Not on your competitors' websites.
Not in your marketing strategy. (Well, maybe some of it.)
But in what your customers are saying.
Yeah, that was predictable. Maybe you’re unimpressed. And you could probably stop reading right here. But then you won’t read about *how* to find what they’re saying and use it in the copy on your website or landing page, in your email or ad. In anything you need to write.
Because in this post, I’m not talking about placing customer testimonials on your homepage as social proof. (And you should totally do that, btw.)
I’m talking about building your whole message around what the customer says, thinks, and feels. And how to do it in practice.
How to find what you’re customers are saying and turn it into copy
If you’re selling a service or product, you’ve probably done your share of research into your target group and customer needs (right?)
So, you have your USPs, you know what your product does, and who it’s for. And now, you need to write some copy – maybe it’s for your website, an email you’re sending out, or a landing page for a new product feature.
You need to put actual words on your page.
But what words are they? And where do you take them from?
Enter voice of customer research
Learning to do it was a game-changer for me as a copywriter and marketer. Because, although it might be time-consuming, doing voice of customer research makes actual writing so much quicker and easier. And most of all, more effective. Because you’re using your customers’ own words, not yours.
And why would you do that?
Because you can then say what they’re thinking. And they feel you’re just what they need.
You show them you *get* them. Right off the bat.
And you get the chance to *really* get them. Learn about their pains and problems – the specific ones they face in their daily work. And not just the vague, general ones.
You know, like “saving time.” Who doesn’t want to save time? (I do!) But how much time they’d like – and can – save? Doing what? And what will they do with it when they finally have it?
How can you know any of that if you haven’t asked?
If you do voice of customer research, you can address that in your copy – very precisely, using the exact language they’re using. And nail it.
Okay, but how do you do voice of customer research?
Go wherever people talk about you
A lot will depend on whether you already have a customer base or are just starting out. Depending on your industry and niche, that’ll be different sites and places, like:
- vendor comparison sites
- customer service tickets or chats
- customer surveys
- product reviews in your online store (or app store if you have a mobile app)
- user testing and customer interviews
If you don’t have access to recorded conversations with actual customers, the quickest way is to go online and find what people say anywhere they leave reviews. Of your product or service, but also your competitors’ products.
Here’s what I use:
- For SaaS software, I mainly go to sites like G2 and Capterra.
- For software development companies, I use sites like Clutch.
- For mobile apps, obviously the App Store and Google Play.
Look for what they say about you
Search through the reviews. Capterra will show you the pros and cons of your software they mention. G2 also asks people about the problem they’re solving with it. Which is the exact thing you want to be talking about on your website.
Find specific situations. Recurring themes. Things actual people using your software do or have done. What you’ve helped them with.
How you’ve made their lives better.
Look for what they say about your competitors
If you don’t have enough reviews (or none at all yet), but also even if you do, look at what users of similar software are saying.
What are their problems? What do they like about the solution? What don’t they like? Is there anything about your software they’ll like better, or that’s going to be more helpful?
Filter out different personas
If you’re like most SaaS companies, you’ll have different customer personas, like the decision-makers and the actual users. For example, if you’re selling applicant tracking software, you’ll probably be talking to HR managers, hiring managers, talent acquisition specialist, maybe even candidates.
And each of those groups, in turn, will have different problems depending on their industry, the type of candidates they’re sourcing and hiring, etc.
Most reviews on the sites that I’ve mentioned have job titles included, so you can find specific problems for the different audience segments. Then find the right words for each message.
Put their words in your copy
I always look for the ones that have the most impact for what I need to write – depending on if it’s a product page for a specific feature, or maybe a homepage headline. And then copy them to a swipe file I later read line by line, highlighting phrases that I’d like to use.
I look for phrases that can convey the brand’s message and will resonate with what the audience is really thinking. Words that are striking. Maybe touching. But also everyday language they use. Sentences that sound like a real human talking to another human, describing their experience.
So I don’t repeat overused buzzwords or just say what I think they think. (I’m not psychic.)
Use the *exact* words and phrases they use
A word of advice here – I don’t mean taking entire reviews and just pasting them on your site. That’s called a testimonial – and you should get your customers’ permission to put it on your website.
Plus it can’t really replace your copy, can it?
But insert entire phrases in your copy to sound just as they do. Don’t paraphrase or go to thesaurus.com to find more sophisticated alternatives.
Talk like they talk.
So they go to your site, open your email (even if it’s a cold one), see that ad in your newsfeed, and think: “Yep, that’s it! Take my money!”
Yes, I know it’s a little more complicated than that
But you get my point. If you don’t speak to your customers’ real needs and pains, using their words, they’re much less likely to buy from you. I’m sorry, but they don’t want to hear how great you are, however great you might be.
They want to know what they can get.
So give it to them.