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So often we make assumptions about what our audience wants. So much so that it can become the default approach when writing your (or other people’s) copy.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s incredibly easy to fall into the trap of saying,
“Oh, I know that ICA. I know how they speak because I’m one of them.”
“Yeah, I know someone just like that.”
“Yeah, but I can imagine what that person is like.”
(Which is the most dangerous because it comes invisibly wrapped in preconceived notions and stereotypes)
Because, unless you have hard data, your ideas about a specific ICA are all they are:
Ideas + Assumptions.
And how likely do you think they are to hit the mark?
Even though just the sound of the word “Research” can make you picture bloodshot eyes from hours upon hours of staring at tiny text under a dim spotlight – in reality, it doesn’t need to be so arduous.
That “hard data” aka Voice of Customer research is oftentimes right in front of you.
→ In reviews, case studies, Facebook groups, Instagram Stories (the list goes on).
Your ideal customer’s thoughts are literally all around you → You just have to sit still long enough to listen.
Voice of Customer data is the research you do in the veeeerry beginning of writing copy – Looking at what people are saying, message mining, and correlating those findings into usable data. Personally, before I even dive into a project, I spend weeks conducting and collating Voice of Customer research to ensure every bit of messaging is backed by the market and current trends.
Even your website’s About Page needs to loop back into your customer in some way, so you want to use actual terminology that would leave their mouth and sound immediately familiar.
Voice of Customer research involves collecting direct quotes from the customer and reflecting it back to your readers in your copy.
That is the key here: making sure that the language you’re using is what your customers are comfortable using when they describe the same services, products, or situation. Not language that *you* would use or that you’re guessing they would use.
There are many different ways you can approach gathering your Voice of Customer data:
Identify competitors in your industry (both larger and smaller than your own business) and look into how they’re communicating with their audience, especially if they are your target demographic.
This is useful for understanding the market, spotting trends, and setting parameters for future growth. But also a great way to evaluate how your offer can stand out against the rest.
Go directly to the source to see what customers are saying. Message Mining is a great way to understand what your target audience wants and how they talk about their needs, and the situations they are in.
When looking into forums or social media groups, pay special attention to the questions people ask and what stage of the buyer’s journey they may be. These are often full insights about their obstacles and desires.
Now that you’ve looked into similar products and services, Message Mine your own database of surveys and questionnaires. Be sure to pay attention to commonly occurring themes in their journey before, after, and during your experience with you.
If you want to get deeper into your Voice of Customer research, you can send a survey to your email list. This is great because ideally you’ll have a good mix of prospective clients and past customers in your list, so you can get perspectives from all sides.
We like to use ActiveCampaign for our email surveys, but many other email service providers will have an option as well.
Finally, if you want to get even deeper, you can actually interview 3 or 4 of your past clients to understand their experience working with you. You can do this in person, over the phone, or on Zoom.
Whether sending a survey or conducting an interview, make sure you’re asking open-ended questions that facilitate a detailed answer, and don’t guide the person to a specific answer. Remember, you’re doing this research to better understand the voice of your customer, so you don’t want to put words in their mouth or lead them to a certain outcome.
As you do your Voice of Customer research, you want to centralize all of your findings. A good way to do this is create a Google Sheet separated into different sections depending on topic or category.
What categories you need will depend on your niche or target audience, but some examples could be:
*Make sure you’re dropping in direct quotes from your research into these section and that you are not paraphrasing*
Once you create your categories and sections, you can start feeding in your research and noticing patterns. Pull out all the key messages and phrases you find so that you can strategically place them at the point on a sales page, email funnel or caption where the reader needs to hear it most.
Voice of Customer research is crucial to writing copy that really connects with your audience. It provides insights into what life really looks like for them, what keeps them up at night, and what they are working towards.
And that’s what needs to be included in your copy.
The power of your copy is in your research. Go deep. Listen. Don’t guess. And your copy will compel them to act.
Creating intentional copy that resonates with your audience can be an intensive experience. If you need a hand doing this, here at the KC Copy Studio we have years of experience crafting compelling, conversion-focused copy that’s not only research-backed, but packed with personality. Whether you need Web Copy, an Email Funnel, or Sales Page, inquire about our services today.
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