Most business owners don’t have a background in marketing. After all, marketing is a specific skill that requires a lot of time, energy, and consistency to “get good” at. However, there is one CRITICAL step absolutely any business owner can take right now to vastly improve their marketing ROI, regardless of whether they know anything about marketing or not.

golden retriever leaning over the hood of a car. Yellow text reads: I have no idea what I'm doing".

And this one thing will have a HUGE impact on the success of your marketing forevermore. This “one thing” will even make working with any future marketing professionals easier, too. Whether they’re your designer, social media manager- and/or especially a copywriter (like moi).

What Is “The Thing” Any Business Owner Can Do?

Customer research

This is… by far… the MOST valuable database your business has. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to really get to know the people you’re selling products or services to.

When you take the time to learn about:

  • Your customer’s struggles
  • The language they use
  • The goals they have
  • Other (similar) products/services they’ve tried (and haven’t worked)
  • Where they spend their time (Facebook, Instagram, TV, etc)

All of these elements are vital to the health and success of your business.

Why?

Because if you don’t know who your customer is… how on earth can you know how to best serve them?

light-skinned boy in a blue shirt stands in a grassy field with other children behind him. He turns to the camera and asks: "Wait a minute, who are you?"

Many new business owners think that casting the widest net possible is the best way to make sales. However, this is quite the opposite.

Learning who your ideal customers are will make selling to them so much easier. When you create targeting messaging that reaches them on the right platforms- and speaks directly to their core… that is what makes all the difference

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What Are Customer Pain Points And How To Learn About Them?

“Pain point” is a term used frequently when it comes to marketing. Pain points are the aspect of your customer’s life that your product/offer solves. For example: a guy named Jerry has always wanted to learn how to do a pull-up. He’s a little embarrassed that he can’t do a pull-up, and it might’ve been something he’s been made fun of for earlier in life.

Not being about to do a single pull-up (and especially the embarrassment he feels because of it) is Jerry’s pain point. That’s the problem he wants to solve.

Red Panda doing pull ups on gymnast rings (it's as weird as it sounds)

Say you’re a personal fitness coach. Guess what? You know exactly how to help Jerry reach his goal of achieving a pull-up. You’ll know how to assess his unique body type, goals, health problems, dietary restrictions, etc… and create a plan based on that info to help Jerry tackle this obstacle and feel confident in his pull-up prowess.

That means the service you provide is the perfect solution. You have the skillset to help Jerry solve his problem.

You understand that Jerry feels frustrated and embarrassed about not being able to do a pull-up, and that empathy will help you tap into the deeper/emotional benefits of your service.

How Do You Find Customer Pain Points?

I suggest joining online communities filled with people with who your industry/service would work with. When you join these groups, you’ll find a plethora of personal insight from people talking about their struggles. The most important marketing tip that I hope you’ll take away is: Be a good listener.

Disclaimer about Paint Points:

Understanding a customer’s pain point is very important… but what’s even more important is how you use that information.

Scummy marketing would prey on his pain point.

It would poke at it- hell, it might even point out other things Jerry didn’t even realize he was insecure about. That’s gross, it doesn’t help, it’s unethical… and it’s unnecessary (no matter what some “guru” in an FB group might say).

The point of understanding a paint point is empathy. When you empathize with your customer, you can market your services to inspire, motivate, and empower them.

Use the power of pain points responsibly. Don’t be a dick.

Uncle Ben from Spider man saying "Remember, with great power, comes great responsibility)

Alright… onward!

Tone, Phrases, And Inside Jokes- Oh MY?

Familiarizing yourself with the phrases/tone/humor/pop-culture knowledge of your customer is important. Most products/services take age/gender/location/etc into consideration before creating marketing campaigns. This is because the way you advertise (and how you write copy) to a 22-year-old woman who surfs in Los Angeles will be vastly different than how you advertise to a 56 man who runs a farm in upstate New York. The language, terminology, and phrases these two demographics use will be like two different languages.

If you don’t speak your customer’s language, then your marketing efforts will be for naught because your audience won’t Feel Understood.

For example, our Cali gal and farmer man might overlap regarding the product you’re selling. Perhaps you’re offering sunscreen. A surfer and a farmer both need sunscreen. However, the ads you (or your copywriter and designer) will create look very different.

They’d both greatly benefit from your product, but if you aren’t speaking their language, they’ll never know that or be convinced.

How To Learn The Language

There are a few ways to familiarize yourself with how your customer speaks. Social media is probably the best way, and just like when you join groups to find pain points, you’ll also start noticing the way they articulate themselves.

You can also check out publications that already talk to your audience. What magazines do they read? What TV shows do they watch? Read/listen to start getting a better idea.

Again: it’s all about listening.

Their Goals And How To Uncover Them

Finding out customer goals is kinda the same as finding their pain points (or rather, they’re two sides of the same coin). Jerry’s pain point was his embarrassment that he couldn’t do a pull-up. The goal was to do a pull-up and feel confident.

Take note of how a lot of this is about tapping into the emotions behind these goals/pains. When you understand the “what”, you can start digging into how it affects your customer on a deeper emotional level.

a light-skinned man of Asian-descent with thick-rimmed glasses, dressed in all black. Caption reads "I feel it!"

Getting really clear on your customer’s goals will be a huge help in defining your offers… and knowing exactly who and how you can help.

For example: you might be a personal fitness trainer, but a guy named Larry (aren’t I so creative?) doesn’t just want to do a pull-up…

Larry wants to compete in Crossfit.

Even though both Jerry and Larry want to master a pull-up, and you could help both of them achieve a basic pull-up… Larry is less likely to be an ideal client for you because he’s interested in a very specific subset of fitness… and a Crossfit pull-up is very different from a basic pull-up.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, just YouTube it… trust me.

How To Uncover Customer Goals

Social media communities. Get in them, immerse yourself, listen, take notes. You can also straight-up ask people directly. Post questions/poles in the social media groups you’re in (as long as it doesn’t violate guidelines). If you have an email list, then ask them for feedback. Asking is SO OKAY and encouraged. If you get to ask someone directly, do it.

If you incorporate everything we’ve learned so far, you’ll be able to make the customer feel like you “took the words right out of their mouth”.

Check Out Other Products Like Yours That Customers Have Used

Look at your competitors. Whether it’s a physical product or service, see if you can find testimonials and reviews. It doesn’t even have to be identical to your offer. Like, say you’re that fitness trainer again, and you wanna know more about why Jerry (and others like him) hasn’t been able to achieve his pull-up goal so far. Check out gym reviews, or look up fitness products that might be making similar promises to the one you know you can deliver.

Look up both positive and negative reviews (especially negative ones lol). When you hear complaints about specific aspects of these competitor products, you’ll be able to review your own offer to ensure you don’t have the same problems.

a light-skinned woman with bronze hair, and wearing a pink shirt. Caption says "We're good"

And once you know your offer is solid, you can tell potential customers about it!

For example: say that you read a review from a gym, and one of the complaints was “it’s really crowded, and with so many people, I’m too embarrassed to go and workout because I’m afraid of being judged”

You could then say:

“I know that starting a fitness journey in a crowded gym can be overwhelming, and that’s why I offer at-home fitness training! I come right to your door, and help you learn in the comfort and privacy of your own home!”

That could make a HUGE impact on potential customers because you’ve addressed a problem without them even having to say it!

**And notice how I was able to identify the pain point without causing more pain? The copy acknowledges the emotion but quickly provides a realistic and respectful solution**

Why Does This Matter?

Because this makes your customers feel heard, understood, and respected. You let them know that you get where they’re coming from, and you did it respectfully. This is what customer research is all about. You’re getting to know the inner emotional workings of someone- their struggles, passions, etc. When you apply this knowledge in a strategic and ethical way… your marketing success exponentially increases.

Where Are Your Ideal Customers?

It’s fine and dandy to learn about your customers… but if you don’t know where to connect with them, it won’t do much good. That upstate NY farmer is way more likely to be on FaceBook, read hard-cover publications, etc. Whereas, the surfer from CA is more likely to frequent Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.

And while you’ve been doing your other research, you’ll also start to get an idea of where you should publish an ad based on where these folks hang out.

Why Does This Matter?

So, here’s the thing. It doesn’t matter how exceptional your copywriting, design- even your product is… if the right people don’t see it, then it’s DOA. Learning about where your ideal (target) audience spends their time is critical to ensuring all of your other marketing efforts matter.

Listen, Listen, Listen…

The most important marketing tip you can learn is how to listen. Listen to your customers needs, listen to their compliments, and most definitely listen to their criticism.

Learning how to do customer research is the first step in becoming a great marketer… and you don’t need a big budget (any budget), or marketing experience to be a great customer researcher.

You just have to know how to listen. 🙂

And that’s something all of us can benefit from practicing in more avenues than just our business, right?

If you have any questions, or need some copywriting help, just comment below or contact me!

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