You’ve likely heard it’s best to write content with your ideal customer in mind.
That sounds well and good, but what does it actually mean?
This well-meaning suggestion can sound vague if you aren’t sure who you’re trying to connect with. As an entrepreneur, it’s essential to pinpoint who your products and services are for as soon as possible.
Writing better quality content comes down to how well you understand your target audience. While your customers will have distinct differences, you’ll also find they share many similarities.
As you discover the nuances of your ideal customers—including their traits, motivations, ideals, beliefs, characteristics, and demographics—you’ll have an opportunity to improve your messaging over time.
Defining your voice of customer (VoC) is a great place to start.
What is voice of customer?
Voice of customer captures what customers are actively saying about a brand and its offerings. It differs from brand voice because it focuses on customers’ words and phrases instead of how the business wants to be personified.
In short, your voice of customer reveals how customers are talking about you, and your brand voice defines how you talk to your customers.
Entrepreneurs would be wise to consider VoC when crafting their brand voice. It’s often a forgotten part of the writing process for startups and small businesses, but discovering your VoC is one of the best ways to strengthen your customer experience.
There are a few VoC methods to get at the heart of what your customers are saying about your brand.
Let’s explore these methodologies in-depth, starting with customer interviews.
When you take the time to personally interview your customers, you’ll access a wealth of knowledge about their experiences. The better you understand your customer, the stronger your marketing strategy will be.
If you’re unsure whether customers are resonating with your content or enjoying your products, why not go straight to the source?
“Customer interviews are like finding hidden treasures,” says customer researcher Melissa Harstine. “When you know what your audience cares about (straight from their mouths!), you can use their words to write content that connects and converts.”
Instead of collecting surface-level feedback through surveys that only give a few options to choose from, you’ll get an unfiltered look into how each customer feels about your brand.
Melissa recommends reaching out to three to five recent customers and inviting them to share their thoughts on a casual 30-minute video call.
Melissa says these four questions can help you get the best customer insights:
- Take me back to when you started thinking about getting support with [the thing you offer]. What happened?
- What affirmed that [product/service] was the right solution for you?
- Give me an example of something you can do now that you couldn’t do before.
- What would you say if you were to summarize the top benefits of [product/service] in a few sentences?
While these questions are a good starting point when interviewing customers, you may find the conversations go in different directions.
The best feedback sometimes comes from tangential conversations, so go with the flow and follow your instincts. “That usually means a good story is waiting around the corner,” says Melissa.
Reviews and testimonials
If you’re still trying to nail down your ideal customers, look at your brand advocates first.
Brand advocates are already singing your praises online. They have a heightened sense of brand loyalty and love to spread the word about your brand to their inner circle.
Since these customers are talking publicly about your brand, you’ll likely be able to find their online reviews on Google, Facebook, Yelp, LinkedIn, and several other platforms.
I recommend keeping a spreadsheet of your online reviews, so you can easily find them in one place. Then, you can share it with your team members, so everyone can consistently add to your VoC research.
As you search for reviews, you may find that similar emotions, phrases, or words frequently appear. This is a good sign that your customers are aligned on how they describe your customer experience.
Let’s take my own copywriting business as an example.
Can you spot the word that shows up in every Google Review?
If you spotted the word “invested” in these reviews, you’re already thinking like a VoC expert! By looking at these testimonials side-by-side, it’s easy to see that clients frequently talk about how invested I am in their project.
This detail would strengthen my voice of customer research because, as a copywriter, I’d want to implement this word into my website and emails to increase conversions.
It’s powerful to use your customer’s words in your sales copy!
If you’re struggling to find enough online reviews or are new to business, try personally reaching out to your customers, asking if they’d be willing to share a testimonial. Then, as your business grows, you’ll be able to encourage more customers to leave reviews and strengthen your VoC over time.
Quizzes aren’t only a fun and delightful way to connect with your audience; they’re also seriously effective when it comes to understanding your voice of customer.
By asking a series of quiz questions, you can gather helpful quiz data while guiding your audience through a journey of self-discovery. No matter your quiz topic or title, you’ll be able to get to the heart of how your ideal customers are wired.
With multiple quiz types to choose from, we’ve seen that entrepreneurs often find success with personality quizzes. This quiz type focuses on understanding the unique personalities of each customer who takes the quiz.
When your quiz delivers results that are almost scarily accurate, your audience will feel as though you deeply know them. If they’re reading through and thinking, Wow, this fits me to a T!, you’ll know you’ve hit the mark.
This is exactly what happened for Caroline and Jason, the business coaching duo behind Wandering Aimfully. In creating their business bottleneck quiz, they found a simple way to help their ideal customers discover what’s holding their business back.
“We strongly believed that if we just showed the quiz results… and stopped there, we wouldn’t make an impression on someone who’d just found us and spent time answering the quiz questions,” Jason said.
Sending a quiz-related email series to new subscribers helps nurture the budding connection between them and your brand. It also brings an opportunity to give more prompts and ask subscribers to reply to your emails.
Many subscribers on Caroline and Jason’s list feel comfortable replying to their emails because of how much the duo cares about their audience. All of these replies can be saved and reviewed, revealing what their potential customers are really thinking about and what hang-ups they’re experiencing.
These one-on-one conversations may seem like a time investment, but when it comes to finding your VoC, the effort is worth it!
It’s hard to know your VoC if you don’t spend time getting to know your customers. That’s why a quiz can be instrumental in helping you spark a conversation.
Caroline and Jason’s quiz is a fun, interactive introduction to their brand. They’ve since found that $294,000 of their revenue came from subscribers who first took the quiz. This is a great sign that their quiz is an important VoC tool!
Start discovering your voice of customer
Whether you start with customer interviews, reviews, testimonials, or quizzes, you’ll be closer to understanding your VoC with these methods.
Each has a different level of time investment and commitment, so choose the one that feels like the most relevant fit.
If you’ve been in business for a while and have a growing base of customers, it makes sense to start with gathering reviews and testimonials.
If you’re completely new to business, going through a rebrand, or looking to improve your messaging, conducting customer interviews is a no-brainer.
If you want to grow your email list with qualified leads and spark more conversations around your brand, quizzes are a great choice.