You need to find your customer’s pain points. I’ll help you.
In this article, I’ll walk you through how to find and use your customer’s pain points to better help them (and your business).
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.
And here’s the thing about pain points: really understanding them is what makes or breaks your deals.
Because if you know exactly what they struggle with, you’ll know how to pitch your product in a way that solves their problems.
Sometimes, just acknowledging a pain point can 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, 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 pain points.
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, Do Your Pain Points Research
So, like many things marketing-related, the best place to start is with the customers themselves.
If you have existing customers to pull from, great. If you don’t, we’ll get to that too.
The very first, go-to, tried and true method we’ll cover is a good ol’ email survey.
I know, not the most exciting. But 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 set up. 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 in your questions, and choose if you want to make the survey multiple choice, short answer, paragraph, etc.
For this kind of survey, you want to choose paragraph. That way customers are free to leave as detailed a response as they’d like – and the more detailed the better.
Now, this is the most important part of the process: asking the right questions.
To do that, make sure you ask questions about the buying process and what ultimately convinced them to go with your product or service.
Here’s a few examples to help you get started:
- What questions did you have before purchasing? This will help you uncover any possible drawbacks the may have encountered, and how you can better address them
- What features were most important to you? This will point to the features that hold the most value
- 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
All of the above will let you know the motivation behind a purchase and where you may be able to improve (ie the pain points you are or aren’t addressing).
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 seems a little too stone age for you, 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 allows you to communicate directly with a customer and find out exactly what it is they’re looking for.
Another cool thing? Recent studies show that 44% of consumers state that a live sales rep was vital to helping them complete a purchase online.
And while helping them complete that purchase, you can also collect some valuable information regarding pain points.
For example, when they land on your site, ask them something like this:
If they respond, you’ll know exactly what it is that brought them to your site. If you’re a marketing agency, maybe they’ll say “I’m looking for information on starting an AdWords 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 a way that spoke directly to what those customers were looking for.
And you can even take it a step further with the help of tools like Intercom, a tool that 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.
Maybe you don’t have enough customers to perform an accurate survey. Or maybe you just want to drill down incoming answers to really hammer out the motivations behind them.
Either way, here’s a cool method from Michael Karp to help uncover your customer’s issues, needs, and desires.
It goes like this.
Start with a surface-level issue your customer is facing. For example, say they’re PPC ad isn’t getting enough clicks.
Then, it’s a matter of a little Q&A:
You: Why do you want more clicks?
Them: To get more visitors to my site.
You: Why do you want more visitors to your site?
Them: To get more qualified leads.
You: Why do you want more qualified leads?
Them: To close more sales and make more money.
You: Why do you want more money?
Them: So I can make sure my startup has enough revenue to continue to grow and bring more in more staff.
You: Why do you want more staff?
Them: So I can do less of it myself and hire people with more expertise in certain areas.
Now we know quite a few things. They want more PPC clicks because they need to bring in more revenue, and hope to have a growing, thriving business.
Their real pain point? They’re overworked and need more specialized staff.
See how one general issue lead all the way down to the root cause? That root cause will be especially when it comes to planning out your content strategy.
If you can really speak to that overworked, overstressed small business owner fighting to keep his company afloat, you can help them. Talk to that person in your blog posts, your email newsletters, etc., and you can eventually turn a reader into a customer.
These are also the kinds of questions you want to follow up with. Choose a select few members of your audience to continue the conversation with, and try to find the common threads between their answers.
If you’re just starting out, create a conversation like the one above using the research you’ve already done on your target audience and crafted buyer persona.
Analyze Feedback and Social Channels to Find Pain Points
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 we can deliver the kind of experience these customers want is something to use to our advantage.
Same thing goes for you. Take a look through your reviews and look specifically for any common threads.
Also, 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.
How to Use Pain Points in Your Marketing
Once you’ve uncovered your customer’s major pain points, you have to develop the right way to use them.
There’s no such thing as being too obvious here. You want their pain point up front 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!)
Another place to address pain points is in your PPC ads. Ads aren’t always popular, but solutions to problems are. Make sure you’re transparent about what your product or service solves in yours.
Take this one from ADP.
It accomplishes something similar to the TrackMaven value prop. Anyone business owner knows that payroll is an (often expensive), on-going hurdle. ADP very first line addresses that and promises relief.
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, don’t they?
Wrapping Up Pain Points
What have we learned?
Pain points are important. Find them. Use them. Rinse. Repeat.