This guest column is authored by entrepreneur & author, Sarah Williams
Running a business means solving other people’s problems. The more specific pains you can find and the better solutions you can create for them, the more successful your business is.
In this article, you will learn how to discover a list of pain points and dig deeper into your findings to analyze them from different vantage points.
Here are some questions to get you started:
- What is really causing the pain?
- If a solution already exists, why don’t people know about it?
- If it doesn’t exist, why not? Could it be that someone else tried it before and found it unprofitable?
- What is their biggest hesitation/objection in not buying right now?
- How often do they crave for a solution?
- What would make them pay for a solution right now?
You need to find out how strong of a pain point this is. Is it just a slight frustration or is it a serious problem that people will spend money to have it resolved? Keep in mind, people don’t buy products, they buy better versions of themselves.
In business, there is a never-ending dance between you and the customer, finding the common ground where the two parties can be brought together in profitable “union”.
The Life-Force 8 Filter
According to the popular book on advertising , Cashvertising, there are 8 very basic human needs – Called “Life Force 8” – that are hard-wired into each one of us:
1) Survival, enjoyment of life, life extension.
2) Enjoyment of food and beverages.
3) Freedom from fear, pain, and danger.
4) Sexual companionship.
5) Comfortable living conditions.
6) To be superior, winning, keeping up with the Joneses.
7) Care and protection of loved ones.
8) Social approval.
These aren’t wants – these are deeply rooted needs that make people do the craziest things to fulfill them. We don’t just want an iPhone or a designer handbag – we buy it because we hate being left out, we want to be hip, to keep up with the Joneses.
No one wants to be average, everyone wants to one up the rest of society. Everyone wants to be admired and respected. The more you see the world though these 8 filters, the higher the chances to come up with some excellent ideas.
So take everything you know about your customers and explore different angles of addressing their pain points. The easiest way to do this is to simply do a “brain dump” exercise and pour everything down on paper.
Write down your niche and major pain point and then brainstorm some possible solutions. Possible angles:
- Write down 5 reasons for the customers’ pain point.
- Write down 5 reasons for why they haven’t solved the problem yet
- Write down 5 situations where they would pay for a solution today.
- Find 5 other products or companies that are doing exactly what your initial idea is. If you can’t find any, look harder.
The scope of doing a brain-dumping exercise is to have as many ideas down on paper as possible. Don’t judge your ideas, just allow them to come out – you can sort through them later.
Create Your Customer Avatar
The deeper you dive into your market, the better you can explore their pain points and crate even better and more relevant solutions for them.
Your potential customer is not anyone and everyone within your niche, but a narrower slice of your niche who has a very specific problem (e.g. travel writers who need to learn about managing their money on the road, accountants who want to start their own freelance business, yoga practitioners who want to create online courses for their audience, etc.).
For this reason, you need to know exactly who you are talking to. Your need a customer avatar. This avatar is a fictional character that contains the core attributes of your ideal customer – personality, values, opinions, attitudes, interests, lifestyle, etc. Make this avatar as real as possible and find as many reasons as possible as to why someone would buy from you.
Here are some critical questions to help you build your avatar:
- What is their life’s story? Create an average day for your custom avatar.
- Age, gender, relationship status, education, household income.
- What are their three biggest fears or frustrations in this area?
- What about this problem keeps them up at night?
- How important is this for them to solve it right now?
- Have they ever paid for a product/service like this before?
- If so, what did they pay for products/services like this?
- What did they like best about it?
- What’s a dream solution for them in this area?
- How can your product make their life better?
- What questions/objections do they have?
- What blogs, forums, Facebook pages do they read?
- What events do they hang out at?
- Find them online in forums, blogs, groups, etc.
With a detailed customer avatar you can now create your marketing strategy a lot more efficiently.
Instead of talking to everybody you can start addressing someone specific. You’ll be able to talk to them in a language they understand, using platforms that they use and address the specific issues or beliefs they have.
Creating your avatar will also help you with product development, as you’ll be able to more accurately tailor the solution in a way that genuinely resonates with your customers.
The essence of business is to come up with solutions to people’s problems. The bigger the problem, the more eager people are to pay for a solution. So never stop looking for ways to increase people’s pleasure, status and vanity.
Search beneath the surface for hidden clues: read people’s comments on blogs and social media, Quora questions and comments and listen to what people are saying, what they wish they’d find in products and services.
Read both the positive & negative reviews on different online marketplaces or forums, and check out your competition’s products and services and make a list of all the things missing from top-selling products. These are your opportunities to fill in the gaps and stand out in your niche.