1. Signage that addresses the pain

The Desire

I’ve wanted a new house plant for a while. But I’ve been hesitant to purchase one.

The Pain

I feel inadequate in terms of my care of house plants.

I’m always second guessing myself on the amount of water the plant should receive. I’ve killed the last few plants I purchased and I’m not in a hurry to kill another.

The Solution

About six weeks ago, I was at Home Depot looking for a birthday gift. I was heading to the garden section and there was a tall display of bonsai house plants. The plants looked interesting, but there was a big handmade sign that actually caught my attention. All it said was, “Just Add 8 Ice Cubes a Week.”

That large sign got me to read the small tag on the plant. Sure enough, you just add 8 ice cubes once a week and keep it in medium light.

The pain point I had was self-doubt and the solution was a simpler (easily measurable) method for watering the plant. The copy on the sign spoke to my pain point as well as a solution.

I ended up purchasing two plants: one for me and one for my Mom for her birthday. Oddly enough, someone else already bought her that exact same bonsai plant. I wouldn’t be surprised if that person was stopped in their tracks by a very similar sign.

2. Language that agitates the pain

Robert Cialdini writes about loss aversion in his book “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.” He cites a home-insulation study done by Gonzales, Costanzo, and Aronson in 1988.

This study was done in California where researchers would speak to homeowners about their home energy costs.

“Basically what the researchers said was, ‘If you insulate your home fully, you’ll save 50 cents every day.’ That was for half of the homeowners,” Cialdini says. “With the other half, homeowners were told, ‘If you fail to insulate your home fully, you’ll lose 50 cents every day.’ In the end, 150 percent more people insulated under loss language than gain language. It was the same 50 cents, but people are more mobilized into action by the idea of losing something.”

In this instance, the pain point is loss of money due to poor insulation. Just tweaking the language helped to alleviate the pain instead of only speaking to the potential gain.

3. Advertising that alleviates the pain

The way you address the pain point doesn’t have to be obvious. Sometimes it can just be the feeling you leave the person with.

Listen to the radio ad in the video below for Spence Diamonds. The ad does a masterful job of addressing a common pain point in a very subtle manner.

Disclaimer: The word genius gets thrown around too casually.

Reality: The person who wrote this ad is, in fact, a genius.

Roy Williams (who writes the Monday Morning Memo) wrote this ad and he also reads the voiceover of the boyfriend.

Spence Diamonds is one the most recognizable jewelers in all of Canada because of his work.

This ad is talking about a fun promotion they’re doing to keep or remove their trademark scream in their commercials (although I highly doubt they’d remove that brandable chunk).

However, the radio ad addresses a pain point in a very subtle manner.

There are three characters in the ad.

  1. The employee
  2. The boss: Sean Jones
  3. The boyfriend of the employee

The employee and boyfriend both have commanding voices while Sean’s voice sounds very weak. This is important because Roy figured out one of the biggest pain points that men have when buying an engagement ring.

They feel vulnerable.

The pain point develops because buying an engagement ring isn’t a typical purchase, is a high-end product, and the sales person knows quite a bit more about the topic.

A subtle way to make the listener feel less vulnerable is by having the owner’s weaker sounding voice on the ads. In some of the ads, the employee even talks down to the owner to really establish that this is not someone you should be scared of.

Chance of someone actually meeting Sean Jones when they buy an engagement ring is very slim. Yet, in the mind of the listener, they feel more confident buying from this guy because it’s not someone they should be scared of.

The pain point is constantly being addressed by his weak voice and sales sky rocket. If they used a more traditional voice actor with a confident sounding voice, it would actually diminish the effectiveness of the ads.

So, think about what your customer’s paint points are. Then, address them in a way that will make them feel confident choosing you over the other guys.

What are your customers pain points?

With the home-insulation story, the pain point was easier to identify because insulation is purchased to improve energy efficiency and reduce costs. It was just a matter of changing the language to activate the pain.

With the house plants and engagement rings, the pain point is much more subtle.

Different products and services have different pain points preventing purchase.

It makes sense to better understand your customer and what their pain points truly are.

The easiest (and most efficient) way to solve this problem would be to just ask them.

Send out a free survey using services such as Google Forms or Survey Monkey and ask your current customers what concerns they had before purchasing your product/service.

The feedback you get could be helpful in determining your future customer’s pain points. Then, you will be able to think of ways to activate the pain point and speak to a solution in your advertising.

Another way you can help identify the pain points of your prospects is to create a buyer legend. This is a four step process for creating a story around your prospect that will help identify all the reasons why they won’t buy from you… yet.