Want to find your customer’s pain points? I’m here to help.
In this article, I’ll walk you through how to find and use your customer’s’ pain points to better help them (and your bottom line).
What Are Pain Points?
Simply put: pain points are problems.
Each pain point refers to a specific problem your customers are facing. Ideally, you want to position your product or service as a solution to that problem.
Here’s the thing about pain points: they have the power to make or break your deals. Pain points play a vital role in the success of your business.
If you know exactly what your customers struggle with, you’ll know how to pitch your product or solution in a way that solves their problems.
Simply acknowledging a customer’s pain shows you value your customer and their overall satisfaction. Often, it can even lead to an entirely new product.
For instance, say your ideal customer is a watermelon lover. But what this ideal customer doesn’t love is sticky fingers and the time it takes to slice through thick skin.
Enter a giant watermelon slicer.
Or, maybe your customer loves a good tailgate, but hates lugging around a clunky cooler.
Ta-da: enter the Chillomatic, a single-serve cooler.
See? Pain point > solution > sale.
Obviously, for many companies – especially B2Bs – the pain point process won’t be that simple.
The problem is that far too few companies take the time to really do their customer research. Or worse yet, they assume they already know their customer’s most pressing issues.
And we all know what happens when you assume, right?
In the end, a clear understanding of your customer’s pain points can be what positions you ahead of the competition and helps you seal the deal.
Got it? Good.
Now let’s talk about how you go about uncovering those problems.
First, Ask Your Customers
Like most things marketing-related, the best place to start is with the customers themselves. Pain points marketing brings you closer to solving their problem.
If you have existing customers to pull from, great. If you don’t, we’ll get to that too.
The most reliable method we’ll cover is a good ol’ email survey.
Granted, it’s not the most exciting tactic. But it’s still one of the most effective.
Why email? Because you can easily identify those who have converted in the past through email segmentation, and reach out to them in a way that’s less obtrusive (and more realistic) than a phone call.
Another bonus? It’s an easy setup. You can easily create a form to send out with a tool like SurveyMonkey or even Google Forms.
To get started with Google Forms, all you need is a Google account. Simply log in, navigate to Forms, and click the big red + button to create one.
You’ll be taken to a screen where you can enter your questions, and choose if you want the survey to be multiple-choice, short answer, paragraph, etc.
For this kind of survey, you want to select paragraph. That way customers are free to leave a detailed response. The more details you have, the more efficiently you’ll be able to solve your customers’ problems.
Now, this is the most important part of the process: asking the right questions.
Ask questions about the buying process and find out what ultimately influenced them to go with your product or service.
Here are a few examples to help you get started:
- What questions did you have before purchasing? This will help uncover any possible drawbacks they may have encountered, and how you can better address them in the future.
- What features were most important to you? This will point to the features that hold the most value for your customers.
- What ultimately convinced you to buy? This will also reinforce what they value about your product or service.
- Is there anything you would change after using the product? This one will let you know where you could improve the product.
- How would you describe this product to a friend? This will also help you to determine which features make the most impact on your audience. They may be different than what you think!
- If you were searching for this product online, what kind of searches would you perform? This is helpful in crafting content (and keyword ideas) for an ongoing marketing strategy.
Pro tip: Obviously, not everyone will take the time to fill out the survey. To get as many takers as possible, include a coupon, discount code, or enter them in a free giveaway to sweeten the deal.
Use Live Chat to Find Pain Points
If an email survey doesn’t cut it, try a live chat.
It’s an excellent tool for both email opt-in lead generation as well as collecting real-time customer feedback.
The cool thing about live chat is that it allows you to communicate directly with a customer and find out exactly what they’re looking for. It’s a directional tool for both customers and providers to work together to solve problems.
And the demand for live chat is only growing. Recent studies show 44% of consumers think the ability to talk to an agent while purchasing online is one of the best features a website can offer.
During the purchase process, you can collect valuable information regarding pain points and further build trust between you and your customers, fortifying your business and ensuring its success.
For example, when a user lands on your site, ask them something like this:
If they respond, you’ll know exactly what brought them to your site. If you’re a marketing agency, maybe they’ll say “I’m looking for information on how to start a Google Ads campaign.”
Their pain point? They know they need PPC, but they don’t know how to get started.
Or, if you sell women’s clothing, they might say “I’m looking for designer jeans on sale.”
Their pain point? They want nice clothes, but can’t (or won’t) pay full price.
With that information on hand, those companies could better address and advertise in ways that speak directly to what those customers are looking for: an answer addressing their pain.
You can even take it a step further with the help of tools like Intercom, which helps you target users even further. By the way, their live chat pop up looks like this:
They’re already addressing a common pain point that brings customers their way: how to engage inactive users.
No Customers? No Problem. You Can Still Find Their Pain Points.
Don’t have enough customers to perform an accurate survey? That doesn’t mean you can’t find pain points.
Here’s a cool method from Michael Karp to help uncover your customer’s issues, needs, and desires.
Start with a surface-level issue your customer is facing. For example, they have a PPC ad that isn’t getting enough clicks.
Here’s a customer pain points template Q & A to keep you on track:
You: Why do you want more clicks?
Customer: To get more visitors to my site.
You: Why do you want more visitors to your site?
Customer: To get more qualified leads.
You: Why do you want more qualified leads?
Customer: To close more sales and make more money.
You: Why do you want more money?
Customer: So I can ensure my startup has enough revenue to bring in more staff for continued growth.
You: Why do you want more staff?
Customer: So I can do less work myself and hire people with more expertise in specialized areas.
You have just learned some valuable information from asking the right questions. Your customer wants more PPC clicks because they need to bring in more revenue with the hopes of establishing a growing, thriving business.
What’s the pain point? The customer is overworked and needs more specialized staff.
See how one general issue leads all the way down to the root cause? That root cause will be vital when it comes to executing your content strategy.
If you can really speak to that overworked, overstressed small business owner fighting to keep his/her company afloat, you can address and aim to address his/her pain points. Talk to that person in your blog posts or newsletters and bring those points to life. Then, you can eventually turn a reader into a customer.
Continue the pain point analysis by selecting a few members of your audience and continuing the conversation. Then, find the common threads between their answers.
If you’re just starting out, create a conversation like the template above. Then, attach the research you’ve already done on your target audience and crafted buyer persona.
Use Tools to Find Common Questions
New brands should look to online tools to help them uncover common questions. Those questions, as we know, are what reveal the root of a customer’s pain point.
Luckily, there are plenty of tools out there that can help.
For starters, try out Answer the Public. This free tool will generate hundreds of questions on a given topic, separated by question type: who, what, when, where, why, can, etc.
Simply fire up the site and type your topic into the search bar. Your results will look something like this:
As you look over the questions the search engine returns, look for common threads. For example, in my search for “content marketing,” I’m seeing a lot of questions like “is content marketing worth it,” “is content marketing dead,” and “why content marketing fails.”
Based on those questions, I can gather that a lot of people are feeling burnt out on content marketing. Their pain point may very well be that they’re hesitant to invest in a channel that they feel lacks results, or aren’t confident in their abilities to execute it properly.
SEMRush is another excellent tool that can help you uncover pain points. You will need an account for this one (but if you’re in marketing, it’s well worth it).
Once you’re logged in, go to the Keyword Magic Tool section, located in the left-hand menu under Keyword Research. Enter in your topic, and when the results are returned, click the Questions button in the top left.
Like Answer the Public, you’ll see a list of questions being asked around the topic. The added bonus here is that you’ll see the volume. This will help you pinpoint which questions are being asked most frequently.
There are plenty of other tools out there that can help you uncover common questions and content in your niche, including QuestionDB and Omgili.
Here’s what I recommend: use all of the above to collect as many questions as possible. Then, look for commonalities. If the same kinds of questions are popping over and over again, that signals a major pain point.
Analyze Feedback, Forums, and Reviews
Another great place to analyze pain points is through reviews and feedback.
Reviews are valuable to businesses for many reasons (and if you’re not actively collecting them, check out one of these review softwares ASAP!)
It’s also a great way to see what people value most about your company.
Take a look at some of the ones we’ve collected:
Notice that all of them highlight the fact that we have a highly-skilled, attentive team that provides great service.
From that, we can derive that perhaps a common pain point with digital marketing companies is poor communication and a feeling of inadequate results. Knowing these are common pain points, we can use that information to our advantage to deliver the kind of experience these customers want.
The same thing goes for you. Take a look through your reviews and look specifically for any common threads.
It’s also a good idea to monitor forums and message boards for any questions that may be asked about your product.
Set up alerts on Google (Google Alerts) for your brand name. That way, you’ll get a daily report with all the latest content mentioning your brand.
Additionally, you’ll want to monitor forums, etc. for any threads related to your product or industry on the whole. Even if isn’t specific to your brand, listening in on the common feedback about your industry will help you identify areas you can improve.
Monitor Social Channels
Don’t neglect social media feedback. Customers tend to be highly vocal on social media, and often use it as a channel to vent frustrations.
Make sure you’re taking those frustrations seriously and using them to improve. Keep tabs on what’s being said through tools like Mention, SocialMention, and Warble.
This will allow you to vet all incoming reviews, complaints (or praise!) and respond in a timely manner – we recommend no more than a day. For many customers, a lack of communication can be a major pain point. Help eliminate that one by providing prompt responses to all messages and comments.
When a customer complains about a service or requests help or information, they’re essentially telling you exactly what their pain point is, and chances are, they aren’t only one who feels that way. Gather and apply that information to improve your product or service and better relieve your customer’s pain.
Monitor Content Related to Your Products or Industry
Outside of your brand itself, you’ll also want to keep tabs on what’s being published around the web about your industry or products.
Why? Because you want to stay on the cutting edge of your industry and on top of the competition.
By closely monitoring the conversations around your niche or area of expertise, you’ll be the first to know when new problems or desires arise. Then, you can quickly come up with a solution – before your competitors do.
Try using a service like Paper.li. This cool little tool lets you find and collect content that’s relevant to your audience’s interests. Simply enter in a topic, and it will compile a list of all the content published on a given day and deliver it in a daily digest.
Dedicating a little of your day to go over a report like this will ensure that you’re aware of exactly what’s happening in your industry and any new innovations or developments. A new tool or app could very well surface that will make your customer’s lives even easier, and that’s something you want to be well aware of for future pain points marketing.
On that same note, you should also be on the pulse of any new trends that may arise. Likewise, this will allow you to stay on the cutting edge and give your customers what they want as soon as they want it.
For example, remember fidget spinners? They were all the rage not too long ago. Imagine if you were late to the game – and the one toy store that didn’t have their shelves stocked to the brim with the small spinners. You likely would have lost a few customers due simply to the fact that you weren’t on top of the latest trend.
Don’t let that be you. Keep on the cusp of the latest happenings in your industry by using a service like Trend Watching or Trend Hunter. Like Paper.li, both will roundup the latest news and deliver it straight to your inbox, eliminating a lot of busy work on your end.
How to Use Customer Pain Points in Your Marketing
Once you’ve uncovered your customer’s major pain points, it’s time to develop the appropriate strategy and use pain points marketing.
There’s no such thing as being too obvious here. You want their pain point upfront and in their face, with your solution right behind.
One of the best places to use pain points? In your value proposition.
One of my favorite examples is from TrackMaven.
Their proposition “Take a deep breath. TrackMaven makes it easy to prove marketing ROI,” makes it clear that they not only understand the surface issue (proving ROI) but have drilled down to the deeper pain point (it’s difficult and stressful!)
PPC ads are also an excellent place to address pain points.. Ads aren’t always popular, but solutions to problems are. Make sure you’re transparent about what your product or service solves in your ads.
Take this example from ADP.
It accomplishes something similar to the TrackMaven value proposition. What is the pain point here? Business owners know that payroll is an on-going and often expensive hurdle. ADP’s very first line addresses that pain point and promises assistance.
Or, let the pain point be the product, like these nail-on-the-head soaps from the Whiskey River Soap Company.
Sure, they may not actually cure the problem, but they sure speak to the target audience and address pain points creatively, don’t they?
What have we learned?
Finding and addressing your customers’ pain points is imperative to growing your business.
Find them. Use them. Rinse. Repeat.