How to Use Voice-of-Customer Data to Shape Future Content

Creating copy that converts is simple: Write an attention-grabbing headline and slap it over an irresistible offer. You can find out what will grab potential customers’ attention – and what offer they won’t be able to resist – by talking to your current customers.

Voice-of-customer (VOC) data can help you write successful copy by letting you know the exact words and phrases that are most meaningful to your customers. You can gather VOC data either through interviews (in-person or on the phone) or through surveys. Free online surveys through providers like SurveyMonkey are easy and convenient.

Here are five questions to start with.

  1. What was the trigger that caused you to start looking for us? The answer will help you frame your pitch to people who are in a similar situation. Provide room for people to write a few sentences that describe their entry into the purchase funnel.
  2. What problem did [our company or product name] eliminate or lessen for you? Don’t assume you know the answer to this! What customers want or need from your product or service may not be what you realize you’re providing.
  3. Why did you choose us? Present as a multiple-choice question, and allow up to three answers. This information will allow you to rank your messaging in an effective hierarchy.
  4. What two words best describe [our product or service]? Again, the answers to this may end up surprising you. You may be proudest of the streamlined design; your customers may appreciate its low operating cost. A single-line format question will give you adjectives with impact for your headline.
  5. What is your job title? Use a radio button format to find the best descriptors for the people actually making purchases.

After you’ve collected this data, use the free template¬†designed by the marketing pros at to organize it. The template has five pages, which correspond to the five questions above.

Accept the fact that it’s going to take you – or a trusted intern – an afternoon to compile the data, and don’t give in to the temptation to summarize answers. Cut and paste answers to get the most accurate picture, and not one that reflects your expectations about the results.

Page 1: Most common purchase prompts. You’ll probably end up with several standard responses, and probably a fair scattering of outliers. Once you’ve gathered the answers, rank them in order of frequency.

Page 2: WHaLP assessment. Most of the answers to the second question will fit into one or the other of the columns: Wants (what they were looking for); Hates (what they hated about their situation before they found you); Lacks-Needs-Can’t Do (what they were lacking or what they couldn’t do); and Problems (items that they specifically frame as problems).

Page 3: Messaging hierarchy. Your survey tool probably has already crunched the numbers, which will let you know what are the most effective prompts for conversion.

Page 4: How to describe. Use two columns, one for the adjectives, and the other to track how many times each adjective is mentioned. Pay careful attention to synonyms, and avoid the temptation to lump them together prematurely. After you’ve run the count, you can rank adjectives in order of frequency, linking any that seem synonymous.

Page 5: Target audience. You’ll use this information to determine the best recipients of your message. If the answer isn’t what you expect, you can do some split testing to find out whether your assumptions or the numbers are right.

In my next post, I’ll explain how to use survey results to craft strong copy and effective calls to action.

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