear of increasing their workload).

#3: Analyzing review mining research: What should you pay attention to?

The ultimate goal of review mining is to help you find patterns and what I like to call “golden nugget” insights. These “golden nuggets” lead to insane clarity and unexpected ideas that will make your team or client go… “holy sh*t—that’s brilliant!”

But, converting raw qualitative data into valuable insights can feel a bit like trying to carve marble out of a butter knife. Where do you even…begin?

Start by understanding and tracking the important metrics. Here’s a checklist of what you should look for:

  • Buying Trigger: What made your buyers think, “Huh, I may have a problem?” and look for potential solutions? Tracking customer triggers can help you identify prospects quickly and convert them into regular customers.
  • Pain: Pay attention to reviews highlighting your buyer’s frustrations. Ask: What is stopping my customer from making progress? If you’re a new company, create a product or a feature addressing these problems. Or create product-led content showing how your brand can solve these problems.
  • Goal: These are the testimonials saying, “I wanted to achieve X…” or “I used X product and saw Y results…” These statements often make for a great swipeable copy and also aid in understanding where exactly your product fits in your customers’ lives.
  • Channels: Do most of your prospects come from a social media platform or an influencer referral? Understanding where your buyers hang out, seek recommendations, and discover products can help you double down on the most profitable channels.
  • Other solutions: You’ll find a few reviews also mention alternate solutions your buyer has tried, explored, or considered before trying your product. These can be direct competitors (e.g., McDonald’s vs. BurgerKing) or indirect solutions (e.g., a vending machine vs. McDonald’s for a quick-meal-on-the-go-problem). Track these in the collected data if you want to beat your competition.
  • Anxiety: Do some online reviews mention why a buyer hesitated to buy your product? Maybe they share some objections or mention features they dislike. Take note of these to overcome objections from your prospects upfront—whether in sales calls, marketing messages, or customer success meetings.
  • Selfish desires: What is your buyer’s personal motivation (AKA their why) driving the purchase? Even if you’re a B2B software company selling to other B2B companies, there’s still a personal motivation behind each customer. Knowing these selfish desires will help you understand the customer on a deeper level and also make for a hit-the-nail-on-the-head copy.

Is the thought of tracking all these metrics—let alone from qualitative data—making your palms sweaty? You’re not alone.

Luckily, you don’t have to figure out a system to spot all the above-mentioned benchmarks yourself.

Enter: The Golden Nugget Review Mining System

Getting insights into your customers through review mining has never been more crucial. And yet, mining online reviews has never been less overwhelming.

Our review mining system helps you learn how to find the best buyer reviews, gather valuable data without burning hours, and show you exactly how to use these insights. Think of it as your all-inclusive system that makes online testimonial hunting a breeze.

Enter: The Golden Nugget Review Mining System.

It contains a lightning analysis template with a repeatable process to quickly analyze buyer reviews. Tracking all the metrics—from triggers to selfish desires—will be a cakewalk.

You can even use this template to analyze other qualitative data—like survey responses or 1:1 buyer interviews.

The best part?

We’ve included little-known tools that will save hours and hours of time and even threw in customizable slide templates so that you can share your findings with the team in a way that makes them say “hell yes!” to your ideas—and make you look like a badass.

Enter: The Golden Nugget Review Mining System.

Want it? Thought so.

Explore the whole Golden Nugget Review Mining System here. You’ll have everything you need to unearth the kinds of golden nuggets that drive record-breaking growth.

You’ll love it.

We’ll wait for your review 😉

Written By Katelyn

Katelyn Bourgoin is the CEO of Customer Camp, a 4X founder, and a cheese lover. She lives by a simple mantra: whoever gets closer to the customer wins.

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If you can figure out what makes people tick, click and buy, you can make big $$$. We're working on a new research certification program. Want first dibs when we launch it? Hop on the waitlist.

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Wanna get the buyer insights you need from key stakeholders (and look like a boss)? Our new Stakeholder Mining Kick-off Session training is coming soon. Join the waitlist to get first dibs.

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