Many businesses are busy trying to generate customers and get their valued customers to leave valuable online reviews to further their reputation management campaigns. But these same businesses often neglect a gold mine that can be found by simply looking at the reviews left for their competitors.
The reviews of your competitors will reveal a lot of valuable information that you can use to your advantage. Here are four big takeaways that you should be looking for when going over your competitors' reviews.
1. See What Customers Love About Your Competitors
The first thing to pay attention to is the positive online reviews. According to Marketing Land, 90% of customers say buying decisions are influenced by online reviews. You need to research the reviews your customers are reading to see what aspects of the business that customers love. You want to look for patterns in the reviews to see what selling points you should model for your own business.
For instance, if you're finding that customers love the customer service, look deeper into what the business is doing to satisfy their customers.
Let's say that you find that the customers of a particular contractor say positive things about transparency. You might dig into it and find that the contractor takes the time to educate their customers, provide price comparisons of their competitors, help them secure the best prices for their projects, and more. These elements all contribute to the customer trusting the contractor for his service.
Now if you're missing a good number of these elements when you work with customers, you want to figure out how to incorporate them into your business. You'll start to see faults in the way you're running your business. The goal of this takeaway is to help you go back to the drawing board so that you can deliver the best product or service and stand out among your competition.
2. See Where Your Competitors Are Failing
The next thing you want to look for is negative reviews. This can be complaints about anything from the product, service, customer service, or business process.
Start scouring the reviews for the reviews in order to create a list of all the negative feedback that customers are leaving. This will give you a good number of things to base your business on.
What you'll often realize is that your business is making some of the same mistakes your competitors are. This gives you the opportunity to fix the mistakes before you start to generate negative reviews.
It also allows you to create a list of selling points to market your business on. If you find that a competitor's service is lacking something important, you can focus on that factor in your sales material.
It also helps to go through critical reviews. This means you want to go through mixed reviews and the "almost perfect" reviews. This will be the norm if you're dealing with competent business owners. You'll find that they will often deliver a decent product or service but will have a specific weakness that prevents customers from leaving rave reviews.
3. Identify and Compare Price Points and Promos
You can't ignore the fact that customers make purchases based on price points and promotions. For many businesses, the biggest costs come from acquiring the customer. That's why you want to go through your competitor's customer reviews to see how they acquired their customers. You want to start by looking for feedback about price points. Were customers satisfied with the price point? Did they feel like they paid too much? Did they feel like they got way more for their money?
You want to use this information to help adjust the price points of your products and services. The price often will determine whether a customer choose you over your competition, so it's important to make sure your prices are competitive.
You may find that you are charging too much for your product or service. On the other hand, if customers felt like the price they paid was a steal, it may be worth trying to raise your prices if your prices are on par with your competitors.
You want to then look through the reviews to see what kind of promotions your competitors were running. Customers often mention they deal they took advantage of whether it was a "buy one get the second 50 percent off" or "get two for the price of one."
The idea here is to get clues into what kind of offers your competitors are running as well as get an idea of which ones are actually generating new customers for them.
4. Study Their Engagement and Marketing Strategies
Have you ever wondered what marketing channels you should be focusing on? What about the kinds of marketing strategies you should be using? A good way to see how your competitors are reaching and engaging customers is to look through their social media reviews.
Customers will often say things like "I saw their ad on Facebook" or "I found their listing in the search listings when searching for a keyword." This is a big clue into what you should be doing to reach more customers. 84% of consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation, so sharing your customers’ positive experience with your audience on all platforms is a vital step in attracting customer loyalty.
You also want to look at what customers are saying about how your competitors engaged them. For example, they may say that they were given a coupon for signing up for their text message list.
They may say that they received an email coupon after signing up for their blog email list. The idea here is to get ideas on how you should be marketing your business and engaging with your customers.
Obviously, every business will need to build their marketing campaigns based on their core competencies, and engage their customers through their brand's approach.
The takeaway here is to get a better glimpse into what the competition is doing. You may even find that they're using similar strategies as you but just executing everything better than you.
In conclusion, reputation management should go beyond your own customers. You want to look at the reviews of your competitors to get indirect feedback on what to improve and what to fix in your own business.
You'll also get a lot of great ideas on how to market your business and engage your customers. So the next time you think about online reviews, take an hour or two to study your competition.
As a copywriter for legitlocal.com, Matt spends time finding ways of improving customer and brand relationships throughout the entire lifetime of a product. He helps develop strategies that businesses can implement immediately for real-time results.