How To Quickly (And Accurately) Discover Your Audience’s Most Pressing Pain Points


In marketing-land, we often hear about the importance of finding a target audience’s “pain points.” You know, those specific problems that your business prospects face on a day to day basis — as well as issues that they may encounter while using your services.

When you truly understand your clients’ problems, you will better know how to position yourself and communicate the unique values and benefits that you can offer through your services. You’ll also know how to improve your output so you can better address their needs.

Many feel that discovering their clients’ most pressing pain points is easier said than done. But it doesn’t have to be as hard as you might think.

Don’t Make This Complicated: Ask Them

Discovering client pain points really isn’t all that complex. After all, if a friend of yours was feeling down, you wouldn’t hold a board meeting with the rest of your friends to discuss possible reasons why they aren’t their normal, cheery self.

You’d ask them what’s wrong.

And that’s the same thing you should do with your customers.

There are a number of ways you could go about asking about client pain points, including phone calls and email. However, I find that the face-to-face route is the best. This eliminates the guesswork that can sometimes pop up in text-only responses.

Speak with both happy and unhappy clients — as well as those who fall somewhere in between. Yes, it can be scary to ask a client what they think of you. But you can mitigate this fear and get better feedback by asking questions that go deeper than “What do you think?”

Instead, ask questions that let them share their experiences, like, “What was your biggest challenge when you came to me, and how is it going now?” The more stories you can collect from your clients, the easier it will be to discover their pain points.

Really Listen To Their Answers (And I Mean It)

In a recent email conversation, David Richard Petrillo, founder and CEO of Perfect Image, explained, “You have to listen. It’s the only way to discover what your customers actually need. You can’t just focus on what you think they need and try to make their answers line up with your own preconceived notions. You have to accept that you don’t already know everything. I find that trying to develop a true sense of compassion for my audience — caring about their problems and quality of life — makes it easier to avoid a self-centered approach so I can listen better to their needs.”

Regardless of how you collect your feedback, you have to take this approach in how you process it. And that means taking what you’ve learned and then actually applying it to make things better for your clients.

This includes when you aren’t “listening” in a face to face conversation. Online options like forums, reviews and social media comments are all fair game for getting the answers you need. When someone is hidden behind a computer screen, they tend to really speak their minds and be more honest than they might be when speaking face to face.

Of course, when collecting feedback online, you should be careful to separate criticism from the “haters.” You can always learn from negative comments, but nothing good comes from responding to personal attacks or insults. Don’t waste your time on the haters who are just trying to spread a bad experience.

Conduct Some Savvy Keyword Research

If you want to take a more macro approach to your industry’s pain points, keyword research is a good place to start.

Google Trends and other keyword research tools are a great place to find search volume for different queries in your industry. More often than not, your prospective clients are going to be Googling their pain points in their own time. These tools can even show search trends over time, so you can get a better idea if interest in a particular pain point is rising or falling.

You can also scale your approach to collecting feedback from your current clients. Tools like Survey Monkey and Typeform are great options for sending out surveys to a broad number of people so you can collect more answers from more people in a shorter amount of time. As with an in-person conversation, aim for questions that encourage clients to share detailed stories and experiences, which will offer more helpful insights than simple “yes” or “no” answers.

When you know which pain points are getting the biggest traction with your current clients and your industry as a whole, you’ll be armed with data-backed knowledge for any adjustments you plan to make.

Time To Put Your Knowledge Into Action!

Now that you know what your audience’s pain points are, it’s time to use that knowledge to your advantage. From updating your website and SEO strategy to changing the way you communicate with clients — or even altering your services — this knowledge should play a big role in your future business decisions.

By addressing pain points and helping clients feel understood and valued, you will gain loyal customers and even start earning referrals that will help you get higher-value work. It’s ultimately a win-win for everyone.



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