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Common Customer Pain Points

Do you know the common customer pain points that you solve for your business?

Suppose you choose to go hiking with your friends over the weekend.

As you’re walking, you notice that there’s a pebble in your shoe.

Instead of removing it immediately, you continue to walk. You carry on with your hike for another 2 uncomfortable hours when finally you decide to stop and remove the pebble.

A few minutes later, you feel a deep EXCRUCIATING pain and you suddenly start screaming. A stinging nettle has stung you!

The entire hiking group stops, everyone running around wondering how they can help you. It’s an emergency, and you can hardly move.

Then suddenly someone comes up with a stinging nettle cream that can stop the pain IMMEDIATELY. You would do anything to get your hands on it, right?

The two customer pain points

Erica Mackay, otherwise known as “The marketing detective,” often uses this analogy to explain the concept of pain points, and how you can use them to get more people to buy your product.

A pain point is a persistent or recurring problem (as with a product or service) that frequently inconveniences or annoys customers.

From the customer pain point examples, there are two kinds of pain:

1. The pebble in the shoe

The pebble in the shoe is a slight irritation. It is uncomfortable, but you can withstand it. 

So what do you do? You keep going, acting like everything is okay. The annoyance remains at the back of your mind and you can even push it a little longer. 

Then one day, you wake up and can’t stand it anymore. So you decide to get rid of the pebble.

How do you market for this kind of pain point?

You raise awareness about it. Keep on educating people about it and repeat the consequences of ignoring it.

Be the person or brand that the client will think of first when they choose to deal with it.

It often blows my mind how subtle and yet effective advertising is. If your target audience is constantly seeing your brand, they will remember you the minute they choose to get rid of the pebble in the shoe.

2. The stinging nettle

The stinging nettle is easier to market to.

It’s when your customer is in serious pain and desperate for a solution. They don’t have the luxury of time because they need a fix IMMEDIATELY.

In many instances, the customer will accept whoever comes to mind first. You want to make sure that your business is the one they think of first.

When you are lucky enough to sell a product that solves this kind of pain point, selling is much easier. All you need to do is to find that person, and they will run your way as soon as they can.

In short, this pain point can be a goldmine for your business.

Why you need to understand your customer pain points

Theodore Levitt (a Harvard economist) often said that ‘People don’t buy a quarter-inch drill. They buy a quarter-inch hole.’ In other words, people don’t buy products or services, they buy solutions to their problems or their pain points.

If you don’t know what problems your audience has or how you’re helping solve these problems, you might find it difficult to convince anyone to buy from you.

Warning though, when doing this, try not to get too high off of your product’s features. No one cares about features.

Instead, address your audience’s problems, their “pain points” by articulating how your product or service would benefit them.

To help you understand just how confusing (and boring) listing of features can be, imagine you’re looking for a web hosting service and you come across these two websites:

The first says:

‘Our software can handle multiple cores of data at the same time, which means during increased loading times, your server will be stable.’

and the second says:

‘Even if your site gets featured on the front page of The BBC and brings in 200,000 visits an hour… your site won’t go down.’

I’ll take 2 please. And so will you. Because we have absolutely no idea what is going on in 1 or how it can help us.

Steve Blank, a former Google employee, devised the following method for getting your message straight. We love it:

We help X do Y by doing Z.

That’s it, simple huh… Start with your X – That’s your audience or avatar, Your avatar’s challenge (Y) and your Z – which is your solution.

4 ways to identify your pain points

We’ve seen that it’s necessary to identify your pain points. It can inform your sales and marketing strategies as well as get more people to listen to you.

But just how do you do that?

Here are 4 ways you can identify them:

1. Read reviews

The best place to know your customer’s pain points is through the reviews.

Of course nobody likes a bad review, but it can turn out to be a blessing in disguise. 

When taken the right way, bad reviews help you to see the gaps in your business offering, perfect them, and use them to solve similar issues.

You could also look at your competitors’ reviews and use these to inform your customer pain points.

Even so, good reviews can also help you identify pain points. Often, the customer will explain the struggle they had before they came to you, and how you helped them move past it.

2. Conduct surveys

When was the last time you asked your clients for feedback on your work?

Surveys help you to see how your products have benefitted your clients and how they’ve fallen back on them.

Ask short, useful, and relevant questions. Where possible, use multiple-choice questions to make the process quicker for your audience.

If you can, make the surveys anonymous because then people can be 100% honest with you.

3. Learn from your sales team

No one is closer to your customers than your sales team. They interact with the customers very often, and they can teach you an awful lot. Every time a salesperson is unable to close a sale, it’s because there’s a pain point that you can’t solve.

For example, for a person bitten by a stinging nettle, the pain point is that they want the solution immediately. How can you then tailor your product to solve that particular issue in no time?

4. Conduct marketing research

Market research allows you to see how your competitors are marketing their products and services to the same target consumers.

In the process, you may identify some new pain points which you had not initially thought about.

This will in the long run help you build up on your existing marketing strategy or even create a new one altogether.


People don’t buy products, they buy solutions. And you need to make sure to communicate the problems and solutions your business offers. That’s where pain points come in. They can be the pathway to success in your business.

The four ways to identify a pain point are:

  1. Read reviews
  2. Conduct surveys
  3. Learn from your sales team
  4. Conduct marketing research

We’ve got a handy printout you can download to help you get clear on your message which you can find here.

If you’d like some support in creating your amazing business, get in touch. At Outside ideas we’re on a mission to help people and businesses grow.

Onwards and upwards my friend.


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