How to Find Your Ideal Client’s Pain Points

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In my last article titled “Do You Know What Keeps Your Ideal Clients Up at Night?” I explained why your ideal clients will be much more responsive and open to hearing from you when you address their pain points in your self-promotion.

But I know what you’re thinking … how would you know what their needs, problems and pain points are?

You don’t have to guess. There are place you can go to find out—and those places are the same places they go to get help.

Just ask yourself: What does my ideal client do when they need help? Where do they go, both online and off?

There are many types of resources available. The three resource types you are most likely to find are trade association, industry publications, and conferences and events.

getting design clients: customer pain pointsimage from Getty | CSA-Archive

Where to Go to Find Your Ideal Client’s Pain Points

1. Trade Associations

A trade association assists their members (i.e., your clients) by offering content, like a blog or webinars. The topics of all the content the association delivers would address the pain points of their members. So essentially, a list of blog posts or a schedule of webinar topics would give you a list of pain points. Try it: Take a look at a trade association in any market and see if you can figure out the problems that need solving.

2. Industry Publications

Do the same with any industry publication, where the articles, blog posts and other content address the readers’ pain points. For example, if you were targeting the beauty industry for branding and packaging, you would subscribe to Global Cosmetic Industry, a resource that offers a magazine, as well as events, a directory and more.

Let’s focus on the magazine. Under the category of “marketing,” we find an article called “The Perfect Brand Name.” The pain point this article addresses is the imperfect brand name. So, if you were marketing your branding and naming services in the beauty industry, you could develop a marketing campaign around the pain caused when a beauty brand has the wrong name and position your firm as the one that can cure that pain, especially for beauty brands. Ideally your content marketing, blog posts and articles, speaking engagements and case studies, would also focus on that issue, reinforcing your expertise.

3. Conferences and Events

Likewise, any conference or event would attempt to solve the pain points of the attendees with speakers who provide possible solutions. HOW Design Live is a perfect example of this.

If I were marketing services to designers and wanted to know what your pain points are, I would take a look at the session schedule to see what topics the speakers are covering. Looking at the schedule for the most recent HOW Design Live in Boston, I would find plenty of pain points to address:

  • The Art of Saying No
  • The Worst Negotiating Mistakes (and how to avoid them)
  • 7 Ways to Hack Creative Workflow and Advance Your Career
  • So You’re a Manager Now
  • Feel the Burnout?

Based on this, I would develop messaging and a campaign to speak to these problems, which lets my ideal clients know three important things:

  • that I understand what they’re struggling with
  • that I’ve seen it before
  • and that I know how to deal with it.

If you approach your self-promotion this way, it goes a long way toward building trust, especially with clients who don’t know you yet and how great you are. If you don’t address their pain points first, you may never get the opportunity to tell them how you can help them. Their pain is the doorway to a conversation.

Now it’s your turn—see if you can find three pain points for your target market that you can use in your self-promotion, and build a campaign around each one.

Want to know what else keeps your clients up at night? Check out part 1 of this series!


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