Find 7-10 customers that match your best customer profile and conduct conversational interviews in person or virtually with them.
Record the interview, with permission from the interviewee, so that you can focus on listening to the answers instead of taking notes.
Ask key questions to understand your customers’ situation and relationship to your product, tracking questions and answers in a customer interview spreadsheet.
Include at least these questions in your interviews:
- How did you solve the problem before our solution?
- How is your life or industry different than it was 3 years ago? What has changed?
- What were you struggling with before buying [product or service name]?
- What changed in your industry that made it imperative to do something NOW?
- What is the ONE thing you no longer have to do or use that was once painful, inefficient, or eroding results? (Get the actual cause, not the result)
- What is the ONE most compelling benefit you received from [product]?
- How would you describe your world/work after using [product]?
- What element of the solution is the MOST important or impactful to you?
- What are the top 5 elements of the solution you value most? Specific things.
- If you were going to provide a referral to a friend/colleague, how would you describe the change you experienced once adopting [product]?
- How would you get a colleague to consider the solution?
- What concrete results have you achieved?
Listen to your interviewee, giving them all the time they need to think and answer.
Ask additional non-leading, what, how, or why questions to expand on your original questions and tailor the interview to your brand.
Don’t ask Why is our solution the best? Ask What do you like about our solution?, What do you not like about our solution?, and Why did you first start to look for a solution?
Add all answers into your customer interview spreadsheet, using the same words your customers used to answer the questions.
If your customer describes your product as a productivity tracker, make a note of that description when filling out your spreadsheet after the interview, instead of switching it back to the technical term your brand might use, like Kanban-style, list-making application.
Mine other customer insight resources to find commonalities and themes, such as testimonials, market research, industry analysts, social media, keyword trends, and product reviews.
Use tools like TechValidate to capture social proof, use social listening tools like Hootsuite and Mention to find mentions of your brand online, and use tools like BuzzSumo and Google Trends to find shifts in trends for keywords and top performing content in your industry.
Look for repeated keywords and commonalities in your customer interview spreadsheet. Highlight phrases and keywords that stand out or are repeated.
For example, Joanna Wiebe of CopyHackers found the line If you think you need rehab, you do in an Amazon review for the product, so she made that the headline on the website, leading to 400% more clicks on the main CTA button, according to CXL.