Whether you’re new to marketing or a seasoned veteran, you’ve likely heard someone refer to customer pain points. This industry jargon term may sound confusing if you’re unfamiliar with it. And if you don’t know exactly what it means, how can you use it in your marketing strategy? To help you better navigate pain point marketing, in this article, we discuss:
Pain points are specific problems that current or prospective customers or clients face within their sales or marketing journey. Pain points can be present at any point in the customer’s journey. They can also vary by consumer. Customers can identify their own pain points and realize where they need new solutions. It’s also possible for companies to introduce pain points and show customers and clients where they could do more or do better if they had the right solution.
Sometimes it may be easy to confuse pain points and solutions, especially when you’re first identifying what your customers need from you. Ceralytics has a graphic that shows the difference between a pain point and a solution.
Image via Ceralytics
This graphic shows that what the customer asks for directly may not always be a pain point, but a specific solution. Pain points are what needs to be done. The solution is the tool you use to do it. To find a pain point when a customer asks for a solution, consider asking yourself, or the customer, why they need it.
For example, if a customer goes to a fast-food restaurant and asks for a bottle of water, they’re asking for a solution to a pain point. If the person at the counter wanted to find the pain point, they could ask the customer why they want the water. Responses may vary from things like “I’m thirsty” to “I’m hot.” Those answers are the pain points and the reasons the customer wants the solution, the water bottle.
When you frame your marketing around pain points, your company is not just the sales vessel for a product or service. Instead, your company becomes the solution to a problem. If you understand a customer’s pain points, you can figure out how to innovate and provide targeted change that solves the problems they have. Learning what matters to your audience can help you reveal ways to connect and build trust with them.
If you know what your customer pain points are and what categories and types they fall into, you can figure out how to highlight the right features of your product to appeal to them. Customer pain points are often complex, so getting them to see the value in your product or service may take combinations of approaches to make them the most effective. But dedicating that time to doing so, like through developing content that directly speaks to their needs and what you can help with, can show you understand your audience and care about their needs.
There are two primary categories of pain points your consumers and clients may encounter. They include:
Internal pain points are problems that exist naturally in an industry. They can include things like poor customer service, high costs, or complex contracts. These things don’t require a brand new product or service to fix them. The goal with internal pain points is to find new strategies or methods to eliminate or minimize them. For example, if the pain point in your industry is poor customer service, you may hire more people to work in your service department to increase response times.
External pain points are customer problems that have a product or service solution. You can solve them with innovation, which may include strategy among new inventions that don’t already exist in the market. You may also innovate by improving on a solution that already exists but could be better.
For example, if you find that a client pain point is that your agency doesn’t have a content management system (CMS) where they can suggest content changes based on individual needs, you may turn to CopyPress. Partnering with us gives you and your clients access to our in-house CMS, Dante, which we can update with features based on user feedback. We’ll write the content for you, and then you can review, edit, and publish straight from our proprietary tool.
There are four common types of pain points that customers note when looking for solutions. They include:
These are not the only pain points that exist, but they are the most popular ones people cite when they’re looking to make a purchase or switch a service.
Some people avoid pain point marketing because they may feel that it takes advantage of the audience. They think that by using emotional messaging, they’re being forceful rather than persuasive. They may see it as exploiting the audience’s desperate need to find a solution to their problems. Others think pain point marketing is too negative. They may be concerned that it spends too much time focusing on what’s wrong so that they can position their brand, product, or service to be the savior.
So is pain point marketing ethical? In short, yes. It’s why marketing exists at all. A person or client has a problem, a company has the solution, and the company has to prove to the person or client why its solution is right. If you’re worried about coming across unethically to your audience with pain point marketing, just stay honest. If a pain point exists, talk about it, but don’t exaggerate it. Address real or plausible concerns rather than inventing situations to incite emotions like fear. Be authentic. You think your product is the best, so let the audience know why.
There are certain places you can look to find self-identified customer pain points. They can provide a lot of information to reference when creating your campaigns and strategies. Within these places, you can look for trends in responses. If you hear the same phrasing, challenges, or questions in multiple responses, you’ve likely found a pain point.
This is called qualitative research. It focuses on individualized and detailed responses to open-ended questions. You’re letting the customer tell you what they really want on their own rather than you coming up with a bunch of answers and having them pick from the pile. Places to look for customer pain points include:
Client testimonials can provide information about solutions your products or services have solved for them, some you may not even realize existed. Consider asking customers and clients for testimonials at the end of a project or job. They may tell you all the ways you helped them on the project or what the sale and implementation of a tool did for their company. Testimonials are good ways to learn what specific solutions you’re providing. Even if people don’t tell you their pain points directly, you can draw conclusions based on the solutions provided.
Customer reviews let you know exactly what people think of a product or service and how they intend to use them. While testimonials may work better for project, client-based work, reviews can help you learn more about the reception of tangible products or one-on-one service interactions. Customers may be more likely to put their pain points or negative comments and experiences in reviews rather than testimonials. This can be helpful, especially when looking at competitor reviews, to see areas where they don’t satisfy their clients or customers and learn how and where you can corner those pain point markets.
If you’re looking for even more ways to learn about how you can capitalize on gaps in your competitor’s content strategy, request your free content analysis report from CopyPress. The data shows keyword gaps where customers are looking for solutions to pain points, but the content isn’t available. We’ll show you this analysis and can create the content you need to address customer queries and other topics your competitors are writing about.
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Another way to find customer pain points is simply just to ask. You can hold an interview when you’re meeting for an initial consultation, at the start of a project, or as a final formality when closing out a project. Talking to people and asking them what they’re looking for out of products and services can tell you a lot about their pain points, again, even if they don’t tell you directly.
With an in-person or video interview, you may have the luxury of paying attention to body language, tone of voice, or other nonverbal cues that may tell you what aspects of business or life irritate your customers.
Similar to interviews, if you can’t get people one-on-one to tell you their pain points, send out the opportunity to the masses through social media posts. You may create a survey or form or just ask people to answer in the comments. Consider asking questions like what people consider the most challenging part of a certain task related to your products, or what they would like for your company to do better.
Be aware, opening up discussion about pain points on social media may attract negative responses. If you’re concerned about brand image, you may have the discussion through a private form rather than in the public comments.
Pain points are the needs your customers want to be met, but they’re also leveraging points to help you position yourself to provide solutions in your industry. Use these six tips to help you discover new ways to incorporate pain points into your marketing strategy:
People often make purchases or start partnerships with companies based on emotion. Then they use facts or logic to back up or justify their feelings. If you can find that emotional component, and discover what feelings cause people’s pain, you can capitalize on it. Are the pain points making your audience frustrated, stressed, or worried? Why? The more we understand our target audience’s emotions, the better we can connect with them and be able to create marketing campaigns that validate those emotions and give the right solutions.
When you’re creating pieces for your content marketing, it’s helpful to design them around customer pain point topics. When you may know what your customer pain points are from research, the second step in your content strategy should be finding the right keywords for which you can rank and attract organic traffic. Brainstorm a list of keywords on the pain point topic. Then conduct search volume research to find the ones where you have the best chance of ranking. Keyword research tools can help with this process.
Targeting long-tail keywords can help too. These are often, but not always, longer search terms like questions. People use them when looking for very specific information online. They have a high search volume but low content volume, allowing your brand to create valuable pieces to rank in search.
Review your current content and look for places where your team could better address pain points in your pieces. For example, you may have a blog post that talks about your company’s services, but it reads more like an advertisement than a valuable article. Can you reframe how you’ve written the topic to focus on and provide solutions to a customer pain point?
Use your analytics programs to find which pieces of content are underperforming and could benefit from a revamp and try to optimize them for pain point marketing. Continue checking the analytics to see if they change and traffic increases. You can also use your analytics programs to show what content is performing best. Review those pieces and see how you can adapt the strategies you used to make the updated content stand out the same way.
Using pain points in pay-per-click (PPC) search advertising is possible. It comes down to the way you frame your headlines and the text you choose. Use language that addresses what the problem is and how your product or service can solve it.
For example, if one of the customer pain points is that the other solutions are too expensive, focus on what you can do to relieve that. If your company offers a free trial, put that in the ad title. Use adjectives that address the initial pain points and others that might affect your audience. Words like “easy,” “reliable,” and “fast” may all be adjectives that grab the attention of people looking for pain point solutions.
Wordstream suggests that adding pain points to social media posts could be one of the most effective ways to incorporate it into your marketing strategy. This is because social media, both for businesses and individuals, often acts as a highlight reel. We show who we want to be, or the best versions of ourselves, not who we actually are. Address how your audience can be better by using your solution to their pain points. This may attract people playing the social media comparison game and entice them to click on your content.
Similar to applying pain point marketing to paid search, focus on your word choice. Using an emotional approach and appealing to people’s sense of wanting to do or be better can lead to more clicks and conversions.
Landing pages are often where people “land” after clicking a PPC ad or a link from a social media post. They provide more information about the topic you discussed in your initial ad or post, relative to the principal topic. Landing pages are an opportunity to reinforce why your products or services are the solutions to a pain point.
With landing pages, you have more room than you do in a PPC ad or social post, so you can make claims and back them up with more information. For example, you may use some of the same emotional or persuasive text that you wrote to get people to click and come to the landing page for the headings and subheadings. But from there, you can explain in more detail why your solution solves this pain point and why creating a partnership with your company or choosing your product is the most valuable choice. Landing pages are a vital part of effectively selling your products or services to your audience, and CopyPress is available to help. Contact us today to learn more about our content solutions.
Business and life both have pain points, the things we don’t love doing. Leaning into this idea in marketing and positioning your brand, product, or service as the solution can help you come across as more valuable to your audience. It also shows you care about your customers and clients and that you work to make their lives easier and better.
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