By | February 18, 2019


A wise marketer once said that people are much more likely to spend money to solve a painful problem than to receive a benefit. If you think about this a little bit, you’ll quickly see how true it is. Think about the worst headache you’ve ever experienced…In that moment, you’ll give just about anything to someone who can relieve the pain for you.

How Do You Market to Your Customers?

In order to market to your customers effectively, you’ll have to dig deep and find painful problems to solve. If you already have a product that you’re promoting, you’ll want to focus on finding problems that your product can solve.

Through this process, you’ll learn how your customers talk about their problems, which will help you to write targeted sales copy that speaks directly to them. In this post, we’ll explore five ways to uncover your customer’s most painful problems.

Number 1 – Just ask them

If you have an established email list, reach out and ask them directly. Quizzes and surveys are a great way to connect with your customers and find out exactly what problems they’re facing. Consider offering a small incentive – such as a coupon code or discount – to boost participation.

If you don’t have a list yet, try joining some Facebook groups and post an entertaining or thought-provoking quiz there. There is a great service that I use called Qzzr.

Number 2 – Participate in forums

A great place to find problems is in forums. People use forums to seek and offer advice. Join forums related to your market. Use the search feature to find out what kinds of questions people are asking that relate to your product.

You can also ask questions yourself to get feedback. One note about participating in forums…Be sure to offer value as a member – most forums will ban members who promote products or services too aggressively.

Number 3 – Pick up the Phone

Call your customers directly and talk to them about their concerns and needs. This works especially well for marketers who are in the B2B space, but it can work in other markets as well.

If you are genuinely concerned about your customer’s problems, they’ll be more than happy to talk to you at length. This may seem intimidating at first, but there is no substitute for speaking to someone directly to find out what their needs really are.

Number 4 – Research other Solutions

Look at other products that solve the same problem. What concerns are they addressing in their sales materials?

Be on the lookout for gaps in their products or areas that could use improvement. You may be able to solve the same problem in a better way.

Number 5 – Listen to your customers

Another great place to look for problems to solve is your own customer service department. What kinds of concerns are your customers bringing up in their emails to you?

If you have a virtual assistant or customer service department, take some time to find out what kinds of questions they are being asked most often. What are the most frequent complaints or problems they hear about from your customers

What do you do with the information you have now gathered?

Once you have gathered your research information you can use it to find the best products to solve your customer’s problems. You can also use it to develop new products if nothing exists to solve the problem.

You can also use your research to write copy that will speak directly to your audience. You can use the same kinds of words and phrases that they use to describe their problems when you are describing your solution.

You can dig deep into the information that you’ve gathered to discover what is driving your customers to write copy that speaks to them on a deep level and compels them to buy your product.

In other words, they may talk about wanting money – for example – but if you can read between the lines, you’ll see that the desire for money is really a desire for security or status.

Once you understand these underlying motivations – you’ll be able to speak to them in your sales material.

Final Review

These are only five ways to find out what your customer’s problems are. Use these as a jumping off point to come up with more research methods.

However you choose to do your research, you can market more effectively to your customers if you dig deep to find their most painful problems.

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All the best,



  1. Effie

    Great article Tom! I think your tips are more than valuable. Furthermore, I feel today is my lucky day! I was looking for a helping hand to create a quiz. I didn’t know the existence of Qzzr. Thanks for your present !!

    1. Tom Post author

      Hi Effie,

      Thank you for your comment, much appreciated.

      You are very welcome for the recommendation of Qzzr. It works really well and I hope it does for you.

      Let me know how you get on with your quiz and if you need any help then please don’t hesitate to ask.

      All the best,


  2. Stone

    I truly appreciate the wisdom in this post. I am currently thinking about what products/services to promote on my own website. I had never thought about sales from this particular angle. “People are much more likely to spend money to solve a painful problem than to receive a particular benefit.” I think this is SO true. And I will definitely remember it when I make my final choice of what product to promote. Thanks Tom.

    1. Tom Post author

      Hi Stone,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Definitely, painful problems are what most people want solving in their lives and we are the people to help them.

      Good luck with your research and decision making on your products. If you need any help with it then please do let me know.

      All the best,


  3. Nick Cooke

    Thank you for a great read! It’s nice to be reminded of the essential steps to online problem solving! I’ve been busy writing lately and sometimes forget the basics!

    1. Tom Post author

      Hi Nick,

      Thanks for your comment.

      I know the feeling that you get so involved writing your posts that we do forget the really basic things. But it is nice to be reminded, so you’re very welcome for that.

      Do check back for future posts and new internet marketing strategies as I’m sure they will help you and your business.

      All the best,



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