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Top-Shelf Tip No. 231:

"Customers don’t expect you to be perfect. They do expect you to fix things when they go wrong."

Donald Porter

Find Your Customers’ Pain Points, Then Solve Them

In order to define your organization's go-to-market messages, you first need to understand your audience-your customers and prospects. More specifically, you need to know what keeps them up at night.

In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share these simple techniques from brand consultant Victoria Howes for digging deep to define your customer's pain points.

1. Understand. First, it is critical to understand what your products or services address. You are not merely supplying a product or service, you are solving a problem, addressing an issue or relieving a condition. You must understand what those problems, issues and conditions are, not to change your product or service necessarily, but to effectively create the message that your product or service solves their issues. In other words, articulate how what you offer brings value to your customer.

2. Communicate. It is critical to speak the language of your customers. If you are selling boutique perfumes, the words you choose would certainly be different than if you are selling cowboy boots. Both approaches should address the pain of the potential customer, but use the vernacular of these potentially different subcultures. Human beings have very different relationships to terms and symbols. So, if you tell a potential customer who is looking to fit in that your product is "chic," which is a term of exclusivity, it will not address their pain point.

3. Create Empathy. People gravitate toward those who share their pain: misery loves company. If you not only solve their pain point, but empathize with it, you attract not only customers, but establish your product as part of the same community.

4. Professional Guidance. Seek help in uncovering your particular niche's pain points and solutions to address them. There are quality companies whose expertise can alleviate the work of creating an effective marketing campaign. Often people are reluctant to seek out professional expertise because they think the cost is too high, but not doing so can result in lost revenue. Effective marketing can increase your customer base, which can extend beyond the marketing campaign and give you insight into your target consumers.

5. Engage. Engage your customers. Surveys and comment cards can be an effective way to gain insight into your customers, but don't be afraid to simply engage with them on a social level. Find out what their concerns are. Who are they and what makes them tick? When you do this, you not only create the understanding of why consumers need your products, but how they understand your product as a solution to their needs. To convert prospects to customers, you must engage them.

6. Search. Learn what your customers are searching for online. There are methods to learn what keywords people use on search engines. Use these methods to uncover what people are searching for or what they are trying to discover. This can illuminate the need for a new product or it can be a way to learn to market your product to these demands. If you learn what they want, you can fulfill that desire.

Once you can articulate the pain points of your customer, you can target your messaging and ensure more engagement.

Source: Victoria Howes is an entrepreneur, traveler and consultant to multiple brands including Travelocity, Hotels.com and Homeaway.

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