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  • Kathryn Hudson-Cook

The magic of your customer’s voice: how to increase email conversions using their language

Updated: Feb 16

The secret weapon of effective copywriting

Let's consider how most people write email copy.

You sit down at your desk, open a new page on your favourite email platform, type in a subject line like ‘our welcome email’. And then you lean back and think about what you want to say.

And that's where your conversion rate starts to die.

Before you've even written a word.

Because what you want to say may have absolutely nothing, truly nothing, to do with what the recipient needs to hear.

Let’s face it: convincing your audience to open an email, then proceed to actually read it, and end with a swift sign-up to your services or purchase of your goods is challenging.

The challenge doesn’t mean it’s impossible, though – especially when you tap into the magic of effective copy that starts and ends with the customer.

Now you're talking my language

Copy that identifies the wants, needs and objections of your customer is great. But copy that captures their voice as well? Now we’re talking.

Capturing their voice, or as most of us call it – simply speaking like your audience – is the foundation for writing copy that converts.

But don’t just take it from us.

Gartner research recently discovered that using the exact words that your customer uses in your copy can increase upselling and cross-selling success rates by 15% to 20%.

And even the most respected conversion copywriters say they don’t ‘write copy’ – they ‘swipe copy’ from customers.

However, there’s a little more to it than just swiping words from your customers to perk up your email copy.

Using their language to boost your open rates and conversions is more like mind-melding with the individual you are sending that important email to.

Why it works

Think about a time when someone has articulated one of your thoughts or feelings back at you.

It might have been something a friend said, the lyrics in a song, or a line from a great movie. How did you feel when you heard it?

Validated? Understood? Your attachment to your friend or affinity for that art might have grown, too.

That’s what your copy needs to do.

Your copy needs to use your customers’ language to make an emotional impact before they even consider signing up to your course or purchasing your new product.

Speaking like your audience – using their exact words – can really take your email marketing to a whole new level.

Gather your insights

So, how do you effectively capture your audience’s language in your emails and use it to drive more conversions?

The gold standard, really, is to pull from multiple sources:

  • Interviews

  • Surveys

  • Comment or review mining


The best way to start capturing their voice is by going straight to the horse’s mouth, as they say. Go to the source. Talk with them. Ask them questions. Listen to their experiences.

The best way to do this is by requesting an interview with recent customers. It may seem intimidating, but armed with the right questions, your customers can provide helpful insights.

These questions should tell you what customers felt and thought about your service or product. Some sample questions include:

  • What problems did you face before [your brand]’s solution, and how did this affect your life?

  • What did you do, or what solutions did you try, before [your brand]’s solution?

  • What made you seek out or consider [your brand], and why did you choose [your brand]?

  • What was your experience like with [your brand]’s solution? What benefits, features, or results did you particularly enjoy?

You can hold five to seven customer interviews at around 30 minutes each, and you'll learn so many insights that’ll help you with what you're writing about.

To increase your chances of getting a response, you can include incentives such as offering to feature them in a blog post, case study, or testimonial on your website. This is a double win for you since you can also provide audiences with more original content on a variety of platforms.


Interviews aren't always viable. People could say no, or you just might not have the time.

In that case, you can send questionnaires to your email subscriber list.

The questions you ask should also be like the ones you’d ask in interviews. Ask about their time using your service or their purchasing journey. Find out what your customers thought and felt before, during, and after.

Even without speaking, these questions will reveal your customers’ priorities and values.

Comment or review mining

Reviews are extremely persuasive in their own right, yet interestingly the Content Marketing Institute reported that only 42% of companies are conducting comment or review mining.

Since the internet makes it so easy to share your thoughts, you don’t have to directly ask customers what they think. Instead, you can check comments and reviews they leave online – and there’s a range of platforms you can use.

  • Reviews sites – Appstore, G2, Producthunt, Capterra, Trustpilot, TrustRadius, Yelp, TripAdvisor

  • Social and search – Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Google

  • Forums – Reddit, Quora, industry forums, relevant blog comments

  • Product reviews – Amazon, and your own website if you have this feature

Pay attention to the language customers use. People tend to write in an unrestrained manner on the internet, so you’ll have plenty of words you can take away to use.

Turn your insights into powerful copy

Once you’ve gathered together all the words and phrases people are using to describe your products or services, how do you use these to grab attention and create impact in your next email?

Start with using a customer quote in the subject line. A pain point that led them to you. A benefit they’ve gained from you. A declaration of loyalty (every brand’s dream). Quotation marks help to get attention. Keep it to around 50 characters long.

Example 1: Quote in subject line, "how can I get the wider company on board with marketing?"

Example 2: "You're too cheap!"

Example 3: "This was hands down the BEST hotel I've stayed at in the UK!"

Now, it's time to write the body copy. It’s best to never depend on a person remembering what they read in the subject line, so repeat the customer phrase in the email body.

You then need to agitate the attention-grabbing phrase in order to bring it to life and start building interest in the second part of your email body copy.

To follow on with the “how can I get the wider company on board with marketing?” email subject line example, Joe has taken this quote directly from those who are part of The Marketing Meetup networking group he runs to demonstrate the value his webinar will deliver by answering this frequently asked question directly.

Example from Joe at Marketing Meetup listing some questions that people ask that will be answered in the webinar

Stay true to the customer’s language as much as possible. Even if it sounds casual. Actually – especially if it sounds casual. The words of your customers are au naturale. Unvarnished. It sounds more authentic because it is. And that makes it more potent than marketing speak.


Doing your research on the language and words your customers use is crucial to writing copy that really connects with your audience. It provides insights into what life really looks like for them, what keeps them up at night, and what they are working towards. It really takes the guesswork out of writing emails.

It’ll not only save you the time and effort of coming up with the copy yourself. It’s also a surefire way to resonate with your reader.

And that’s what you need to include in your email copy – the magic of your customer’s voice – the secret weapon of effective copywriting that helps to boost conversions.

Like further support? Find out more in our workshops.


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