Most B2B SaaS companies have a love-hate relationship with review sites. They recognize the importance of sites like G2, Capterra, and TrustRadius to their marketing mix. But they tend to see review sites from a limited scope.
Reputation management and driving more reviews are often their sole objectives. This is especially the case for smaller, up-and-coming SaaS businesses that see themselves as underdogs within their category.
But there are other powerful ways SaaS companies can use review sites to their advantage. In this article, we’ll discuss three ways SaaS companies can leverage these platforms for competitive intelligence.
In particular, you’ll learn about the following approaches:
- Positioning, specifically how to use review sites to research customer insights on your company and competition.
- Ideation for content marketing and sales enablement material.
- Optimization of your PPC advertising strategy.
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Leveraging Customer Review Sites to Refine Your Positioning
The idea of positioning is often vague. This makes it hard for SaaS companies to understand what it is and where to start. But in essence, positioning is simply answering the following three questions for the market you’re targeting:
- Who’s your product for?
- What’s the problem it solves?
- How does your product work differently than the competition?
When defining your SaaS company’s positioning, review sites can be the ideal place to begin. After all, they’re packed full of customer insights about you and your competition.
To organize the information you can gather from them, you can use our SaaS Positioning Canvas. It’s a simple, 7-step framework that SaaS companies can lean on while articulating their positioning.
To illustrate how you could collect and organize insights from review sites in this framework, let’s use a real SaaS company as an example. Loopio is a request for proposal software that happens to be one of our long-term clients.
If Loopio wanted to refine their positioning relative to their competition, we would start by gathering intel on a site like G2. We’d simply search for Loopio and take note of what G2 recommends as possible alternatives.
From that list, we can do a deeper analysis of each business, starting first with how each one describes and positions themselves.
In this case, let’s take a closer look at RFPIO. It appears they’ve taken full advantage of G2, providing it with necessary details about who they are and what they do. They’ve even included a few demo videos, screenshots, and white papers that demonstrate their expertise in the RFP space.
But beyond the information that RFPIO’s given, we can drill down even further by examining what their customers have said about them. G2 has customers segment their reviews based on three different questions:
- What do you like best?
- What do you dislike?
- What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?
In particular, the answers to the second question could be the most valuable. What we’d do is recommend Loopio to take note of all the comments reviewers made to that question. With those in mind, Loopio could then choose to highlight positioning based on their competitors’ reported weak points.
In doing so, they can increase the relevancy of their positioning and compel more prospects to choose their product instead — especially if the weak points selected are of particular importance to customers.
In addition, they increase the chances that RFPIO customers seeking alternatives due to those weaknesses will choose Loopio instead.
Leveraging Customer Reviews for Content Marketing and Sales Enablement
This next section builds off the foundation we set in the previous section about positioning. That’s because customer review sites provide the basis for ideation for these two particular areas.
SaaS companies understand and recognize the value of content marketing. But the challenge they often face is the wall they hit when generating ideas to discuss. For many SaaS companies, ideation is a stumbling block in the process of creating marketing and sales content.
Review sites, though, are a great source of new ideas. You can look at the reviews of your competitors and identify common themes or trends that their customers tend to discuss. These themes are topics in which you can create content around.
To illustrate how you can do this, let’s say you do some digging on TrustRadius into one of your competitors.
In your research, you notice that one of the common cons that customers note is about customer support. You also recognize a pattern of dissatisfaction around pricing as well as their long-learning curve.
If these three themes are areas in which your software excels, talk about them in your content. Create blog posts that discuss them at length or even consider addressing them as pages in your help desk. Use the information you’ve gathered to fill in gaps in response to user feedback from the market.
Review sites can also come in handy when creating pages that contrast your company against your competition. For example, let’s say that you’re a company that provides marketing analytics software for agencies. You visit G2 and TrustRadius and find out that customers of one of your competitors often wish they were better at the following:
- More robust reporting, specifically when it comes to building and formatting. Customers would also appreciate if your competitor made it easier to send reports, too.
- Less friction and more seamless ways to integrate other related software platforms.
- Better ways to handle client billing.
Ask yourself: “Are these areas that my software has stronger features and functionality?” If the answer is yes, then emphasize the how and why in your comparison pages pitting you against your competition.
Leveraging Customer Reviews to Finetune Your PPC Ads Strategy
Many clients come to us with a dedicated PPC budget for review websites. It’s usually not an insignificant amount either. On Capterra, for example, we usually find the low end of investment to be around $10,000 and the high end to be around $50,000.
Many companies, though, scoff at the idea of allocating PPC ad budget to review sites due to the risk of becoming a commodity. Running PPC ads on review sites tends to result in lower quality leads, who often ask for discounts. This invariably creates a race to the bottom, which isn’t ideal for their return on ad spend.
But running ads on review sites can provide you with valuable sources of data. Bear in mind that the insights you collect may not be at the level of sophistication you’d find elsewhere (like Google). But the data nevertheless can help you decide how to deploy your budget across other platforms.
It’s also worth noting that prospects reading review sites are likely further along in the buyer’s journey. Anyone visiting these sites is looking to buy or at least research before they buy. That puts them closer to the finish line of making a purchase.
This is something you can’t always definitively say about someone’s behavior on Google. Depending on the keywords you target, not everyone you reach through your SEM campaigns is looking to buy. There are all these other pools of intent that are hard to suss out.
This is why using review sites to experiment with your PPC ad budget is a good place to start. The lead quality may be low, but the intent in these places is hot. That intent is enough to help you discover insights that you can leverage in bigger universes like Google.
What Insights Can You Glean From Review Sites?
Running PPC ads on review sites can teach you about any adjacent categories you may not have thought to target on other platforms. That’s because review sites like Capterra and G2 allow you to advertise to categories rather than keywords.
To clarify, let’s continue with our Loopio example from above for whom we run ads on Capterra. In addition to their primary categories of “Proposal Management” and “RFP”, we’ve also discovered other potential opportunities in categories related to security intake and questionnaires.
Having this information is useful because it provides us with additional intelligence for expanding our targeting to reach new audiences on other PPC platforms.
Summing Up What We’ve Covered
Up until now, you’ve likely focused most of your energy on reputation management or getting more positive reviews. These objectives are important, but they’re not the only ways to leverage review sites for your SaaS business.
Instead, focus also on using them for competitive intelligence and implementing the three tactics we discussed in this article. To recap, they were:
- Content Ideation for Marketing and Sales
- PPC Advertising Campaigns
Most SaaS companies tend to overlook these opportunities in spite of the value they can add. But taking advantage of the insights you gather from review sites can earn you a leg up against your competition.
Ready to start leveraging review sites but know you need help with execution? Then schedule a Free SaaS Scale Session and we can have a conversation about your next steps in the process.