6 Minute Read

[October 07, 2022]

When a prospective customer reads your marketing, they need to connect with what they’re reading. This connection will give you an edge when it comes time for that customer to decide. The company that answers the question, “Who understands me the best?” is the company that will more often win the business.

However, sometimes we think a clever idea that gets our readers attention and makes them laugh, or makes them say, “Wow, great turn of phrase there,” is what resonates with people and makes them want to buy from you. Maybe you believe that if someone at your company or a marketer says, “I like it,” then you can’t possibly go wrong.

This is more creative writing. And creative writing isn’t the same as sales writing. What “sounds good,” or what your marketing team has done some “wordsmithing” on, can sometimes be too polished to make a sale.  Or it’s just not the RIGHT message to send to your audience to get them to say yes to what you’re offering.

What really makes someone buy from you?

When people see themselves reflected in your marketing copy, it should feel like you’re reading their mind. This is what instantly gets them interested in what you’re saying—because it’s about them. As humans, most of us are only ever thinking about ourselves and what’s in it for me.

The goal then is to make the words on the page sound like thoughts your prospects are having. So, how do you do that?

With “voice of customer” data.

What is voice of customer data?

When we talk about voice of customer (VoC) data, we mean the words your prospective or existing customers use to describe your product, service, solution or others like it. It’s the way they speak about their experiences. You might think this sounds a lot like collecting customer feedback – something you may already be doing in your business – and to some degree, it is. With VoC, you begin to put those words and experiences directly into your marketing.

If you are hearing customer feedback from salespeople or taking what you hear in a customer survey and just filing it away in your mind, you’re missing a critical component of making VoC work for you. Additionally, if you’re still sitting down and waiting for inspiration to strike for how you should present a new offer, you aren’t taking advantage of the power of VoC.

Voice of Customer can be very powerful. Research has shown that companies who implement a voice of customer strategy generate a 10x greater year-over-year increase in annual company revenue.

David Ogilvy, dubbed the “Father of Advertising,” famously, said “I don’t know the rules of grammar. If you’re trying to persuade people to do something, or buy something, it seems to me you should use their language, the language they use every day, the language in which they think. We try to write in the vernacular.”

If you believe that marketing copy means sitting down and “coming up with a good idea,” you’re basically guessing. You’re taking a shot in the dark as to what will appeal to your prospects. As Claude Hopkins, another advertising pioneer said, “Guesswork is very expensive.”

Why guess when there are plenty of tools at your disposal to gather VoC data?

You must get beyond just knowing the pain your customer is going through. You need to know how they describe that pain. You need to know how they view your product or service (or others like it).

Where to find VoC data

There are plenty of places to go to “listen” to what your customers or prospects are saying, here are just a few:

  • Sales calls (what are the prospect’s objections, what are they looking for)
  • Customer service (what issues do they commonly hear about or what do customers praise the company for when speaking to a customer service rep)
  • Surveys (try a one-question survey on your thank you page, a formal survey you mail/email, or an exit intent survey that pops up on your website when someone leaves the page)
  • Customer interviews (use information from case study interviews)

Sample questions to ask your customers (open-ended are best):

  • What was going on in your life that brought you here (to the website) today?
  • How else have you tried to solve this problem and why didn’t those work?
  • How has our product or service made your life easier?
  • What would’ve happened had you not found our product or service?
  • When did you know you needed a product or service like ours?

What else can you do?

Besides asking your prospects and customers questions, you can also mine reviews or online forums. What are these reviews saying about solutions similar to yours? A wealth of information can be found on Amazon. Just look at books offering an alternative solution to your product or service and see what people are saying about it in the reviews. Find out what they think is lacking and what they liked.

As you gather information, it can be helpful to enter it on a spreadsheet so you can start seeing repeating ideas, thoughts and phrases. Is something standing out to you that could be used in a future promotion?

But be mindful of this…

We don’t want to give the impression that you just slap the customer or prospect’s words on a page and call it good. Sometimes you may use the exact words in the exact way your customer did. Most of the time, however, you’re taking what you learned and putting that information into copywriting frameworks and formulas. A good marketer is not necessarily one who pulls unique ideas out of their own head. A good marketer is one who can take VoC data and craft it into a persuasive marketing message.

Joanna Wiebe from Copyhackers has said that test-worthy marketing copy is not in our head – it’s in the heart and mind of our customers. Voice of Customer should be the inspiration behind your marketing messages because that’s what can help drive more conversions, leads, sales and revenue.

At AKC we want to help you hone your marketing messages. If you’d like to discuss how you can dial in the messaging that resonates with your target market, reach out to us today.