customer conversations
Marketing

Use Your Words: How to Inspire Your Content Marketing with Customer Conversations

Pay attention to the words your customers use, and you can enhance your marketing strategy.
  • Paying attention to the words your customers use can help you focus your content marketing
  • Consider reviews, social media and other conversations
  • Build your reputation and connect directly with your customers

Research tells us that when consumers look for products, social networks influence their decisions. Rather than rely on a company’s word, people are more likely to trust recommendations and testimonials from those who used the product or service rather than what a company says. When we think of the language used to describe your company, your products and the experience you provide, where do those words come from? What if they came from your audience? Between keywords, online reviews and social media conversations, it’s easier than ever to listen to what your fans, haters and ambassadors say. Paying attention to customer conversations can help you effectively tell your story.

Simply telling people that your business is the best in the market won’t convince them to reach into their wallets. But hearing a message from other customers might compel them to do so. By incorporating the words customers use in their reviews and feedback into your content marketing strategy, you can take your brand to the next level.

Why customer conversations matter

Let’s consider the following:

  • Nearly nine out of ten (89 percent) consumers worldwide make the effort to read reviews before buying products.
  • 76 percent of consumers say they trust the reviews they read online as much as personal recommendations.
  • Google is by far the most popular channel people turn to for reviews, with approximately 57 percent of shoppers using it, followed by a business’ own website (40 percent), Yelp (20 percent) and Facebook (20 percent).

Often, customers use words that haven’t occurred to you. They may also provide perspectives on how they use your products, the factors that influenced their choice to purchase and their overall experience.

Looking closely at customer conversations can spark marketing inspiration and tell your customers that you’re paying attention. It’s a win-win!

Where to look?

There are tons of places to look for your customers’ words, including:

  • Surveys
  • Blogs
  • Review sites
  • Observation in store
  • Point of sale
  • Customer service
  • Social media
  • Online communities and groups
  • Email and web forms
  • Keyword searches

Let’s go over where to look and what information to take away.

Review sites

What to look for: adjectives, locations, products purchased, reasons for shopping; demographics info – agImagee, gender, location; criteria (small space, large room); expectations vs. results; reasons for shopping; pain points; surprise delights

Social media

Facebook

What to look for: adjectives, the journey, expectations vs. results, reasons for shopping, community impacts

Pinterest

What to look for: the name of the boards; their intent – to buy vs. someday; the words they use – couch vs. sofa, rooms & themes, number of saves

Instagram

What to look for: hashtags, comments, adjectives, the journey, expectations vs. results, reasons for shopping, influence

Customer service

In store: questions people ask, emotions – excitement, exhaustion, frustration, age, life stage, budget, their intent – to buy vs. someday, the words they use – couch vs. sofa, the journey

Phone and Email: questions people ask price, availability, pain points, emotions – frustration, relief, satisfaction, the words they use – couch vs. sofa

The words your customers use

What scenarios or events influenced your customer’s review? What qualities stand out? Look for trends in different locations. Customers in urban areas will have different standards than those in suburban markets. Different products will appeal to different users – learn why and then use that information to target similar audiences.

Not all your customer conversations will be positive. That’s okay. Look for patterns in negative reviews and they’ll tell you what you need to work on. Perhaps customer service is lacking. Report back to your team and empower them to be better about meeting the needs of the customer. When you think you’ve turned things around, shout it from the rooftops. Let people know you’ve improved. Let them know that you saw what they wrote and took measures to improve it.

How can you use your customers’ words?

Leverage customer reviews to build reputation

Proudly feature your best unedited reviews at a prominent spot on your website – bold and upfront. This is nothing but word of mouth publicity, and it will lure your visitors to buy your product or hire your services.

Adding the name and photo of a customer will make the review even more authentic and credible. But make sure you get permission from the customers first before publishing their name or picture on your site. These reviews can be featured on your homepage or on all web pages.

Share reviews in promotional emails

Including customer feedback in your promotional emails may encourage your customers to make a purchase on your site.

Share customer reviews on social media

Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are popular places for customers to talk about and leave feedback or reviews. Collect and leverage positive customer reviews by sharing them on your company’s social media profiles. Adding a customer picture or video will add credibility to your business by showing them why people like you.

Always listen – hear what your customers are saying

At a time when it’s easy to have a two-way dialogue with your customers, it’s important to truly listen. When listening to your customers, consider what changes your organization should make from this feedback. Make sure to follow through. Your customers are the lifeblood of your organization, and not dealing with the reasonable requests could cause backlash.

Empower customer representatives to collect information that might help marketing initiatives. Create a worksheet reps can use to record customers’ unique or memorable words. Review it on a weekly or monthly basis to make updates and identify trends.

Use this as an opportunity to reinvigorate your search engine optimization. Approach SEO from the perspective of your target audience. Invest in targeting that focuses on life events, design challenges, budget (ex. “best couches for small spaces”, “must have furniture for your new home/first apartment”, “best beds under $1000”) and add category tags that correspond to Pinterest boards (ex. “for the home”, “small spaces”, “lake house”).

As you can see, there are many ways to incorporate customer conversations into your marketing strategy. By taking the time to listen, you can leverage opportunities to optimize the words that resonate most with your audience and amplify your marketing efforts.

About Marisa Peacock

Marisa Peacock is the founder and chief strategist of the Strategic Peacock, a social media consultancy that helps organizations create and implement online strategies that appropriately target the right audience with the right information using the right media. She is also a full-time lecturer in the Charles H. Sandage Department of Advertising at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign.