5 Ways to Research Customer Pain Points
As a ghostwriter, I work with the occasional client who expects me to write them amazing copy that converts - just like that. But, without any insights or information about their business or customers, that task is next to impossible.
That's because great marketing copy starts with knowing your customers. Who are they? What makes them tick? What is a problem they have that your products or services will solve?
A seasoned marketing writer will address these problems and explain in very plain language (not frilly!) how your business can help. Note: creative, unique, and punny taglines will not sell your products on their own! So, let’s stop focusing on those and focus instead on customer pain points first. The taglines will come later, I promise!
Get to Know Your Customers
A successful business understands many things about its customers.
To know your customers, you must first understand what drives them to your business and what will trigger them to act. What problem are they trying to solve?
With this information, you can work backward to create engaging marketing messages that speak to them, not at them.
How do you collect this information?
Well, you could hire someone to research about your customers for you. But if you have a smaller business with a limited budget, that may not be feasible. (Research companies can cost a pretty penny!)
Or, you can keep reading this blog and learn about five easy ways to understand your customer's pain points.
Collecting Customer Research
When it’s time to gather customer research to identify pain points, consider where you can get a quick win. Not all these methods may work if your company is just starting out. But, as your interactions grow over time, you should continue to revise your marketing strategy with what you learn.
Here are five ways to research customer pain points:
Listen to customer feedback
Research industry trends and competitors
Analyze customer data
Track customer interactions
Let’s dig deeper into each one of these.
Listen to Your Customers
If you’re curious to know what’s keeping customers up at night, just ask them. Most people are willing to discuss the things bugging them. This is because they would appreciate a solution to their problem. Is there anything you can offer?
I understand that listening to your customers may be more of a challenge if you don’t actually have any customers yet. So, in that case, I would suggest turning your attention to social channels and groups. Put your ear to the ground and see what your future customers are talking about.
Research Industry Trends and Competitors
Read about the topics being discussed in your industry, especially by the competition. What are they writing blogs, social media, and ebooks about? The topics they've chosen to write about probably address a customer pain point they’ve identified.
Another great research tool is Google. What’s trending in your industry? What questions are people asking? Google can help you discover the solutions people are looking for.
“How do I keep my dog off of the kitchen table?”
“Storage for too many seasonal decorations”
These are legitimate searches I have typed into Google. Does anyone want to identify the pain points here? Any solutions for me?! 🙂
The survey is a tried and true method of gathering direct feedback from customers about their experiences and needs. On the survey, ask only questions that will solicit quality feedback, not just yes or no answers. By rule, don't ask a question if you will learn nothing from the answer.
You can email the survey, post it on your website, have your customer service team solicit survey feedback, or post it on social media. Whichever method you use to communicate with your customers will work just fine.
If you don’t have enough customers to survey yet, consider polling on social media or offering a small stipend ($5 Starbucks gift card) for a survey response. Hopefully, you can collect enough information to send you along in the right direction.
Analyze Customer Data
If you’ve been collecting customer data, you’re sitting on a gold mine of information. Use it to identify customer behaviors and preferences and to better understand pain points.
For instance, if women from Des Moines, Iowa, purchase warm wool socks in October, their feet must get cold around that time. So, it might be a good idea to start emailing them in October about other cold-weather gear you sell. Being cold in October is a pain point.
Or, if you notice that women from Des Moines start buying bathing suits in January, but you know it’s cold in Iowa in January, then you can assume that they are either going on vacation somewhere warm or they’re already thinking about warmer weather. What could you promote to help with the pain of cold weather in Iowa?
Your email subject line could be, “Dreaming of someplace warmer? 🌴☀️” That would be a great way to address what you know about their pain of being too cold.
Track Customer Interactions
It’s always a good idea to track customer response once they’ve received and used your product. Do they return it within days? How is your product reviewed online? Do customer service calls increase? These are helpful insights for a better understanding if your marketing addresses the right pain points. Does your product solve the problem you say it does?
I know no one likes a negative review, but honest feedback can be very helpful. The faster you address the complaint by adjusting your product or the way you sell it, the more people you can help solve their problems in the future.
...And, when you solve someone’s problems, they will tell others about how your business helped them. And this will lead to more sales down the road - yay!
Once you’ve identified your customer’s pain points, use the collected information to write some great marketing messages. I gave a few examples above, but there are many different ways to do this. The most important thing to remember is that you are speaking to your customers and their pain points first and selling products second. You can't start with the solution before discussing the problem - it doesn’t work that way.
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