How do you research the pain points of your target audience, so that you can understand their pains as if you were one of them? How do you relate to them in such a way that they'll trust you and do business with you?
Research is the first step that all professional copywriters should take to create compelling and relatable content. Without in-depth research, the content will miss the mark and it will not speak directly to the target audience.
The article will be nothing more than an interesting essay that sparks no urgency nor necessity for the target audience to read. Doing in-depth research into the pain points of your target audience is like reading the transcript of a counseling session.
Imagine being privy to a counselor’s notes and reading the exact pain points of a patient named Tom, without having to step into a counseling room. What if you could use Tom's pains, struggles, and frustrations to help more people in his situation? What if you could offer solutions to other Toms in the world, through the power of your online content?
These “What ifs” are possible if you deep dive into the research, to understand the pains of your target audience, the same way a counselor understands their patients. The aim is to get into the audience’s pains to understand them so well that the solutions you offer are on point and relatable to them.
Your content will leave them wondering, “How did they know that?” or “Can they read my mind?" To get reactions like these from your audience, you first need to do your research. Let's take a closer look at why you need to know your audience's pain points, and how you can find their pains.
Why do you need to know what is causing your audience pain? The answer is really quite simple. According to business influencer Dan Lok, "The amount of money you make is in direct proportion to how deep you understand the problems of your target market."
Customers don’t care what products or services you offer if they don’t see how your product or service can help them to solve their problems. If you cannot help your target audience solve their pains, you can‘t close the sale and there will be no revenue to generate.
It’s as simple as no pain, no sale.
The pain points faced by your target audience can be as diverse as the audience themselves.
The awareness levels to their pains might vary from the audience being unaware of their pains to desperately looking for solutions.
Here are 5 categories of pain points your target audience may face:
Regardless of the size of the business, every business owner will experience different degrees of financial pains.
The current service provider they are using is no longer cost-effective.
Capital is dwindling as it has taken longer than expected to produce results and be profitable.
Limited funds to scale the business.
Insufficient knowledge in a new niche to save costs while running the business.
The growth rate of the business is slow because of low productivity or low worker skill level.
Friction when closing sales affects productivity and sales targets.
More efficient solutions to increase the productivity and accountability of workers and management staff.
An inefficient internal sales process can lower productivity.
The current process may not be customer-centered or user-friendly, making it complicated for customers to complete their sales.
A need to simplify complicated operational processes while maintaining high standards.
Unable to give customers the support promised because of staff shortage.
The technical support staff is untrained and outdated in their skill set.
Long wait time for customers to speak to a customer service person.
Shortage of reliable information or tutorials for a niche.
Steep learning curve to implement newly acquired skills.
Once you are aware of the different categories of pain points your target audience could face, you will be more aware of them when you start your research.
You may even notice a pattern, or find similar pains experienced by the same industries and demographics.
The best way to verify real problems is to hear them from the horse’s mouth.
A direct way is for you to find an unbiased third party to interview your target audience. Contact current and past customers to get feedback on the products or services they purchased.
Ask them targeted questions that will encourage them to give their frank opinions. Find out why current customers have remained loyal, what they liked about your company, and what suggestions they have to help you serve them better.
Former customers who didn’t have a good experience or had unsatisfactory results won’t hesitate to share their grievances with you either.
These interviews can give invaluable insights into the customer’s pain points, which will be useful information for content creation. You could get your sales team to call current and past customers. Or, you can adopt an indirect approach like conducting surveys on your website or emailing feedback forms or surveys to your subscribers.
Regardless of whether you conduct the interviews yourself or through a company survey, optimize the effort to collect as much data as possible.
Ask targeted questions such as:
What motivated you to use our product or service in the first place?
What problem or challenge were you trying to solve then?
Can you share 3 ways in which our product or service has helped you?
Can you suggest ways for us to improve our service or product to better serve you?
Will you recommend our product or service to your relatives and friends?
Another great way to get information on the pain points of the target audience is by talking to the sales team or customer service team of your company.
Since they are front-facing staff who have dealt with dissatisfied customers, ask them what types of complaints they often received from customers.
The questions you could ask are:
What are the common pain points brought up by the customers?
What was the positive or negative feedback given for the product or service?
Was there a comparison made between your product or service with the competitors?
Did the customer give suggestions on how to improve your product or service?
Online forums in a niche can offer unfiltered discussions of the common problems faced by the group.
You can take part in these discussion groups, and read Facebook posts while adding value to the group by sharing your opinions or giving comments on posts to build trust.
A forum or a Facebook group is a resourceful place to get real-life views and honest conversations that your target audience is having with others.
Online reviews can have a powerful impact on the decisions of customers. Comments and reviews, whether they are positive or negative, give you a glimpse of the public’s opinions of the products or services they are using now or in the past.
Comments left on social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, Quora, Reddit, and blogs are windows to the thoughts and opinions of your target audience. Websites of competitors and other high profile sites within the same niche let you compare what’s being offered by competitors and learn what similar problems their audience faces.
Before purchasing something new, the average consumer reads at least 10 reviews before they develop trust in the product or service they are reviewing. They need the social proof available through social media platforms to give them the assurance that they are making the right decision.
There are many websites providing reviews and comparisons for different products or services online. Be aware of fake customer reviews. Authenticate the profile of the contributors and verify that the information is true from a few credible websites.
Positive comments or reviews are a good indicator that the customer is happy. They are satisfied with the good quality of the products or the high level of service they are receiving.
There is no need to fear negative comments as they are like rearview mirrors to a business. Negative comments can help the company make improvements to gain back the trust of its customers.
These comments and reviews are like gold to content creators because the target audience has been explicit in expressing their pains and problems.
So write content to address their problems or offer options and solutions to your audience and they will see you as the authority in the niche.
Compared to other research methods mentioned above, this method is the most hands-off method of how you can research the pain points of your target audience.
Use cold facts and analytics to research as opposed to hearing public opinions. Google is the most powerful tool there ever was to solve problems. From the sheer number of google searches made daily, Google has amassed staggering data and insights into any pain points faced by consumers in any niche.
So checking the search volume of a keyword phrase on the pain points will give you an idea of what the target audience is searching for on Google.
Attending industry conferences and trade fairs are great ways to research for B2B audiences.
They offer opportunities for you to have conversations with both vendors and customers under one roof.
Vendors can give their views on the products, services, or industry they represent while customers can give you useful feedback.
You can gather lots of insights by attending workshops conducted by industry experts, breakout group discussions, or question-and-answer sessions.
Don't forget to take copious notes.
There isn't a "magic pill" you can take to make you omniscient to the pain points of the target audience without doing extensive research. Research the pain points of your target audience and offer them the much needed and much sought after solution through your content.
If you would like some professional help with your research, contact us. We have copywriters experienced with content strategy. The more pains we help you solve, the more revenue we can help you generate.
Mary Neoh is passionate about writing which eventually led to copywriting. She believes in personal development and wants to encourage especially women and teenagers to continually develop themselves through her writing. Her background is in education and real estate. In her free time, she enjoys scrapbooking and playing the piano. She is also a proud mother of 3 young adult children.Hire Mary