What is the secret weapon for nailing persuasive copy over and over again?
Diane Wiredu is a conversion copywriter and localization expert. Fluent in four languages, she helps global companies nail their messaging and writes copy that converts.
As a guest speaker on our Wynter Games series, Diane explained that the key to getting inside your customer’s head is collecting Voice of Customer data.
The most common problem with trying to persuade a customer is failing to meet them at the right place in their buyer journey.
As the writer Robert Collier once said, you must “enter the conversation already taking place in the customers’ mind.”
“Maybe you're offering your customers a solution and they don't even know they've got a problem,” Diane said.
“Or maybe you're telling them they can work faster, but all they want to do is work smarter. And this is the importance of really knowing your customer, knowing your reader, and understanding how they speak and how they think and how they feel.”
You don’t have to be psychic to write a good persuasive message.
You just need to understand your customers so you can find a message that resonates with them.
If you want to make your customers think you’re a mind-reader, you need to conduct customer research. You need to do Voice of customer research.
This will enable you to identify their needs and wants, and dial in the emotional language that speaks to them.
Diane said that according to a study, over 65% of participants have felt an emotional connection with a brand.
“Interestingly enough, this number was higher in men than women. As you can see, customers use really strong emotional language in their day to day interactions with products and services.”
Therefore, the two cornerstones of persuasive copywriting are ensuring that your copy is data-informed and emotional.
When some people hear the words data or research, they run in the opposite direction. But Diane assured us that when it comes to VoC research, it’s not as technical as it sounds.
“I used to be allergic to the word data,” Diane confessed.
“But with qualitative research, what we're simply doing is listening and understanding. So I like to break it down like this, because if we've listened to and understood the customer, then it's almost impossible not to produce something that persuades.”
That’s the magic of this kind of customer research. There’s no guessing. There’s no number chasing.
There’s just a search for understanding in order to provide value.
As mentioned above, the other side of the coin is appealing to customers’ emotions.
Arguments that leverage logic are great. But arguments that leverage both logic and emotion are irresistible.
“We're going to sprinkle the emotion on our copy,” said Diane. “I like to think of it as the Parmesan cheese on your pasta. So you can eat without, but it's not going to hit the spot.”
She noted that this type of writing isn’t the place for cleverness or puns. You want to keep things simple and easy so customers get the message right away.
So now that you’re fired up to seek out Voice of Customer data, how do you get it?
Diane’s three primary methods are:
Your business may benefit from using one of these methods or even all three. While there is no right answer, any one of them has the power to transform your messaging.
We’ll dive deeper into each area shortly.
Before we dive into tips and tools for reviews, surveys, and interviews, it’s important to know what type of information you are looking to gather.
And how to analyze all of that VoC data.
1. Pain Points: “We want to know their underlying problems, their frustrations, why are they looking for a solution?” said Diane.
“And we're going to use that to frame our product or service as the end to that pain.”
2. Objections: “Then we're listening out for hesitations, points of resistance, their fears,” said Diane.
“Why wouldn't they buy into the solution, or what almost kept them from choosing us?”
3. Desires: “We're really looking for the emotional drivers that set them off in search for a solution. What were they hoping to achieve?” said Diane.
“Not the surface level stuff, but really their deep needs.”
4. Benefits: “Here we want to know what were the results and the outcomes for your customer,” said Diane.
“What does that future version of themselves look like after buying this product or solution?”
Whether you look at reviews, surveys, or interviews, you are looking for this information to give you rich insights into your customers’ motivations at each stage of the buyer journey.
Now we’ll dive into the world of online reviews. Reviews are extremely persuasive in their own right, yet interestingly only 40% of B2B companies are conducting review mining.
“If you're not going in and then reviewing what your customers are saying regularly, then you're missing a really valuable opportunity to understand what they're thinking, and then to use that in copy,” said Diane.
Diane recommended seeking out customer reviews in the following locations:
Where you look for customers will depend on your industry. Each of these locations can be valuable, as customers often let their guard down online and “let it all hang out” on social media and in discussion threads.
For B2C and B2B businesses, reading Amazon reviews alone can be a gold mine.
“People are trying to find answers to their problems at different awareness stages,” said Diane. “They might not be aware of your solution or know your product, but they're still looking for answers. So you can tap into that and you have really great insights into their journey.”
While you read reviews, it can be helpful to have tools at your disposal so you can easily track insights as you go.
Diane recommended the following options to tag and highlight information:
As she reads reviews, Diane looks for interesting phrases and pain points.
Instead of constantly leaving her web browser to copy and paste information, she uses tools like Weava to easily highlight, categorize, and save information.
Surveys can also provide a wealth of Voice of Customer inspiration.
“You can go about surveys in a few different ways,” Diane said. “You can send a survey to an entire email list or to a segment of the list to focus on our ideal avatar for this product or this service.”
Diane recommended keeping the following survey tips in mind:
Surveys can be placed in a variety of locations - but it’s important to connect them to a user activity.
After someone has just opted in, bought something, or signed up for a trial is the perfect moment to capture data.
Keep your survey short and sweet, and include open-ended questions.
“By far, the most important thing is to avoid questions that lead customers into an answer,” said Diane.
If you don’t already have a go-to survey creation tool, Diane shared a few of her favorites.
Diane likes Typeform best for its ease of use and great user interface, while Four Eyes has strong reporting features.
The third and final avenue to capture VoC data is through interviews.
This method is by far the most valuable, if you have the time to conduct them. “You'll probably gain more insight in three interviews than you will in a hundred surveys,” Diane said.
Diane gave a list of five tips to keep in mind when interviewing your customers.
When your interview is complete, turn it into a written transcript using a service like Otter.ai or Rev.com.
As you read through each one, it’s time to pull out key quotations and place them in a research spreadsheet.
Diane shared a spreadsheet that she used to comb through interview data in order to map out a 10-email nurture sequence.
She described the need to look out for patterns and repetitions. Her sheet included the stages of buyer awareness, along with color-coding for different customer motivations and key themes.
“I'm just looking for kind of interesting phrasing that maybe I wouldn't have thought of, stuff that I really want to highlight and remember later, sticky quotes that I could swipe,” said Diane.
Once Diane has identified repeated themes and pain points, she starts to work on her copy. Often, she finds that leading with pain points is an effective strategy.
This strategy shows customers right off that bat that you understand their pains and needs.
It’s also a common copywriting formula: Problem-Agitation-Solution.
“You can almost hear the frustration from the interview as well,” Diane said. “
When I see something that will resonate wider, then I'll mirror that language as well in the copy almost verbatim.”
Diane has seen clients increase qualified leads by 70% after incorporating Voice of Customer data.
So what are you waiting for? VoC research can take your marketing to a whole new level.
Don’t stare at a blank page and wait for inspiration to strike. Plagiarize your customers instead. We promise that in this case, it’s OK to put the “copy” in copywriting.
Watch Diane's full presentation on the topic here!
Out now: Watch our free B2B messaging course and learn all the techniques (from basic to advanced) to create messaging that resonates with your target customers.