Stuck with off-topic product messaging? Getting unstuck may be easier than you think. When trying to nail the right value proposition for your audience, why not turn to the audience you’re looking at to generate value in your product?

Before embarking on extensive market research, you can tap the conversations of your audience for messaging inspiration. Look for places where individuals who need or want your product most are talking about it by searching places where they’re already having conversations.  Review sites, social media discussions and digital conversations about your competitors. This is easier than it sounds and doesn’t involve hours of searching the internet.

As Copy Hacker Joanna Wiebe kindly puts it in her piece on review mining: “instead of writing your message, steal it.” While we don’t always condone the idea of copying, creating messaging inspired by those who have the most to say about your product may be a goldmine for your value proposition.

There are several ways you can tap into your customer feedback (or competitor feedback) to find key messaging points that will resonate and generate value for your product. Here are our top three:

  1. Review your online mentions and activity. For small companies, tools like Google alerts or Mention can help identify where, when and how your brand is getting mentioned. If your brand is regularly discussed on user forums or sites like reddit, don’t just file away the discussion as a user note or complaint. If there is enough commentary available, do a qualitative content analysis and extract common themes, keywords and phrases from the discussion. Match them up against your current messaging…is there a match or a disconnect? In the case of a disconnect, you may need to head back to the drawing board.
  2. Use social media as a messaging gold mine. Maintaining a social media presence not only keeps your brand in the discussion, it can be the perfect breeding ground for feedback and commentary about what’s missing from your messaging. Take a detailed inventory of all your social media comments. If nothing common between them stands out, take to your best friend: the Excel spreadsheet. Build it out by categorizing comments as negative or positive, and then specify the particular type of post – this is where you can start to notice trends, building granular categories for the type of feedback that is coming back. Here’s an example spreadsheet similar to one used with a Voxus client: Qualitative Messaging Analysis in Excel
  3. Don’t forget your competitors—go beyond the competitive analysis. So your brand is so perfect (or new) and you don’t have any customer feedback to mine? Take to your competitors or similar products and go beyond your typical competitive analysis by looking at their reviews and online conversations. Use a competitor’s own customer feedback to find value in what is missing in the market or industry. Use the same spreadsheet to generate the data and argue your case to your team or supervisors. You may be surprised by what you find.

Once you’ve analyzed this information, what do you do with it? Test it through concentrated A/B testing, either through social media posts, email marketing subject lines, advertising copy or onsite web page content.

Additionally, using a spreadsheet of this nature is a great way to index customer sentiment year after year. If you find yourself or your team constantly changing messaging in attempt to meet one-off customer feedback, aggregate feedback and find your strong/weak points in the data rather than the anecdotes.