Customer Pain Points: Hurts So Good

Using pain points is a long tradition in marketing. Pain points are essentially the areas in which your target customer feels pain. This can be simple pain, like an irritation or inconvenience. It can also be larger pain, like a crisis or complex issue. The starting point for determining these pain points is your buyer persona. Click here to see a short video about that. Great marketing makes your buyer feel the pain of not having what they need.

Once you know who your target audience is, part of your marketing to that audience is addressing how your good or service solves their pain. In other words: your life is hard because ___, here’s how we make it better. Pain points are all about the identifiable feeling. Pain points rally the readers: we can all agree that X is awful. Pain motivates people. If they genuinely see how your product could resolve or even manage their pain, they’ll buy in.

Pain Points for Sales Copy

It’s important to remember that pain points let a potential customer sit with the feeling of being uncomfortable. You want buy-in or agreement that this is a bad feeling that needs to be solved. Sales copy that highlights pain points isn’t intrinsically about the solution: it’s just about the pain.

Upon reflection, here are some pain points I have experienced recently:

  • Cutting into an avocado and realizing you can only eat half of it.
  • Trying to find the lost end on a roll of scotch tape.
  • Deciding how many rings to wait before ignoring a call.
  • Being offered nachos right after you brush your teeth.
  • Tying your shoes right after you paint your nails.
  • Being given a six-hour window for a repairman to arrive.
  • Anytime your kid’s school calls.

As you think this through for yourself, here is a catalyst for brainstorming every day pain points that you have, undoubtedly, encountered:

  • Toothpaste caps
  • Toilet paper rolls
  • Stubbed toes
  • A stuffy nose
  • Dirty clothes
  • Broken down car

This graphic is so good and helps illustrate what real pain points are (it’s from Ceralytics).

Customer Pain Helps Your B2C Marketing

Now, you may think that you are in an industry that isn’t directly addressing acute pain. You may want to think again. Even the simplest issues can be painful for people. Your good or service exists for a reason.

Even if your offering lands more in the “luxury” or “hobby” realm, those things address real, human needs. Illustrate those needs. Tell stories about them. Amplify them. Explain what will happen if that pain isn’t resolved. Sit with the discomfort. Craft a narrative around the miraculous transformation that will occur once somebody buys into what you’re selling. This strategy works time and time again.

How to Identify Your Customer’s Pain Points

There are a few ways to effectively establish what your customer’s pain points are. The best brands I have ever worked for do this really well. They have a laser-focused buyer persona and a list of customer pain points that is literally revisited every time they write something. These pain points are in play for every sales letter, every blog, every flyer and every ad.

Identify Customer Pain Points: Questions

Here are some questions to ask to identify the pain points of your customer:

  • What is their biggest hurdle?
  • What annoys them about X?
  • What are the top 3 ways not having your product inconveniences someone?
  • What does your customer want?
  • What does your customer need?
  • What does your customer wish they had?
  • What are your customer’s top 3 complaints about X?
  • What problems does your customer have?
  • What problems do the people in your customer’s community have?
  • What need does X meet?
  • What problem does X solve?
  • What does your customer wish was different about their life?
  • What does your customer wish would change?

I found some good example questions here, too.

Write From Pain: Hire a Writer

Hire a writer knows how to craft this kind of copy. If you need help with sales letters, email marketing, blogs or ads that perform, click here to learn more. Sometimes, you just need someone else’s perspective or voice to help amplify your message.

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