Do you want to motivate your ideal customer to do business with you? Then you’ll need to create content that addresses their biggest pain points. Here’s how.
In Robert Cialdini’s book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, he tells the story of researchers who conducted a study where they sent two different ads to homeowners in the same neighborhood.
One ad said, “if you insulate your home fully, you’ll save 50 cents every day.”
The other said, “if you don’t insulate your home fully, you’ll lose 50 cents every day.”
When all was said and done, the “loss language” people were 150% more likely to insulate their house than the other group.
Note: the savings didn’t change. The only difference was that when the researchers tried to persuade via pain (the loss of money) vs. pleasure (the gain of money), they were much more successful.
More often than not, people are motivated by fear of loss. We’re wired to avoid pain even more than to gain pleasure, with few exceptions.
If you want to attract and convert your ideal customers, you’ll need to create content that addresses their biggest pain points, and more often than not, solves them. If people aren’t experiencing pain–physical, emotional, or spiritual–chances are they won’t be motivated to switch providers or choose your services.
How to Uncover Pain Points
One of the easiest ways to uncover your ideal customers’ pain points is by asking your current customers.
Whether through a one-on-one interview, or by sending out surveys to your customer base, ask them about their biggest challenges. Chances are, if you’ve been in business for any length of time, you already have a decent idea of what your customers struggle with, and you can frame these into questions.
- What’s your biggest challenge with losing weight?
- If you could change one thing about the refinance process, what would it be?
- Where do you lose the most time or money in your business?
You can also generate some ideas by looking at your competitors’ marketing material. What do they talk about on their website? At their blog? What was their last newsletter all about?
Now, use your best judgment. They may be doing a great job of articulating the biggest pain points of your shared marketplace, or they may be completely self-focused. And in no case should you be stealing their content! You have your own perspective, your own experience, and your own methodology for solving your customers’ pain points.
Whatever ideas you glean from your competition, make the answers your own.
See if you can find some similar themes. Do certain turns of phrase, or specific topics keep resurfacing? Are people talking about “home values,” “retirement plans,” or “nest eggs?”
Do keyword research to make sure you’re using your customers’ language, and not your own. Use a tool like Google Adwords Keyword Tool to see if people are actually searching for these phrases, or if there are better, more popular search terms.
You’re looking for keyword phrases that are popular (have high search volume), but perhaps aren’t the most competitive terms (from other websites). In this day and age, with most businesses realizing how important SEO (search engine optimization) is, those terms are few and far between. It’s probably more important to find words that have a decent search volume. What is “decent” may depend on your industry.
Creating Content Around Pain Points
Once you’ve identified the keywords you want to target, it’s time to get to work on creating content.
For articles and blog posts, start with a keyword-rich title and lead with your keyword phrase if possible. Sometimes a good turn of phrase might make the title more compelling, however, so try and find a balance.
Let’s say that you wanted to create an article or blog post that focused on the high cost of higher education. Your research determined that “saving money for college” and “college costs” both had high search volume. You might create a title like:
- College Costs: How Much Does an Ivy League Education Cost?
- Saving Money for College: A Guide for Freaked Out Parents (I especially like this one!)
- The Ultimate Guide to Cutting College Costs
- 101 Ways to Save Money for College
and so on.
While a good title is critical to your search engine visibility, it can’t stand on its own. It needs to be supported by good copy. Generally try and work your keywords into your article header, the first paragraph of the article, and a few more times within the body of the article as well.
You can use a similar approach for email newsletters, but you don’t need to worry about SEO, unless you’re also posting this article to your website. The biggest change I’d make here is make sure that your email subject line is so compelling your subscriber couldn’t help but open it.
For videos, you’ll want to follow some of the same guidelines:
- While recording your video, make sure you put your keywords into your narrative. YouTube, at least, is listening and transcribing your audio. This can help your YouTube visibility.
- Before uploading your video to YouTube or other video sharing site, change the file name to something that includes your keywords, i.e., College-Costs.mov
- While your video is uploading, give it a keyword-rich title like you did for your blog post.
- Next, give it a keyword-rich description. Many people just use one or two sentences at most to describe your video, but you can put paragraphs of relevant copy in if you wish. And at many video-sharing sites, any links you include in the description are clickable, meaning it’s easy to drive traffic back to your website.
- Finally, put your keywords and related keywords into the tag fields.
If you’re active on social media you can use your platforms to promote your new content to your fans and followers. Alternatively, you can create content just for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Pinterest as a way of engaging your audience and starting a discussion.
Often people tell me they’re worried that they’re giving away their best “stuff” when they share it in a blog post, video or email newsletter. If your best stuff can be summed up in 500 words or a two-minute video, well, then you may have some bigger problems with your business that you’ll need to confront.
Don’t worry. Over share. Because chances are your competition is already out there sharing your “best stuff.” The only thing you can do is share it from your perspective, attracting the people who appreciate and understand your approach to solving their problems.
Turning Prospects into Customers
Ultimately, you’re going to want to turn your readers and viewers into paying customers. If you’re not providing high-quality content that helps them solve their problems, you’ll never convince them to do business with you.
Assuming you are providing that top-notch content, the next step might be asking for a “small yes.” A small yes may be getting them to sign up for an email newsletter, downloading a white paper (with an email registration…’natch) or filling out a contact form for a free consultation.
The trick is to make sure that every piece of pain-point-prose has one or more calls to action. A call to action is where you help someone by guiding them to the next step of solving their problem, whether it’s buying a product, signing up for a webinar, or picking up the phone.
You’ll first want to identify the biggest pain points your ideal customers suffer from. You can do this through interviews, conversations and surveys. Use that information along with Google’s Adword Keyword Tool to identify the best, most effective keywords for your content creation.
Whichever platforms you’re active on, you’ll want to craft the content for maximum effect, whether that’s to get found on search engines or start a conversation.
Whatever platform you use, make sure that you include calls to action that help guide your prospect to the next logical step where you can help them. By providing a road map to success, you can greatly increase your conversion rates.
Pricking Your Pain Points
I am blogging on behalf of Visa Business and received compensation for my time from Visa for sharing my views in this post, but the views expressed here are solely mine, not Visa’s. Visit http://facebook.com/visasmallbiz to take a look at the reinvented Facebook Page: Well Sourced by Visa Business. The Page serves as a space where small business owners can access educational resources, read success stories from other business owners, engage with peers, and find tips to help businesses run more efficiently. Every month, the Page will introduce a new theme that will focus on a topic important to a small business owner’s success. For additional tips and advice, and information about Visa’s small business solutions, follow @VisaSmallBiz and visit http://visa.com/business.