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A Guide to Identifying Customer Pain Points

Written by epicnine

So, you’re working on identifying customer pain points.

You have a great product. But how do you identify the right customers for your product and what is the best way to reach them? You know they are out there – and you are ready to help.

Nailing down your customer’s pain points can assist in identifying these individuals and shed light on how to market your product or service to these individuals in a way that will resonate and invoke action. These customers have been waiting for your product – they need the services you offer, because your product and service solves a problem they have had for some time.

Identifying your customer pain points is a critical step in the marketing strategy process. It starts by finding these points, and designing your marketing campaign around those needs.

Furthermore, knowing these points can help your sales team qualify customers and/or businesses because your team can be confident that your product meets a known need. You can also segment leads based upon the various pain points and create specific content and sales strategies based upon each pain.

Why go through this process?

Sozial Monster states that identifying customer pain points will lead to customers working with you versus your competitors for three important reasons:

  1. You will understand their pain points much better than your competitors.
  2. They will trust that you can help them solve their issue quickly and easily.
  3. You will speak in terms they understand but much more in the “language” they understand.

Step-One: Talk to Your Current Customers and Really Listen

When you approach your customer, do not make assumptions or come to the table with preconceived notions about your customer’s pain points. Beginning with a clear and open mind will allow you to uncover the root issue and you will be more apt to ask questions that will lead you to that issue.

While there are no set of right questions you can ask, you can begin with your current customers and proceed keeping these things in mind:

  • Ask open-ended questions. For example, don’t ask “Don’t you like the great aspects of this design?”. Instead ask, “What do you think about this design?” or “How do you feel about this design?”.
  • Ask your customers who they inherently are, ask for in-depth details about what they do, and in-depth details about the solutions they provide to their customers.
  • Ask follow-up questions to find out more.
  • Develop real, in-depth conversations and let your customer talk for as long as possible. Get into the practice of not interrupting. The more they talk, more will be revealed.

Make it a habit of conducting these sorts of interviews with your customers to take advantage of any given opportunities as they arise.

Step-Two: Discover What Pain Your Customers are Having and ask the 5 Whys

Most businesses have similar surface level problems. They need more business, are having a hard time growing, need help streamlining processes, etc. But usually the root of the problem is very different. Copy Tactics suggests finding out that surface level issue and asking ‘why’ five times.

For example…

  • Customer: I need more customers so I can grow my bottom line.
  • You: But why do you need to grow your bottom line?
  • Customer: Because we have new equipment we need to purchase.
  • You: Why do you need to purchase new equipment?
  • Customer: New equipment will allow us produce faster and our employees are really
  • taxed with the hours we are asking them to work.
  • You: Why does it matter if your employees work long hours?
  • Customer: They have families and they are good people and we want to keep them on
  • staff.

And the conversation will continue until you get to the heart of the issue.

If speaking to your customers about these issues is not feasible, conduct a hypothetical analysis, put yourself in your customer’s shoes, and work to identify possible pain points. But it is best to keep the conversation real, with actual customers.

Step Three: Find Out What Motivates Your Customers

Ask your customer…

  • What gets them out of bed in the morning and keeps them going?
  • Ask why until you get to the underlying need.
  • Compare this to the pain points you discovered earlier.
  • Find a way to relate to your customer, and let them know you relate.

Step Four: Start with the Pain Point that Hurts the Worst

How can your product take away this pain? What is the value attached to having this pain removed? Center your marketing campaign strategy around the most disruptive pain point. Why should you do this? Leaving one pain point unresolved will more than likely lead to another surfacing. For example, the before-mentioned pain point of needing new equipment might lead to employee burnout, sleepless nights for management, etc.

Your campaign should communicate how your product or service solves the most devastating pain point and how your service or product will give your customers exactly what they have been searching for.

In addition, you can also identify the common universal pain point that all of your customers share and provide your product or service solution across the board. This is an easy way to make all of your customers happy.

Other Methods to Identifying Customer Pain Points: Keyword Research

What are your customers searching for on the internet? Answer: solutions to their pain points.

There are several free and paid services that allows you to search for what others are searching for on the internet. Many will also tell you how often those searches are being made.

Some of the free services include:
Google Adwords Keyword Tool

This is extremely useful and we are fortunate to have such tools as our disposal because if we know what our customers are searching for, we can identify the needs they have, and we can position our services or products to best suit those needs.

Copy Tactics suggests the following in conducting your keyword search:

  • Search for keywords and phrases related to your industry (typically 1-3 words in length).
  • Fire up an excel spreadsheet and record the top searched keywords and how often they’re searched for.
  • Don’t worry too much about exact numbers. Use your results to get a relative idea of what is being searched for most often. Those are your key pain points.
  • Choose 4-6 keywords or phrases to target in your content marketing strategy.
  • Take note of how these keywords relate to your products and services.

In conclusion…

Don’t assume, start with an open mind, and ask open-ended questions to find out the areas of their work and lives in which your product or service could provide a solution. Doing this will lead to a greater understanding of your customers and consequently will lead those customers to you versus your competition.

Use the five ‘whys’ in determining the root cause of the problem and to find what motivates your customer. Begin a keyword search on your customers to identify the questions they need answering. Find the loudest, most destructive pain and create a marketing campaign that illustrates how your product or service is the solution.

Pain points are a very important part of the marketing process and one you should not skip. You are providing value by listening to your customers and seeking to align your products and services with those customers needs. Furthermore, your sale strategy will be more focused if you use this technique to qualify businesses and individuals that actually need your product and service.

For a more in-depth study of this process, Hubspot has a great overview for business to business pain points. For an overview on customer pain points, Sozial Monster provides a step-by-step guide with more information.

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