Why understanding customer pain points leads to stronger copy

June 12, 2020


When you run a business, invent a product or create a service, it’s tempting to look on the sunny-side. It’s nice to believe everything will always run smoothly, people will love it and your service delivers everything someone could ever want and need. Sadly, the reality is different.

Bumps happen and people have an ability to find problems they need help with and questions they need answering. If they didn’t, marketing would be dead and businesses would vanish from lack of sales.

Problems that customers or prospects run into are called customer pain points. What I want to discuss here is how you can find and use pain points in your marketing copy. But first, let’s start with the basics.

What are customer pain points?

Pain points are the problems and obstacles customers and potential customers are experiencing. They’re looking for an answer to their problem. It’s up to businesses and marketers to understand the pain and solve that customer’s pain with the products and services they offer.



Pain point: A customer needs to hang a picture.

Solution: They need picture hooks and maybe a hammer.

Marketing message: We sell picture hooks and hammers.


Pain Point: A customer wants more website sales.

Solution: They need more of the right clients landing on their website.

Marketing message: We drive carefully targeted traffic to your site, increasing the chance of sales.


So, a pain point is the action a customer ultimately wants to do. It’s not the thing they need in order to complete the action they want to carry out.

6 types of pain points

Through the experience of working with clients and in my own business, I’ve identified six common customer pain points.

  1. Financial
  2. Risk and trust
  3. Ease and convenience
  4. Productivity and time
  5. Processes and journey
  6. Communication and support

1. Financial

Financial pain points are the need to save money or reduce spend to protect a budget.

2. Risk and trust

This is a hesitancy to invest because a customer struggles to see the value of what they’re paying for. They feel there’s risk involved, so need reassurance they can trust you, your company, product or service.

3. Ease and convenience

For service-based businesses, customers could do the thing you’re offering but probably not as well. To get a problem off their plate it’s easier to get someone else to do it. For product-based businesses, customers want your thing to be easy to use and fit in seamlessly with their life.

4.  Productivity and time

Customers want to use their time more productively. Time is being wasted when using their current product/system and so they’re searching for an alternative that returns better results.

5. Processes and journey

Internal company processes or user journeys aren’t smooth or working efficiently. As a result, money and sales are being lost.

6. Communication and support

Customers struggle to contact your business when they need support and help with your product/service. Or they can’t easily find the information they need to overcome their problem.

Customers may experience one or more of these pain points. Your next task is identifying which ones your customers and potential customers are battling. Only then can you work out how your products and services fix the problem.


Finding your customer’s pain points

Identifying which of the broad pain point categories a customer is facing is straight forward. For example, when a business owner comes to me and says, “I hate writing because it takes too long,” I understand they’re suffering from ease and convenience, and time and productivity pain points. But their reasons for hating it might be very different from another client who’s suffering the same. And this is where it gets interesting from a copywriting point of view.

Digging deeper to uncover what’s at the root of the pain is how you create copy that truly speaks to your audience. You find this out is through qualitative research.

Qualitative research is not data-led. It relies on conversations and personal experiences, so it’s emotive and variable. Making business decisions based on anecdotes and personal experience may sound unreliable, and compared to data-driven research it is, but marketing is connecting with people. Understanding what they’re thinking and feeling lets you solve their pains — and market to them — in the right way. It’s about marketing with empathy. They’re not just a dollar sign or an analytic, and they may need to say more than a rigid ‘yes or no’ survey lets them.

This is why uncovering what’s at the very root of your client’s pain involves qualitative research. Qualitative research includes:  

  • Face to face interviews
  • Reading email requests, queries and replies
  • Listening to recorded phone calls from your customer call team
  • Speaking with your sales team.

Analyse the conversations and feedback you have. Highlight anything that talks about why a customer needed the thing that you offer or any road blocks they came up against if they’re already a customer.

You should also put yourself in your clients’ position and go through the customer journey. Start right at the beginning by searching for the product/service. Then move through the journey taking note of what you find easy and what’s hard or confusing.

Using pain points in marketing

Knowing your customer’s pains helps you find the right cure and guides your messaging. For example, if the pain is financial and budget related point out your low prices, sale offers and payment plans. Wrap this in empathy writing — copy that relates to the emotive reasons for the pain — which you found out from your qualitative research.

Addressing pain points in your copy

When crafting your copy, speak right to the problem. A good place to start is with the headline. Going back to the picture hanging example, the headline can be as on-the-nose as, ‘You have beautiful family portraits that need hanging. We have the tools you need to do it.’

When it comes to establishing trust and easing the pain of risk, draw on case studies, customer reviews and properly researched stats and facts that relate to your industry. Once you’ve introduced your product/service, talk about the outcomes. How does your remedy improve their life?

What are your customers’ pain points?

Now you know what a pain point is and how to identify them. You also know how getting to the root cause of someone’s pain helps you write copy that speaks directly to the reader.

What client pain points do you already know about? If you’re unsure, how are you going to find out?

Of course, if you need a hand defining customer pain points before a copy refresh, I can help. Contact me.


Back to blog >



Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Greedy for more?


Room for one more in your inbox?

Luckily I'm five-foot-fuck-all, so I don't take up much space. Neither will my updates on upcoming availability, last-minute spaces and useful stuff to read while making a cuppa