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How to Use Pain Points in Marketing
Copywriting / 22 Jul 2022
Pain points are all about improving customer experience. So if this is your number one priority, you’re on the right track. In fact, 86% of customers say that they are ready to pay more for a better buying experience.
Not only that, but according to Dot Digital, 49% of customers agree that they have made impulse purchases after a customised, personal experience with a brand.
How did these companies go above and beyond? By addressing customer pain points early and effectively through brilliant website copywriting.
A pain point isn’t the overall problem that your product or service solves–don’t worry, this article will help you write more effective copy for that, too. Instead, think of pain points as obstacles to the final sale.
By identifying, targeting, and squashing these objections, you can look forward to increased sales and happier customers. It’s a win-win for everyone.
What is a pain point?
A pain point is a specific problem affecting your current or prospective customers. No two customers’ pain points are going to be exactly the same, and they may not even be aware they have a problem. However, it’s your job to remind them of the problem you solve, and position your offer as the solution.
We can broadly group pain points into four categories:
Financial – their current solution is costing too much, or by not dealing with the problem they are losing money.
Productivity – their time is being wasted because their current solution takes too long, or the problem is an emergency and they need instant relief.
Process – the current solution is too complicated or not efficient enough.
Support – questions aren’t answered, they don’t feel like they can trust the company, or they feel on their own.
For example, retail giant Amazon identified one of its customers’ pain points as having to stay in their homes–maybe even taking a day off work–to wait for packages. This, coupled with the rise of porch pirate theft, made home deliveries less of a convenience and more of a real pain. Enter Amazon Lockers–by installing these secure lockers at busy locations, customers could arrange to pick up their items whenever they felt like it.
And when digital retailer Oriental Furniture identified one of their customers’ pain points as a lack of trust in the unfamiliar company–a “support” type pain point–they added a security seal to their product pages that highlighted their guarantee on delivery of purchases up to $500. By drawing attention to this perk instead of just hiding in the fine print, Oriental Furniture increased conversions by 7.6%.
All of this describes the logical side of pain points, but to truly unleash its power while writing copy, you need to tap into your customer’s emotions. In short, it’s not just the pain point itself that’s sore, it’s how it makes them feel.
For example, financial pain points don’t just cost a customer money. It may affect their ego, cause them to worry about their future, or prevent them from buying other things they want or need.
Productivity pain points don’t just waste time: they stop you spending quality time with your family, relaxing, or setting up a side income.
Process pain points make you feel unqualified, disillusioned, or like you’re hitting your head against a brick wall. And when your support pain points aren’t met, you don’t feel valued or listened to by the company.
As you can imagine, there are loads of common pain points every company can target to improve their customers’ experience: faster delivery, secure guarantees, helpful and timely support, the list goes on and on.
However, finding your own customers’ unique pain points is critical to better performing SEO writing, more sales, and better customer experience.
How to find pain points
Your customers can stumble onto a pain point at any stage of their experience with you. If we break down the customer experience into three nested levels, it gets easier to understand what kind of pain points they could face at each stage.
In the single-interaction level, your customer is performing a single task: maybe they’re checking out on your website or using your product.
During the journey level, they’re moving towards a specific goal, using multiple channels or devices to do so. Perhaps they’ve checked out and are waiting for delivery of your product, or using your product in their everyday lives.
Finally, the relationship level means all their interactions with your company, throughout the lifetime of the customer relationship. This encompasses your advertising, newsletters, and everything else.
When you think about finding pain points in terms of levels, it gets easier to imagine when your customer might stumble over an obstacle.
For example, a financial pain point at a single-interaction level could be when they get to the checkout and find out shipping is more expensive than they realised, a pain point that could be fixed by noting shipping costs on the product page.
Process pain points at a relationship level could mean that they can’t find your phone number or physical location. Speaking of, has your Google My Business entry been updated lately?
And a support pain point at a journey level could be felt as a lack of communication while waiting for their delivery. Simple updates keeping them in the loop would smooth over this pain point, and make the customer experience much better.
First of all, it’s a good idea to focus on what you already know about your customer’s pain points. If you don’t already have one, a customer avatar is a great place to start. Also known as a buyer persona, an avatar you create is a fictional perfect customer who you use as a proxy for your website copywriting and marketing. The better you understand your avatar, the better you can anticipate their needs.
There are three ways to start bringing your avatar to life:
- Use someone you know in real life
- Start with the customer avatar for a similar product or service
- Create an avatar from scratch
Imagine you’re marketing to just one person. Who are they? What kind of life do they lead? What are their habits, fears, goals, needs? If there’s only one kind of person who would ever buy your product or service, who are they?
To start, write down your customer avatar’s:
- Geographic location
- Socio-economic status
Finally, start filling in the nitty gritty details which ultimately power their purchasing choices: their job, their lifestyle, their day-to-day lives.
Now, it’s important to note that creating an avatar won’t reveal any new insights into your customer pain points. After all, you can only create one using the knowledge you already have. But, an avatar will give you a useful framework to identify what assumptions you are currently making about your customers. The next step is to conduct primary research to better understand their needs, and find out if any of those assumptions are wrong.
Running customer research
Here’s a scary statistic: according to Help Scout, for every customer who complains to a business, 26 other customers don’t voice their feelings. However, if they have a bad customer experience, 95% of customers share their gripes with others.
A way to get those numbers down is by asking customers for qualitative feedback through a survey, allowing you to preemptively solve those problems.
Response rates can soar above 85% when the respondents are motivated and the survey is well-executed (hint: offer them a reward and keep your questionnaire short and sweet). According to data, the fewer questions the better, so when you’re writing copy for your survey the questions should be well-chosen, simple, and straightforward.
Here are some great questions to ask your customer base:
- What do you spend the most time on per week that you’d love to simplify?
- What’s the biggest problem you’re currently trying to solve?
- What happens if you don’t find a solution?
- If the problem were solved, how would it benefit you and the company?
Qualitative research should also include checking your product or service’s reviews online, along with those of your competitors.
For the best results, pay attention to the two, three, and four star reviews. This means the customer was engaged and put thought into their review, whereas a five star or one star review suggests that they just submitted what came to mind.
Quantitative research can also shed valuable light on where your customers are experiencing pain points. For this, we need to dive into your analytics.
For example, take a look at your website or sales funnel: which pages have the biggest bounce rate? How’s your cart abandonment rate? If it’s too high, you can conclude that something about your cart is turning customers off.
Even if you don’t have any customers yet, or are wanting to target an entirely different type of customer, you can garner intelligence on buyers’ needs with solid keyword research.
You’ll find many different free and paid services such as Google Adword Keyword Tool, Wordtracker, SEMRush, and SEOBook, that are able to tell you the frequency and distribution of certain keywords, as well as related keywords to those searches. By looking up what your customers are searching, you’ll be able to find out what issues your customer base are facing.
Examples of pain in marketing
In 2015, researchers at Pew found that 76% of Americans watched TV via cable or satellite. Less than a decade later, that figure has now plunged to 56%. This staggering drop is down to so-called “cord-cutters” preferring to access content via streaming services like Netflix and Hulu.
But on-demand access is not the only reason they switched: cable and satellite costs a lot of money, and 69% of survey respondents cited price as their main motivator.
So, when YouTube launched their TV streaming service, they focused on this pain point in their website copy:
No one likes filling out forms. In fact, removing as little as one form field can boost conversions by as much as 26%. Jeremy Keith, founder of podcast site HuffDuffer, realised this and decided to switch up his registration form. By making it a more fun, Mad-Libs-style experience, he boosted conversions by up to 40%.
Buying a mattress is stressful enough–you compare, you shop around, you discuss with your partner, you part with quite a lot of money, and finally you unwrap it, leave it for 24 hours to plump up and only get to lay down on it after what seems like forever. But what if after all that, you were wrong? What if the mattress you chose is totally not right for you?
Casper realised this was a major support pain point for their customers which ultimately put them off buying. So in response, they offered a free trial, And while their website copywriting isn’t flashy or salesy, it certainly is reassuring.
And finally, Veeam Software did it right when they sent a survey to visitors to their product page asking what other information they’d like to see. Their response was that they wanted to see pricing: but there was a problem. Veeam Software couldn’t show their pricing because, as they sold software via partners, pricing could vary.
So, they decided to update their copy instead. On their product page was a call to action which read “Request a Quote”. By simply replacing this CTA with “Request pricing”, conversions went from .54% to 1.40%, equal to a 161.66% increase in click-through rate.
How to use pain points
Writing copy that addresses your customers’ pain points in your copy can be subtle, like Casper, or more on the nose, like YouTube TV.
Firstly, you need to choose which pain point to address. It’s not enough to tackle the first one that comes to mind, you need to make sure your targeted pain point ticks these three boxes:
- An emotional need, not a logical solution
- Concrete and clear, not abstract and vague
- Quantified through research, not anecdotal or guesswork
Let’s say your company is a ride service such as Uber, and you’ve identified one of your customer’s pain points as taxis taking too long to find and hail down. The logical solution to this pain point is that your service gets them to their destination quicker. But it would be better to target the customer’s emotional needs–such as seeing their loved ones quicker or getting to that meeting on time–through SEO writing..
Besides, customers don’t think in abstract marketing concepts like “safety”, “trust” or “convenience”. So addressing abstract pain points when writing copy in terms of your service being “more convenient” or “a product you can trust” won’t cut it.
How is your service or product more convenient? In what ways can they trust you? Better yet, can you put a number on that trust, such as with a Trustpilot review score?
And finally, those pain points need to be real, which is where customer research comes in. It’s important to focus on the pain point most of your customers have, not just one. It’s not true that if 3 people have the same pain point the other 97 will have it as well, so avoid this bias with thorough research which encompasses primary sources such as surveys and feedback forms, as well as keyword research and competitor analysis.
The PASO structure
Overall, what’s the simplest and fastest way to address a pain point in your website copywriting? PASO, of course.
This well-known copywriting structure utilises all the working parts of a customer pain point to make it easy to generate persuasive copy based on your customers’ actual needs.
PASO stands for Problem, Agitate, Solve, Objection. Here’s a step-by-step to writing PASO copy:
- Describe the problem. As we’ve covered, it’s critical that you understand both the logical and emotional sides of the pain points your customers face. By being specific about the logical circumstances, customers should feel like you’re tapping into the conversation going on in their head.
- Agitate until it hurts. Use the rule of “yes, and…” by now tapping into the emotional fallout of the logical problem. What makes it so painful? Are they missing out on quality time with their families, or money they could enjoy in other ways?
- Provide a solution. Reveal your product or service as a direct solution. You can go further into why it precisely fits their needs later on: PASO copy works best when it’s short and sweet.
- Give outcome OR squash objections. Cynical customers have been sold to a lot, and they’re wise to website copywriters’ ways. Immediately shoot down the next pain point they might think about, or show them the outcome of using your service.
Put it all together, and you get persuasive and optimised SEO writing such as this:
Finding the perfect hotel can be stressful (problem), and comparing and booking can eat into valuable vacation time (agitate). With Awesomehotels.com, you can compare and book online (solution) without the hassle (outcome).
The PASO framework is so flexible, you can make it super short:
Is eating healthier (problem) eating into your savings (agitate)? Use Veggiebox (solution), the cheapest fresh veg delivery in the UK (objection).
Or longer for more in-depth landing and sales pages:
Anyone with a small business experiences a drop in sales from time to time. It happens (problem). Conversions drop off for no reason, your analytics start to dive, and you search for the problem but there doesn’t seem to be one in sight. You feel overwhelmed, and hopeless (agitate). Being stuck isn’t good, so let’s get you out of that rut. My name’s Debra, and I’m the number one business coach in the north-east (solution). I’ve helped hundreds of small business owners just like you (objection) gain clarity, focus on what matters, and feel as engaged in their business as when they first started (outcome).
While the PASO formula gives you a fantastic way to structure your copy and makes optimising your website copywriting a lot easier, it’s only the first step to addressing pain points throughout your marketing.
For the most effective use of pain points, you should address them from start to finish: from product innovation, to branding, to aftercare and support.
By doing this, you’ll connect with your customers on a much deeper level, and help them solve their problems faster, more efficiently, and in a way that will win you their loyalty–hopefully for life. Best of luck!
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