In this episode, I welcome back one of our most popular guests, professional copywriter Momoko Price. This time we are focussing on the voice of the customer or VoC and discuss just how important VoC is in marketing. And how it’s not just about listening to and engaging with your customers but also how to create surveys and then take the data and turn it into something valuable
listen to this episode
- Defining the voice of your customer
- Using VoC to shape your copy
- Digging into the raw and messy elements of customer research
- Being smart about customer surveys
- The value of VoC when done the right way
- Tips for creating more enticing customer surveys
- Filtering negative responses in order to write positive copy
- How your mental state can impact your copywriting
- Value Proposition: What Is It And How To Create One
- Base CRM
- Conversion Excel Institute
- 3 Steps to Write Copy That Converts with Joanna Wiebe
- Johns Hopkins University at Coursera
- Ngram analyzer
- Mechanical Turk
- Excel Pivot Tables
- Pet Doors
- Copy Hackers
- LunaMetrics blog
Louis: Let’s go. Bonjour, bonjour, and welcome to another episode of Everyone Hates Marketers.com, the no-fluff actionable marketing podcast for marketers, marketing consultants, founders, and tech people who are sick of shady, aggressive marketing. I’m your host, Louis Grenier. In today’s episode you’ll learn how to better leverage your voice of customer research and to write better copy.
My guest today has been on the show before and we talked about value proposition the last time and how to create competing ones. It was very popular episode, a lot of good feedback from it, which is why I’m getting my guest again for a second episode. She’s a product messaging and professional copywriter for big companies as well as start ups. She has a recent CXL course as well that was very popular, so Momoko Price, welcome aboard. It’s good to have you again.
Momoko: Hi. I’m happy to be here and happy to hear that. I didn’t realize that the episode was popular … my old one.
Louis: I wouldn’t ask you to come back if it wasn’t. That’s what I do. I try to do that quite often with some guests that have been good on the show that people really like, to get them back because they have more to share, so that’s why you are here and thanks again for your time.
In the intro I talked about voice of customer or VOC. Let’s define it briefly first. How do you define what is voice of customer?
Momoko: I mean, I feel like it’s pretty straight forward. It’s getting feedback from … I mean, a lot of people will call it user feedback or whatever, but voice of customer in my mind is when you get feedback from your customers, also, I would say, your prospects too if that’s possible, but a lot of time it’s, in my mind, it’s very open form feedback. A lot of times I find that, especially in the marketing world, they’ll do a lot of research, they’ll do a lot of interviews and then, because they need to get that clear bullet points in a PowerPoint slide that they can show to their boss, they’ll just distill everything down into five points that get across the main findings that we had. For me, when I’m talking about voice of customer research, I’m talking about the raw messy stuff, like digging into that, not just coming up with, “Here’s the brief. Here’s three things that we learned from some interviews or from surveys or whatever, now go write an ad or go write a sales page that hits these marks, but say whatever you want.”
Voice of customer research is the raw spreadsheet, the raw transcript, all that stuff and just diving into that and using that to shape your copy. I think a lot of times, people want to get past that as soon as possible. They collect it and then they’re like, “Okay. Make this pretty so that we can handle it better,” but then you miss all that vivid stuff.
Louis: That’s what I was about to say. It seems like your point of view is that if you try to summarise it too fast and you miss the nuggets in there, the way people describe things in their own words. So many times I’ve seen it. The words that some people use is just so powerful, you have to use it in a headline or you have to use it in the first paragraph. You have to use it. It’s just so good on its own.
Momoko: Yeah. I think that a lot of people … The tricky thing for me or the thing that I find a lot and it’s something that I’m currently trying to figure out how to do is, when I do a lot of client projects and stuff, what ends up happening … and I think this happens at a lot of companies, is that the copy will be cobbled together or put together during a big huge redesign, and when I say copy, I’m not talking about content marketing. I’m not talking about blog posts and articles. I don’t want to say transient copy but I’m talking about the website evergreen stuff that’s at the top of the funnel, sorry the middle of the funnel. That’s where people hit to buy the product, your persuasive pages, landing pages all that stuff.
I find that with a lot of companies, they pull that stuff together. They make a decision on how they want to communicate and then they hire a copywriter to put it all together. They push it out and then it lies dormant and they don’t update it in a regular … a continual optimization. It’s just like, you do it once every six months, maybe once every two years, whatever, and then you come back to it.
When I get hired to do something, a lot of times I’ll do the discovery part of the project and I’ll say like, “Okay. Let’s gather your voice of customer research. What do you know? What have you gathered? What’s your feedback? Give me all the raw messy stuff and I’ll start digging into it.” [crosstalk 00:05:04].
Louis: What are the sources usually of this raw, messy stuff?
Momoko: Support and chat logs, especially if you’re a SaaS product especially like … The frustrating thing is so many of those apps, Intercom and stuff, it’s really hard to export the conversations and analyze those conversations. It’s such a headache, but still worth doing. Surveys to people who are visiting the site but haven’t bought, surveys to your customer, so people who already bought. One-on-one interviews with your hard core champion evangelist people like the people who love you, those are great for … I’ll use the surveys to get a quantified understanding of what messaging themes are most prevalent, and then, if I really want to get those vivid details of the individual experience of before, during, after getting the product, interviews are great for that because you have that long form and you get people really thinking about how it felt and you get that rich feedback. Interviews are another good one.
One that is really overlooked is pay per response surveys which I use a lot for early stage start ups because they don’t have customers. It’s touch and go. I use that a lot for direction in terms of what messaging points you should hit. Sometimes the voice of customer, the actual open form comments you get back are straight up rude, but they’re just impatient. They’re answering these surveys and they’re like, “Eh,” but it’s a good way to test your market and test the value propositions and messages that you think you should go for with and see how is my target customer responding to this.
There’s so much, but there’s so many different ways to get it now. There’s also, of course, user testing if you want to get a litmus test of what people are … the first impression of your current website to get a sense of what’s actually broken in terms of what you’re saying. That’s actually really overlooked a lot. A lot of people will use user testing to figure out, as a way to gauge what do people want and I don’t really use that like that at all. I’ll use that, because it’s such an anonymous one off person that’s just commenting on your website, I generally just use it for what are people not getting about what I’m saying. Do you know what I mean? What [crosstalk 00:07:50].
Louis: You use that for copy and stuff. To summarize, chat logs, conversations online-
Momoko: Chat logs, surveys …
Louis: One-to-ones. Interviews. Paper based, as you said.
Momoko: Pay per response surveys.
Louis: Depending on the business, if you are SaaS business that only sell online, it’s unlikely that you’ll have paper feedback, but I suspect it’s more like retail maybe, retail companies?
Momoko: No, no. [crosstalk 00:08:21].
Louis: Go ahead.
Momoko: Not like paper.
Louis: I thought you were talking about literally a piece of paper.
Momoko: No, like a grocery store with a comment box and you’re taking-
Louis: I don’t know. Maybe that’s [crosstalk 00:08:36].
Momoko: No, I mean you pay … They have a [crosstalk 00:08:41].
Louis: Pay per.
Momoko: You pay for the response.
Louis: The pay panels, where you pay for an answer. Wow. All right. That’s why, I’m French. I don’t get everything yet. Now we’re back on the same thing. We’ll talk about that more because I have experience with that and it can be hit and miss.
Momoko: It’s hit and miss for sure.
Louis: Because of the audience, the fact that you cannot really target exactly who you want. Before we go to that and how to actually leverage voice of customer research better and all of that to go into step by step, I just want to get something out of the way, which I know is an objection, which I know is something that people have in their mind when they think of user feedback as you just mentioned as a synonym for voice of customer. I’m just going to read out the quote from David Ogilvy, who said before, “The trouble with market research is that people don’t think what they feel. They don’t say what they think, and they don’t do what they say.”
Actually that’s been re-shared by a very popular CMO at the minute, [inaudible 00:09:44]. This guy gets followed at lot. I’m not going to name him. That’s not the point. What do you say to that? Is it actually useless all research because everyone is biased and because they don’t know what they think? What do you say to that?
Momoko: No, I think that you need to be smart … It’s a bold statement and I understand and I’ve seen a lot of questions in surveys and stuff where I look at those questions and I’m like, “You’re not going to get a useful answer from that.” They’ll be hyper specific and the question is all about … “I’m curious about something about my business and my product and we have some ideas in our committee room about what would work or not, so let’s just put it in front of them and let’s … Basically we have a proposal for a new test. Let’s just ask them if what we think will work is something they would like,” or whatever. You know what I mean?
That, I don’t think works because I think they’ve shown in studies and stuff, with pricing and stuff, it’s extremely difficult to get an accurate sense of what people will in reality pay for. You can manipulate that in all these different ways, but what I do use surveys for is, there is an experience that they live and I think that there is an experience that they live around the product, the before, during and after, that you don’t want them to … You just want to get that feeling. When it comes to copywriting, you want to get that story and that narrative arc so that you can put together a sales narrative that they relate to, that’s relevant to them.
That’s something that, if they perceive that, if their perspective on using the product is like, “Well, I felt like this and I had that, duh, duh, duh, duh, duh,” then at least when you actually put together your sales page copy, you’re using language … If you’re building your copy off of that voice of customer research, then you’re using language and inception points, I guess, that they relate to because it came from them. I don’t think that’s useless at all.
I do think that if you’re trying to do product design questions and you’re using focus groups to do that, you’re going to end up with the Homer Simpson car from that old … Do you know the one that I’m talking about, where his brother … Yeah, his brother gets, “You can design whatever car you want,” and then they put together this complete monstrosity. That doesn’t work. You can’t just be like, “Do you like this? What about this? Do you like this? What about this?” And then come together with something that makes sense.
Louis: Let me give you an example of a biased question. To be clear, this show is not political. I’m just taking this example because it’s top of my mind. A survey from Trump, one of the questions, number 14 was, “Do you believe that the media is engaging in a witch hunt to take down President Trump? Yes or no?” That’s the best example of super biased, the way the question is phrased. It’s a yes or no answer, not open free text so people can’t really say anything. There is a lot wrong with it, but …
Momoko:Like, “Have you stopped beating you wife?” Or whatever. That’s the classic one where it’s like, “Whoa,” no matter what you say, you’ve been painted into a corner. I think that that’s where a lot of surveys go wrong is that they’re focused entirely on getting answers that validate their perspective of what should be done rather than putting together questions that investigate the experience that the customer is having around your product. That’s the thing that makes you able to write copy that they like or that they relate to, or that even makes sense to them because you bothered to map that out and listen.
Momoko: Another really good … I think … What was the Henry Ford thing? “If I asked …”
Louis: “If I asked the customer-”
Momoko: “What they wanted, I want a faster horse.”
Louis: Which I fucking hate this. I fucking hate this quote. First of all, he never said it.
Momoko: Did he never say it? I don’t actually even know.
Louis: He never said it, that’s the first thing. The second thing is that’s the wrong question to ask. You don’t ask what he wants. You ask what you struggle with and they would say, “It takes me five fucking hours to go see my mom.”
Momoko: Yes. Yes, exactly.
Louis: “What if you had a better way to go there?”
Momoko: That’s exactly what I wanted to mention is that when you ask the question that asks them the pain, that asks them to expand on the pain that they’re experiencing, that gives the whole solution space, of which you’re probably more informed about. If you’re a domain expert and whatever thing that you’re doing, that gives you the perspective you need to put together the best solution that fits that key problem. If you don’t ask the user what their pain is, then what are you even doing?
With the guy, with David Ogilvy, I totally get where he’s coming from and I think it’s also because you don’t want your copy to be … I think there’s a term like data … I think Joanna Wiebe said this in an article that I read was, it was a great term, which is data choked. It’s just like all the soul has been squeezed out of it. All the story, the arc, the natural emotional flow has been squeezed out of the copy you’re writing because you’re going strictly by the numbers. You know what I mean? You’re not saying anything that has not been somewhat validated, so there’s no room for creativity and when you completely lose that, then there is that je ne sais quoi, to copy.
I was French immersion.
Louis: Everyone says that, you know? Everyone says that in the podcast. “Oh, yeah. I took French. Yeah. I speak French.” Anyway, thanks for painting this picture of the problems, the way people do it wrong and all of that, and the value that it has when it’s done the right way.
Momoko: You have to have a plan with what you’re going to do with the feedback that you get back.
Louis: Now, let’s do this right? I think maybe we can talk about briefly the type of question to ask if you want to do that, maybe the collection of voice of customer research or maybe you want to talk about more about now let’s consider you already have some and how to organize it better and whatnot. It’s up to you. You can start from either end.
Momoko: Man, I feel like … The tricky thing with the how to organize it is that my answer is, “I have a spreadsheet that I have tinkered with over a long time,” so I don’t know if I …
Louis: Okay. Let’s start from scratch and let’s take a fictional example so that we don’t get into an actual example of past client or whatever. Let’s just take an example of an industry, a type of company you are used to work with. Just give me one. A type. Is it SaaS?
Momoko: Yeah. Let’s say B2B SaaS, that’s a very common one.
Louis: Software company selling to businesses is very common. Take this example. Let’s say you start working with them and they send you this spreadsheet that has nothing in it, right? You can’t use it. Talk me through the way you would typically collect voice of customer like in exact detail. What I mean is if you say, “I go through Intercom conversations,” do you copy, paste each of them on Excel or do you put them in Airtable, or do you just remember them by heart? I don’t know. How do you do it step one? You start with this B2B SaaS company. What do you do first?
Momoko: One thing that I make sure to do is that, I don’t know about other people’s processes but there is definitely a hierarchy of useful feedback when it comes to a given client, and generally speaking the golden combination that I like to get every time, if I can get it, is I would like to be able to send out a very intentional, well designed survey to their customers, paying customers, emailed to their customers to get responses from them, and then I will also have a separate survey that I have put together that specifically targets prospects. We want relatively recent customers.
If I can get at least that, because sometimes it’s hard to get Intercom conversations and support chat and all that stuff, those are almost like nice to haves. If I’m dealing with a conversion specific issue of getting people from non buyers to buyers, then the two that I really like to make sure I get are the prospect survey on the website and then the customer survey in the post purchase, once they have actually bought the product and used it.
Louis: That’s important. You don’t want to wait for B2B SaaS, if you get value after two months, you don’t want to get it straight away after purchase because you’re just going to get nothing. “whatever we just bought it.” Just to talk about-
Momoko: With the exception of one question, or a couple of questions. The reason that the ideal base feedback that I always like to make sure I get is from surveying prospects and surveying paying customers is because whenever you are putting together a sales narrative, you’re putting together whether it’s on a sales page or it’s a cross like an email campaign, a trip campaign, whatever. It doesn’t matter, but when you follow that flow, it is a sales narrative that always follows generally before an understanding of how the person is feeling or the problem that they’re dealing with before they buy the product, evaluating whether or not to choose that product over other options, identifying. That’s the value proposition part is identifying, “This is the one I want, not this one, this one or this one.” Then, the acquisition of whatever the awesome life improvement is that you get from the product.
It’s a before, during and after thing. The reason I always like to make sure that I get prospect survey and a customer survey done at the very least, and some sizable numbers, is because that lets me get a relatively quantified sense of the people who are in the before situation and the people who are in the after situation, and a little bit, if you get recent customers and you get people who are on the website, people who are dancing around the shopping point. That’s why that’s so important. If I have those components, it’s great.
Some people will just rely on interviews or whatever, but interviews, you can’t go through 300 interviews. It’s not scalable. Surveys are scalable. That’s why that’s the key for that.
Louis: This is able to understand, especially if there is emergency. If this client hires you and says, “Listen, we’re in the shit and we need to change things quickly, [inaudible 00:21:44].” I would say something on the first purchase survey versus the prospects survey and I want to know what you think. First purchase survey is great because you’re asking the opinion of people who have bought already so you’re asking the opinion and the experience of people who went through the experience, who took their wallet out, discussed it with their colleagues, actually went through and used the product. Their feed back is extremely valuable because you want to get more of them.
How do you deal with prospect on the other side who are not necessarily customers and who actually might not fit the description of the type of customer you want. It could be people just wandering the website who don’t fit the profile of the survey. How do you deal with them? How do you exclude them?
Momoko: Yeah. That’s the way … One of the things that can come up really often especially for a SaaS product, and this is a quick and dirty hack that I’ll do, is if you have a pop-up survey that’s just people coming to your website, the number one thing you want to understand is how familiar are the people who are coming to your website about your product? That comes back to awareness, or product awareness. The first question I always ask on those pop-up surveys is, “Which of these best describes you?” There’ll be a range of options and it will go from, “I’m considering this kind of product for the first time. I’ve never really bought it before. I’m not even really sure if this is what I need. I have no idea.” Obviously the copy is not that rambling.
The middle one is the comparison shopper because that’s the person where you really want to emphasize differentiating your product from other options because you don’t need to convince them. If your audience that’s hitting the website is mostly those people, you don’t want to be wasting their time trying to convince them that they should buy whatever type of product you have in general. They’ve already made that decision. They know they need a microphone. You know what I mean? They know they need it for podcasting. They just want to find the best one. You have an option in there that’s like, “I know I want to buy X. I just need to find the right one.”
Then, you have the option of, “I’m just here to order. I know what I want. Get out of my way.” Then, the last thing for B2B SaaS or for any membership subscription-based thing is, “I am already a customer of whatever. I already am a member. I already am a user. I’m just here to log in.” If you don’t do that and you don’t have something that lets you at least get some of that noise out, then you’re going to get … You’re not going to get the best feedback because they’re not the prospect audience. They’ve already been converted, so it’s polluting your stuff.
That being said, you can also … The really clean way to do it if you wanted to is to set up your survey so that it only triggers if the person who’s coming to the website does not have a user ID. You know what I mean? That’s getting into analytic stuff. That’s the ideal way to do it, but a lot of businesses don’t have that set up.
Louis: Things can still slip through the crack like they might be using a new browser. They have never logged into this one-
Momoko: You can’t get it fully clean.
Louis: To be safe, the safer is usually to ask, if you can combine it with probably asking plus some sort of a … removing people who used to log in or who have a user ID, then you start getting some decent data.
Momoko: [crosstalk 00:25:25].
Louis: That’s the first question. That’s for the prospect survey which you can use multiple solutions for that. I suppose can you … Here we are talking about a pop-up survey, like something that will appear on the website, right? For the customer survey, you’re talking more about an email survey.
Momoko: Yeah, for a customer surveys, I usually do email because you know who … I mean, this is assuming you have a list and you have people that you know have bought your product. You just limit … You try to get some of those people and then you just send them an email that asks them to fill out and email.
Generally speaking, I find that your pop-up surveys get much lower response rates than email surveys. It makes sense because if you’re targeting the way that I’m talking about, it makes complete sense because your prospects haven’t bought from you. They have zero loyalty. They don’t even know. You know what I mean? You’re probably irritating them a little bit by interrupting them in the first place. That comes back to another issue that I always like to make sure people do, is when they write their … People tend to not give a shit, sorry. I don’t know if I can swear, but-
Louis: You can. Please swear.
Momoko: They don’t really put any effort into their invite copy for their surveys and it seems really trivial but I try to remind clients that that is … When you are trying to gather user feedback, especially when you’re not paying for it, you’re literally asking people to do you a favor. It is a conversion optimization … The conversion is different. It’s not from prospect to buyer. It’s from anonymous to respondent, but it’s still a conversion. You still need to use persuasiveness to get people to actually engage with you and not get pissed off at you, especially because a lot of times … Surveys are never, ever going to be … They’re a priority for us as business owners, because we get valuable feedback. They are never going to be a priority for your customer, ever, because they have other stuff to do.
Louis: What are your tips to make them more enticing, especially the prospects survey which I think is more difficult to get answers to, as you said?
Momoko: Prospect surveys … Some baseline things that I generally do is, if I can avoid it, or as long as the split of the audience allows for it, I will tend not to use activate pop-up surveys on mobile because it’s just too annoying. It’s so aggravating to have your entire … and then sometimes you can’t get rid of it and all that stuff. That’s number one.
Number two, I never choose a tool that doesn’t have a pop-up experience that is soft and gentle and very easy to click out of, very easy. They should be able to click on anywhere other than the pop-up and it will disappear. I think Hotjar is like … That’s one of the reasons I keep using Hotjar is because their pop-ups are very unobtrusive and you can get out of them very easily. That’s number one, just respect the user’s choice to not want to engage.
Number two is I never use the template copy that is given in a survey tool, ever, because it’s so generic. The company that is making the tool cannot make copy that is relatable because it has to be something that will apply to all of their customers, All of the users that they have and that can be across all kinds of different industries. We will invariably just the most robotic … It’s just like, “We value your feedback. Please blah, blah, blah,” because they can’t be like, “Let’s be zaney. Let’s be cute. Let’s be this.” They can’t do any of that. They don’t have the luxury. You have to make your own.
Louis: What emotion or hook do you leverage to make people … Let’s say if you don’t offer a price. It’s possible that you might offer a price per prospect. I don’t know. Let’s say if you don’t offer a price, how do you entice people to say, “We value your opinion.” What’s the hook there? What do you say to make them answer this?
Momoko: One of the things I really try to do is I try to leverage … I don’t know if you … You know Robert Cialdini’s book Persuasion?
Louis: Persuasion, yes. Mentioned by everyone.
Momoko: He had the old one that was six principles and then he added a seventh one.
Louis: [inaudible 00:30:25].
Momoko: Yeah. I think the seventh one was tribalism, which, if you look at the political landscape, it works. Us versus them has historically shown to be very effective in getting people to engage with you. I try to use it ethically but a lot of times if people are coming to use your product, there is some kind of common ground identity or label that they would call themselves. One of the things from my course that I did for CXL, we optimized a page called Petdoors.com. Obviously they sell pet doors and so that means that they are cat and dog owners or cat and dog lovers. That’s a label that gets people to … You call them out. You say, “Calling all cat and dog lovers, or pet lovers, or pet owners,” and something where they go, “Oh, that’s me.” Before you ask them to do you a favor, but they’ll see that and they’ll say like, “Okay, I got to keep reading.”
That’s the first thing I do. I try to think of whatever the product is. If it was a B2B, you should have an idea of a label that would correspond to your target audience. If it was a B2B SaaS app-
Louis: To their identity and not their demographic, right?
Momoko: Yes. Can you imagine? “Calling all straight white men.”
Louis: ” Calling all straight white men working in New York City.” It might work but I don’t [inaudible 00:32:07] but what do they believe? What do they believe that most others don’t? Accounting software you could say, “Calling all people who hate spreadsheets,” or Financing …
Momoko: Even just if you know that most of the people that you’re making your software for, if it’s accounting software and you know most of them are small business owners, “Calling all small business owners.” You don’t have to over-complicate it because it still has to be short. “Calling all copywriters.” Whoever. That’s the first thing I do which tends to work really well.
Then, the second thing that I do is, in the copy I always make sure that you can never get away from the “what’s in it for me” factor. Even though technically the benefit to them, you have to think of it like, “How can I frame this in a way where I’m gathering this feedback, but I’m doing it for you.” One of the things that’s very convenient for me is that I’m invariably hired to make people’s websites better; clearer, easier to convert. Clear and easier to use means easier to convert. A lot of times I will literally just say, “We’re really working hard, … Calling all marketers. We’re really working hard to make this tool better for you. Do you mind if we ask you a couple of questions?” Keep it short and make it very clear, very short easy question.
Then, when I optimize the call to action, I like to make sure that I make it … I don’t actually know. I’ve never tested this, and I don’t know if it actually works, but my gut feeling is I think it has an effect, which is that I will make the call to action representative of what a kind person would say. I make the option of saying no. You know those pop-ups that are like …
Louis: Makes you feel guilty?
Momoko: Yeah, or just frame you as an asshole. They’re like, “Do you want free stuff?” The call to action is, “Of course I want free stuff.” The thing to say no is, “No, I’m an idiot. I don’t want free … ” I don’t do that but I’ll just make the call to action to say yes is like, “Sure, happy to help? I’m a nice person.” The negative or the opt out is just … It’s not mean, but it’s just very neutral and cold, like, “Not interested.” Just rude. Not super over the top but the equivalent of what you would say to a person that’s fund raising on the street, like when you walk down the street.
Louis: Exactly. That’s what it is. Think about the way you would say in real life. Okay, thanks for going through that because we have to cover how to organize this data then. We talked about those two types of surveys. We won’t have the time to talk about the exact questions, but we’ve talked about those topics multiple times in the show before, so if you search for survey or questions to ask, Everyonehatesmarketers.com, you should find enough questions to start with.
Momoko: That’s not really what’s the most interesting with you because you mentioned a few stuff already that you have never mentioned on the show. The next thing is, let’s consider that we have those answers. Let’s consider we understand the journey people go through from start to finish, their objections, the reason why they chose you, et cetera, et cetera. How do you transform that very raw data, as you mentioned in the intro of the show, into something valuable? How do you actually take it from the spreadsheet that you’re probably going to have to export as a survey export into something valuable? What’s your process?
Mine always comes back to spreadsheets. I’m like a broken record when it comes to this. I’m like, “Survey, spreadsheets. Survey, spreadsheets.” One of the things that is particularly handy about Google Docs is that you can make a Google form for yourself where you can just format it so that, as you add in the messages that you’re collecting, that it will put them into a spreadsheet. Actually, you know what? Don’t even worry about that. That is one option for a different scenario that has been very popular to people in the past, but I’m going to say, specifically for surveys, if you get a lot of raw responses, I like to make sure that my surveys, every question is related to pulling out a message, a type of message. There’s a question that, if I have a question that I want to know pain, there’s a question that asks, “What is your top pain,” or whatever. If there’s a question about anxiety, then I want to know what are your objections or your fears or whatever.
Each question relates to a different part of the sales narrative. Once you get the answers to those surveys back then what I will do is I will make a spreadsheet where I will go through and I will grab a column; one column, one question, one message. All those answers are people’s … It’s like a histogram of different kinds of answers to … If I have, “What’s your number one problem?” They give me a list of problems. Some of them are more common than others. You just take that column. You put it into a spreadsheet and then you go through and you just start categorizing. You go down the list and it sucks because it’s boring. I do have some ways to make it a little bit faster and more effective because the key is that you want to have it so, as you’re categorizing the types of problems that people bring up in this particular example, you want to be able to count up how often, within this population certain problems come up over others. The key to doing that is to be able to make a pivot table from there.
What I like to do … I wish I had this blog post written because it’s almost done, but it’s where I map out this way and I’m going to link … I know.
Louis: It’s going to be live, so if you’re listening to this right now, the blog post is live, so we won’t have the address just yet but it is in the show notes, so go to everyonehatesmarketers.com and check the last episode and Momoko will have given me the url before that. Now you have to write it.
Momoko: The miracle of this. I actually set up a survey response tagging spreadsheet in Google Docs where it’s this template where, if you use it, every time you read an answer in the subsequent columns, you can tag it, describe it however you want and then, in a separate spreadsheet that’s already created for you, it will tally up in real time the pivot table of that.
Louis: There’s a few formulas to use for that, but to keep it simple, the way I do it, just to remove having to wait for your template, to keep it simple you can have one in Google Sheets you can have one sheet per question where the first column is all the answers and then each column after that is a tag. Let’s say you talk about objections and people say price, so the second column would be price on the top and then you just tag one. If someone mentions price, you put number one next to the answer and then boom, you hear another-
Momoko: You make a matrix.
Louis: Yeah, and boom. If you don’t want to use formula, it’s even faster. It seems like what you like to do is exactly what I like to do as well, so you categorize things and you number things down, so you start turning this raw data into something a bit more quantifiable. I’m curious about something, which is something I do when I write copy is sometimes in the answer, even if it’s an answer related to a problem, you can see that there is a few words together from this customer that are just so powerful you can’t ignore it. What I like to do is I like to extract it and put it in a board or another sheet that is gold copy, things that I know I have to use this somewhere. How do you handle this type of thing?
Momoko: I do the same thing but what I actually will also do is I will take a survey response. This is something that I love doing now, is that I will take the survey responses. I will put them in a separate sheet. I will sort them from longest word count to shortest word count because the ones with the shortest word count are usually the least useful. I mean, they’re good for direction but they’re not good for copy. You want the meatiest responses up top. I’ll sort them like that. Then I will do a series of find replaces for pronouns. Every time they say “I” or “we”, I change that to “you”.
I’ll do a couple of other things so that eventually … It takes two seconds, but eventually once you do that, then your entire survey responses are all in second person. “You need this. You want this. You hate it when duh, duh, duh, duh, duh.” That gets me to start reading the copy as proto copy. It’s already in … because good sales copy is usually in second person. I make those switches just so that … You can do it. It’s actually not that hard. You’d think it would turn the copy into gobbledy goop with a lot of weird grammatical awkwardness but it actually doesn’t. If you account for apostrophes and you know a little bit of grammar, you can do it pretty quick.
Once you do that, you can just read through it like that and as soon as I see a sentence that stands out in that phrase, I just grab it and then I put it in what’s called a swipe file, which is basically where you just keep bits of copy that you like. It can be just a Google Doc and then I just read through it, and because I’ve already sorted it from most verbose to least, generally the last third is useless ambiguous copy and I don’t have to worry about it. I don’t listen to it.
There is one more thing which is that depending on the survey questions that you get back, another question that I will have specifically for paying customers is get them to rate how much they love … use an NPS score or whatever. Then, that way I can filter out all the ones that are super negative. Every company has people who are not satisfied with the product but I don’t want to be spending my time looking over their answers for when I’m trying to write highly positive copy. I’ll save those to send to the product design team or to the business owner because it’s like, “Okay you have some issues that need to be dealt with. Here’s what they’ve said they need help with,” but for writing copy, I just want to be looking at the super positive stuff, so I’ll filter for that.
Louis: You want to be in a confident place when writing copy. It’s interesting. This is something I played with mentally. Depending on the mental state you are in, if you are quite negative or quite neutral and try to write copy, it’s going to be way less confident than obviously if you are confident. At least that is my personal experience. I stop myself from writing copy if I feel like shit, to be honest, but when I feel very pumped up and confident and whatnot and I read all of those comments, then I’m in a good state to write something. Is that the same for you?
Momoko: Yeah. To be completely honest, I find that the companies that I like to work with the most are the ones where my specialty is specifically their weakness, but they’re strong in the other aspects of the business. They’ve built a good product and for the people that they have managed to convert, the people love it. When you actually read the responses they get, they have a loyal base because they have figured out some kind of value and they’re really committed to providing that, but they just suck with words, and they don’t have time to figure out how to be persuasive and all that stuff. They’re just like, “We need someone who can take the awesome that we’re [inaudible 00:45:27] from anyone else finding out about because we just don’t know how to say it. They can just drop me in there and then I’ll go and I’ll free it up and put it where it needs to be in the order that it needs to be.
Louis: We have those surveys. We’ve collected those responses so we have website surveys from prospects, email surveys from customers, then we have this massive spreadsheet where we can organize it as you described how you have a tagging system with another kind of sheet that grabs those tags or you can use multiple sheets, but basically at the end of the day, I don’t think you should overly obsess about the method. It’s more about do you have the fucking copy itself? Do you have the voice of customer? Make sure you categorize it some way. I know Airtable has some sort of solution out there. I think it’s using what you described initially which is the Google form, which is interesting as well which is like you basically write down, depending on where it’s at, you write down on Airtable, on Google Form where it’s basically if it’s a problem you just write it next to problem and then automatically it should bring you to the right section. You have plenty of ways to do that but I wouldn’t obsess over the way to do it. What matters is that you actually read this stuff, categorize it.
Now let’s say we have the categories. We have some copy, golden nuggets of copy, so if I have the categories, what do you do next? Do you talk to the CEO? What do you like to do next?
Momoko: For me, and this is why I alluded to this at the beginning of the interview, traditionally what happens is I’ll be hired to do my thing. When I get the results, I will figure out what are the key messages and the most common messages that come up and then honestly, I draft a report. I draft a big report that goes to the CEO. It goes to everybody in management. It goes to all those people and they get it and a lot of time it drops like a bomb because it takes a lot of … You need to have someone who’s on the outside that is just totally focused on just distilling messages whereas inhouse copywriters are pulled in so many different directions, they don’t have time.
Louis: Plus, you can’t really read the label inside a jar. That’s the other thing.
Momoko: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Louis: Even if they are talented, they are just being polluted by the internal lingo, the internal knowledge of the product, the assumptions that they have. It becomes very difficult to actually get value out of it from an outside perspective.
What does the report look like briefly in terms of structure? Do you have a TLDR, a summary at the top?
Momoko: Yeah, I mean, I hate to say it, but it’s pretty corporate. What I generally do is I will write it backwards because you know how in high school they’re like, “Never write your introduction first,” so I have basically my report is always like this executive summary that’s the abstract of your scientific paper or whatever that just breaks down the main findings. I write that last. The first section I do will be the research. It goes executive summary, then it goes strategy, and then it goes research that everything is based on.
It’s like, “Here’s the high level of what we found. Here’s what we’re going to do. This is the approach. This is the areas that we’re going to target and whatever funnels and here are the reasons why.” Then it’s almost like the research takes up half the report but it’s this massive validation of, “If you want to know why the strategy is like this, here’s all the information that we got.”
All of the tables of what are the most common messages, all that kind of stuff, bar charts of choices that people made in surveys, that all gets in the research and then the strategy part is where I’ll map out flows of, “Okay, we know that these funnels need to be targeted.” It’s almost like a flow chart of, “Okay, here are the pages that people need to go through to complete the funnel and here are the call to actions.” That’s the high level.
Then, along with that is, for each page that’s in this map, there’s going to be a messaging hierarchy of these are the messages, which is based on the research, but at this point, when they hit this page, the thing on their mind, they’re most likely in x state from the research that was looked at, so we’re going to say these things in this order on this page and then we’re going to move them to the next page. That’s in the map. Then, next page, messaging hierarchy and it just keeps going like that.
Louis: You’re linking the stage of awareness that they are in the funnel, all the decision in the funnel with the objections they have, the concerns they have, what they want to achieve at this stage with the copy, then I guess you extract it and stuff, right? This is-
Momoko: Usually it goes from ad. There’s your super top of funnel copy that’s all about attracting the clicks, whether that’s an article or whatever, and that anchors their expectations. You should be fairly well aware of what they’re seeing before they get into the funnel and they start going further in. Then, by doing that, you can say after they’ve clicked that some of the expectations they have are x and y because of what we said in the ad and we need to move them along the awareness spectrum of being skeptical and not really understanding what this is all about, over to super excited and realizing that what you are offering is exactly what they need. That’s something that you got to get them through with copy.
Louis: This sounds like a customer journey map in a sense.
Momoko: It basically is but with messaging. It’s less UX and it’s more what you’re going to say.
Louis: I like that and I think this is the outcome of this. You’ve set up your survey for prospects, for customer. You’ve done it in such a way to make people answer them. You change the copy that you get from the default kind of copy provided by the software that you are using. You make sense of it. You add spreadsheets. You tag them along. You categorize them by the stages and the problems and whatnot. You put aside on the soft file the copy that you need but then, I think the last step which is, we don’t have a lot of time to cover it, but it is very interesting is yes, it’s like this customer does messaging customer journey in a sense. They don’t know anything about your product. What do you need to say? In what order? Based on the research, you know that this what’s probably the [inaudible 00:52:33], now let’s move down to the next step, next step, next step.
Momoko: Yeah. There are a lot of copywriting formulas out there and they’re all about how to write a sales page in a different way. There’s the problem agitates solution. There’s the four P’s. There’s the AIDA. There’s all these different formulas but, at the end of the day, I always try to bring it back to … It comes down to context, value … The best way to say it is … I can’t remember his name now. It was such a great thing. He said, “It doesn’t matter what the product is. It doesn’t matter how long the sales cycle is. Whenever you’re trying to persuade someone to buy something, it really comes back to why, try, buy.”
By why, try, buy, I mean, why is wherever their head is at, the pain that they’re dealing with, the issue that they want to solve, the enhancement that they want to add to their life, whatever context they’re in. That’s the why. The try is where you need to neutralize any possible objections and skepticism that they might have about your particular offer and your particular solution. You do the why so that they’re like, “Oh, yeah, that’s me. Okay, cool. Okay. Tell me more. I’m listening but I’m not convinced because I don’t really know what you’re about.” That’s the try section where it’s all about demonstrating and proving your claims. “You said that you have a solution for x. Here’s all the different levels of awesome and benefits and proof and testimonials that will allow you to really feel like this is a safe bet because I’m getting a sense of …” It’s not a one-to-one demo of the product, but sometimes you might want to give them a demo, but it gives them a sense of reassurance that if they’re going to hand over the money, they know what they’re getting on the other side.
Then the buy is where that’s like, you get them in there and they’re like, “Oh.” You’ve gotten them from skeptical and whatever to excited because this sounds perfect and they can practically feel it in their hands unless it’s a digital product, in which case that doesn’t really make any sense. Once you get them to that point, the climax is the buy section. It’s like, “All right, take the leap.” You know what I mean? “Go for it. Here’s the gate. Here’s the door into that awesome that you want.”
Louis: I like that a lot. It’s great. Why, try, buy. It’s great. I’ve never heard of this one before.
Momoko: It’s not even a thing. God, I can’t even remember. He was a guy in the Bay area that I worked with and he did predictive analytics; a really smart guy. He said that and I was like, “That is gold.”
Louis: That is good and gold.
Louis: Momoko, thanks so much. I usually ask a few questions at the end of the show but I think you’ve covered so much ground [inaudible 00:55:41] of your time that I’m not going to ask them. Actually you’ve answered them on the first episode so people can search for Momoko Price on everyonehatesmarketers.com and they’ll find all your recommended resources.
Is there anything you would like to add that I haven’t asked that you think is super, super important to this overall concept of voice of customer and how to organize it?
Momoko: One thing that I hadn’t really talked about, but I do think, if you have a SaaS product, not even a SaaS product, but if you have any kind of product that people buy online and you are not having a one question survey that’s embedded in the post conversion experience, where you can ask them right after they’ve bought, why they bought, or what were they planning on solving or was there anything they were worried about, use that as a way to continually optimize your messaging because it’s right there. People are happy. They’re there. You’re not blocking or lowering conversions. They’re right there and you can just keep collecting feedback from those one questions and then use them to create ads, fix friction problems, do whatever, but just have it embedded and use the responses.
The number of times that I have come across people. They have questions in an onboarding flow or they have intake forms in their post conversion experience for SaaS, where they ask a bunch of questions, but then the data is locked somewhere and nobody is looking at it, or they gather it and then they create a really nice chart full of pie charts and stuff that doesn’t inform your stuff. Get that messy data that you get from people the moment after they bought and start using their input at that moment to start clarifying your messaging. Whether that’s in an ad or on the sales page or in the funnel, whatever.
Louis: That’s a great tip. That’s absolutely the best place to ask for feedback because people just bought and they are in a happy mood.
Momoko: Just one question.
Momoko: The other thing too is that you can give them a discount. They already bought, so if you want to incentivize them, give them a discount on their next purchase, but just get them to answer when they’re happy.
Louis: It works for anything, not just SaaS. That’s perfect. Momoko, you’ve been a pleasure. Thanks again for sharing all of your tips. As always I’ve learned a lot from you this episode again. You’ve added a lot of value. I’m pretty sure this episode is going to be even more popular than the first one. Where can people learn from you, connect with you?
Momoko: To be totally honest, I’ve become such a recluse. I do live in the woods of Vancouver Island and I have actively killed my Twitter account and I don’t really post on Instagram that much either. You can go to Kantan k-a-n-t-a-n.io. If you go there and you sign up for my mailing list. That’s a way for us to go back and forth because I always answer the questions that people send me, but to be totally honest, I’m getting dangerously into getting rid of social media from my life.
Louis: Good. Don’t feel guilty. That’s awesome.
Momoko: It’s been a slow getting rid of it because it’s just so distracting.
Louis: Kantan.io Sign up [crosstalk 00:59:18].
Momoko: Best way, is probably LinkedIn. I’m still there.
Louis: You’re still on LinkedIn? Okay. Momoko Price on LinkedIn. Momoko, once again, thanks so much.