Email Marketing: How to Use Voice-of-Customer Data to Your Advantage

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    Want to improve your email marketing? Voice-of-customer (VoC) data can help in a big way. 

    By gathering feedback directly from your customers, you’re able to pinpoint the exact problems, obstacles, and outcomes your customers want you to address in your emails. You can even uncover what language you should use to make your copy more effective. 

    This means no more wasting precious time and resources on assumptions and campaigns that fail to deliver. Thanks to a more focused approach, fueled by the customers, you will get them to consistently respond and convert. 

    In this post, we’ll explore what voice-of-customer data is, exactly, and how to gather it, and how you can use it to optimize your emails.

    So Many Emails and So Little Time

    According to Templafy, there are 306.4 billion emails sent per day.

    Given that incredible number, every email marketer is wondering how to stand out in the inbox and actually get people to engage. What approach works best to get opened and read? And more importantly, how do you get your audience to act? 

    The answer is simple: you need to be relevant. And you do that by listening to your customers.

    What is Voice-Of-Customer Data?

    Before we dive into applying this invaluable data to your email marketing, let’s first define VOC. 

    In essence, voice-of-customer data is unfiltered qualitative data you collect directly from customers. Think open-ended questions in surveys, live chat conversions, and even social media comments and reviews.

    On one hand, this research is designed to reveal what your customers really think about your business, goods, and services. But it doesn’t stop there.

    VOC data highlights the gap between what you are providing versus what your customers are expecting. It is the cold, hard facts that are clogging the customer journey funnel.

    Voice-of-customer data also provides an invaluable way to overcome their objections by using their exact words. Utilizing this tailored tone and messaging to address their pain points and hesitations will instantly make your emails more engaging because you’re reflecting what your customers are telling you back at them. 

    This also shows that you are listening, which is also an essential ingredient to successful email marketing. (Or marketing in general.) 

    Successfully Running an Email Campaign

    Before we get deeper into the application of voice-of-customer data, let’s address a few common errors in email marketing. Before you start gathering and applying voice-of-customer data, you should make sure you’re not missing the basics. 

    Here’s a rundown of some straightforward ways to greatly increase the effectiveness of your future mailings.

    Here are a few highlights: 

    1. Use personalization to tailor your emails to different customer segments and personas 
    2. Utilize the marketing data you already have from other channels 
    3. Visualize your email marketing data to more easily uncover insights and opportunities 

    Using ClicData dashboards can ensure that your improved emails generate data that can be shared companywide. Having data refreshes that can also compare campaigns while monitoring the big marketing picture can help to ensure a successful campaign.

    These next campaigns can also be further enriched by utilizing voice-of-customer data. Below we will break down the necessary steps needed to gather, mine, and take advantage of the treasure trove that is VOC data.

    The Three Aspects of Voice-of-Customer Data

    The approach I suggest to using VOC data in email marketing is what I call the three A’s:

    1. Amass 
    2. Analyze
    3. Apply

    This is the gathering, distillation, and utilization of VOC data into an email campaign designed to have my emails read and any call to action implemented.


    There is a myriad of ways to get VOC data to use in your email campaigns.

    Here are a few common sources: 

    1. Customer Interviews
    2. Online Customer Surveys
    3. Live Chat
    4. Social Media
    5. Website Behavior
    6. Recorded Call Data
    7. Online Customer Reviews
    8. Net Promoter Score
    9. Focus Groups
    10. Emails
    11. Dedicated Feedback Form

    Numbers two and eight are going to generate a great deal of useful data due to the nature of surveys. To make them even more effective, leave room for your customers to add additional comments along with each question they answer. 

    This will give you a better understanding of their view of you than just a rating system. Using their ratings and comments can tell exactly why something is not to their liking.


    All of these methods are highly effective ways to amass VOC data, especially surveys, but there’s always room for quantitative data. You can learn a lot by looking at your previous email campaigns and honestly assessing what went right and wrong with your hypotheses. Use these insights to further increase your successes in retention, cross-selling, up-selling, and spreading positive word of mouth.

    Track the Click-Through Rates of Older Mailings

    One common factor you will (probably) see in previous email campaigns that came up short is a poor click-through rate. Here are a few tried and true tips that will help you improve that key metric:

    1. Nail the subject line
    2. Use segmentation
    3. Keep copy short but sweet
    4. Consider the layout
    5. Include calls to action.
    6. Include social sharing icons
    7. Use double opt-ins

    Application of these steps will help tremendously in your next round of email marketing. Pay special attention to steps 5-7 as they will generate the most ROI for your company. Number 6 is going to be a goldmine the next time you amass VOC data as people will inevitably comment on those shares.

    Increase Your Message Effectiveness

    Besides improving click-throughs, you’ll also want to make sure your copy addresses the issues that actually matter to your audience. It’s all too easy to keep hammering home the same messages without using VOoC data to address whether any of your customers actually care.

    Here are a few ways that you can level up your email content:

    1. Start with a checklist.
    2. Pick the right subject line.
    3. Include a PDF containing all essential information and resources.
    4. Use downloadable design templates.
    5. Proofread and edit your emails.
    6. Make them personal (e.g., using gifs.)
    7. Include a recorded version of a written article.

    Number six is a great example of how you can use voice-of-customer data to be more effective. By analyzing your feedback you will see many opportunities to address your customers’ concerns. You can then engage individuals or your entire email list with a warm tone that honestly offers solutions that benefit you and them. This personal engagement will further their trust in your company and generate more promoters.

    Another of my favorite tips came from the beginning of the article linked above:

    “If your page visitors agree to leave their email addresses for further communication, you can reward them with a content upgrade. This will not only improve your own email marketing strategy but it will also improve the relationship with your customers.”

    So many times visitors will opt-in and completely forget they’ve done so. Then when your emails show up in their inbox they are too quick to unsubscribe. Taking the time and resources to provide this memorable quid pro quo effectively ensures your email list stays at a healthy number. Lastly, to increase your message effectiveness, improve email deliverability using an SPF checker and set an email security policy.

    VOC Data is the Answer to Most of Your Issues

    Everything you need to be more engaging, to better overcome objections or even to right the course you are currently on is all there. You just need to mine for it. Customer feedback, especially in surveys, can highlight in the customers’ own words where your opportunities lie.

    As you parse and highlight their written responses, you will get a very clear picture of their pain points, hesitations, wants/needs, and even triggers. Categorize and use these to filter the customer experience funnel and directly address where and how you can improve it to increase their satisfaction. Doing so will lead to tangible outcomes ranging from better engagement to higher satisfaction rates and ultimately higher revenue.

    Don’t be afraid to quote a customer, either. Copyhackers founder and pioneer of conversion copywriting once said, “Instead of writing your message, steal it. Steal it directly from your prospects.” This allows you to directly address any area with messaging that will ring true. 


    When analyzing the data you will often see the same issues being brought up by your customers again and again. This is good for your company in the sense that you now have a clear picture of what you need to address first and foremost.

    Go for solutions that not only address their issues but also make the path of the customer journey more effective. Many times these problem areas can be fixed by either better messaging in your email campaigns, more effective design of your website or apps, and fewer restrictions on higher-level content.

    But why stop there?

    Tout your solutions in your next email campaign!

    Ask More Questions

    Use the campaign where you promote your answers to your customers’ problems as an opportunity to gather even more revealing VOC data. Whether you choose to go for the personalized or entire email list approach just be sure to ask the right questions. 

    Like any good hypothesis, your email campaign should have a couple of key questions nailed down. Otherwise, it is just another campaign doomed to fail because it was not fleshed out properly.

    Jennifer Havice, writing for CXL, brings up several good points in her article about using VOC data to boost conversion. You can apply her steps to asking the right questions to increase your amount of pertinent VOC data. These surveys should be used to further the success of your customers’ journeys with an eye on creating positive word of mouth.

    Here are 4 great questions to help you write voice-of-customer:

    • When did you realize you needed a product/service like ours? This question helps you find out which trigger events in a person’s life motivate them to seek out your solution.
    • What problem does our product/service lessen/fix for you? Find out what your customers consider to be the problem. You may find that you solve problems you didn’t know about.
    • Did you consider any alternatives to buying/working with us? It’s always a good idea to know who your customers see as your competition. This will help you build a case as to why they should buy from you.
    • What concerns or hesitations did you have before you decided to buy/work with us? Addressing sources of friction in your copy is incredibly important. You can reflect your customers’ concerns back to them, showing how you’ll alleviate them.

    By asking the right questions with subsequent campaigns you can really narrow down your customers’ triggers, hesitations, pain points, and view of the competition. By focusing on and addressing these issues your company can more actively meet the needs and wants of your clients and potentials. All of these efforts will generate the highly desired word of mouth that will ultimately increase your revenue.

    VOC data when properly applied enables you to launch a more effective email campaign. By using their words you have shown that you have listened. Addressing their objections with effective solutions illustrates that you care about their satisfaction. Using a warm and personal tone throughout increases their engagement and encourages them to promote your company.

    Leverage VoC Data With ClicData

    With ClicData’s reporting and dashboard tool, you can centralize and combine data from your survey tools, social media, and CRM and visualize it in interactive dashboards in real-time. You can book a quick demo with our product specialists to see how to get your dashboard up and running in less than 30min.

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    About the author

    Dave is a freelance copywriter who specializes in video production, digital marketing, and copywriting. He covers a variety of topics for Soundstripe, a copyright-free music company that provides creators with the resources for producing stellar video content, like how to choose the best camera for YouTube.