Pain Points: Find Them and Use Them to Write Effective Copy

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Rule number one of any communication: Know your audience. When you’re writing persuasive copy, especially to potential customers, that rule can be expanded: Know your audience and their pain points.

The web is full of inward-focused websites. They talk about the company and its founder and its history. Maybe they update a page with the specifications on a latest product offering or they talk about an award they won.

All of this might be interesting and relevant and have a place somewhere, but here’s the cold, hard truth about first-time visitors to a company’s website: They don’t care.

They care about themselves.

Copywriters need to write in a way that says, “We know you. We care about what you care about. We understand your problems.”

When readers sense this on-your-side camaraderie, they nod along, saying, “Yes! That’s exactly how I feel!” They understand! They get it!”

Do this well with your messaging and readers will stick with the copy all the way through to the solution.

What Are Pain Points?

A pain point is the underlying need that drives someone to seek a new product or service. Copy is most effective when it accurately identifies the customer’s pain point and then offers a solution for it.

How Can You Uncover Pain Points?

Start with your own common sense. Then dig deeper. Don’t trust yourself just yet, especially if you’re writing for an unfamiliar industry.

  • Ask the client. Of course this is step one. What do they see as the customers’ primary motivation for seeking them out?

  • Conduct customer surveys. Ask past customers what motivated them to look for the service. Try to get specifics from them. What was the last straw? What problems did this issue cause in the office or their personal life? Neil Patel has more on knowing your customer.

  • Read online reviews. When describing their rants and raves on a particular product, people (often unknowingly) provide excellent insight into their pain points. “Before I bought this widget, my life was a wreck and here’s why. . . .”

  • Search Reddit and Quora. People turn to the web for questions on everything. Search for threads on your targeted industry and find out what people are talking about, complaining about, or looking for answers to.

  • Search industry blogs. Again, what are people talking about? What problems are competitors trying to fix? Read the customer comments on high-traffic posts.

  • Ask the customers, “Why”? If you can talk face to face with a customer, try asking repeated "why" questions. It may seem silly, but it’s very effective at uncovering true pain points:

Q: Why are you looking for braces?

A: Because I want my teeth straightened.

Q: Why do you want your teeth straightened?

A: Because I don’t like people seeing my crooked teeth when I smile.

Q: Why don’t you like that?

A: Because it’s embarrassing.

Ah! Crooked teeth isn’t really the pain point. Lack of confidence is.

This slideshow from Juliana Crispo, founder of Startup Sales Bootcamp, can help in face-to-face conversations when customers can’t identify pain points on their own.

How Can You Use Pain Points in Your Copy?

People buy from people they trust. Use your pain point research to write directly to your customers’ needs—in your client’s voice—and you’ll build that trust.

Here are writing tips once you’ve uncovered the pain points:

  • Start strong. Open your copy with your audience’s challenges. Whether you’re writing an email or a web page, start with the reason they sought you out in the first place. Be specific.

  • Use their language. Pull exact phrases from the research you did and use it in your copy.

  • Use the P-A-S formula. Describe the problem (P), so the reader knows you understand. Then Agitate (A) the problem. Use emotion to remind the readers just how bad it is. Then provide your solution (S).

  • Paint a picture. Describe what the customer’s life can be like once this problem is solved. Again, use their own language where appropriate.


Your customer isn't really looking for braces so they can straighten their teeth. They want braces so they can look good and feel confident. Understanding your customer's deep pain point is what will get your audience reading until the end of your copy.

Copywriters at will help you to research your customers and write effective copy that will have your readers saying, "Yes! They understand!" Book a call to begin a conversation with us today.

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