If you own a business with any sort of marketing funnel, you probably obsess over your conversions.
Which makes sense. More conversions lead to more sales. More sales lead to more revenue, and faster business growth.
So entrepreneurs will test almost everything to try and increase that metric. They’ll spend endless hours testing different copy. Trying out different headlines, benefits, and calls to actions.
But there’s a more foundational aspect to their marketing which is rarely tested.
Whether they’ve focused on the right problem.
We cover this in one of the first lessons we give to all our Mastermind Members. We remind them that they shouldn’t focus on the problem that they think the market needs to solve.
Instead, they should be thinking about the problem the market wants to solve.
Very often, the difference between the two problem is a subtle shift instead of a significant difference. But it’s still important to focus on the correct one.
Otherwise, core of your marketing might be misaligned away from your prospects. That’ll hurt your conversion rate and ultimately your sales.
There are two purposes to this article.
First, we wanted to give you a clear criteria to evaluate the core pain-point that you’re trying to solve. So you can judge whether a change is needed.
Secondly, if you do have to make a change, we’re going to provide the tools you need to identify the best problem to go after.
Identify the right problem among your target market, and you’ll be 40% of the way to a profitable campaign. The next 40% will be determined by your offer, and 20% is based on your copy.
But we’ll talk more about that later.
First, we’ll cover the one key mindset shift that’s crucial to getting this right.
Afterward, we’ll discuss the three components that make up a “good problem”. If all three are in place, you can be fairly sure that your prospects will be willing to pay money to solve that problem.
But skipping even one of the three could make you miss the mark entirely.
Getting this part of your marketing right will give you a solid foundation for all of your campaigns.
It’s About The Effect Not The Cause
Ironically, most business’ get the problem wrong because they know too much about the subject. As a result, they’ve stopped seeing the world from their customers’ eyes. So in their marketing and sales, they talk about the cause of their customers’ problem. Instead of the problem itself.
Think of it like this.
Imagine you owned a laptop repair shop. A customer comes into your store with a laptop that freezes after ten minutes of use.
Because of your knowledge, you know that the laptop has a virus. Let’s call it the Freezing Virus.
But to the customer that doesn’t mean anything. The only problem they care about is that their laptop keeps freezing.
It seems obvious that your marketing should say something like this. “Does your computer freeze every ten minutes? We can fix it!”
But too many businesses start with the equivalent of “Does your computer have the Freezing Virus?”
All their marketing efforts focus on the cause of the problem.
The easy way to fix this is to always think about the effect that the problem has on their customers’ lives.
What businesses see as the effects, customers see as problems.
So for the rest of this article…effect and problem mean the same thing.
Moreover, there are three components that need to be present for you to be sure that you’re focusing on the right effect:
- Immediacy: People are generally unable to really grasp long-term repercussions. Your business has to find a problem that they’re experiencing in the present.
- Tangible: It’s difficult for your market to connect with abstract concepts. You need to focus on pain points with a tangible characteristic for them to grasp.
- Burning: Your prospects need to actually have a burning need to solve their problem. Otherwise, no offer in the world will overcome their preference for inaction.
We’re going to go in-depth about each component. Take a few minutes to read about them. Then, assess if all three are present in the problem that you’re addressing.
If they’re not – that’s an indication that your problem may not resonate with your prospects.
The Problem Should Be In The Present
Psychologically, people don’t assign a lot of weight to future problems.
That’s why it can be so difficult to sell a 25-year old on the idea of investing money into his retirement. He knows intellectually that it’s a good idea. But in the back of his mind, he’s thinking, “Retirement is 60-year-old me’s problem”.
So you need to find a pain that your market is dealing with right now.
To be clear right now is a bit of a relative term. Depending on your business it could be every day, every week, or every month.
But it does need to be something that your prospects have to deal with at least once a month. Anything longer will make it harder to convince your market to take action.
It’s true that some services and businesses are meant to deal with long-term issues. If that’s the case, you still need to translate that issue into a short-term problem for your prospect.
To do that, think about short-term related behaviors and effects.
- Investing for retirement could be reframed as “Are you saving less money each month than you want to?”
- “Pay Back Your Solar Panels in 15 years” isn’t a very attractive marketing message. “Save Over $100/Month On Your Energy Bill” will likely get a much more positive response.
Identify the short-term pain. Then structure your marketing around resolving it.
Even if the solution attacks the cause instead of the problem itself.
This is where the expression “Sell them what they want, give them what they need” comes into play.
However, don’t lie about the results your clients will receive! If you don’t have a way to get quick results for their short-term issue, you need to create one.
But remember, immediacy is only the first part of the criteria.
The Problem Should be Tangible
When it comes to inspiring action tangible effects are better than abstract problems.
While people can understand abstract issues, they’re not emotionally moved by them.
Yet so many companies market themselves around abstract ideas.
- Are You Shy? Become More Confident!
- Is Your Brand Unknown? Build an Amazing Brand!
- Uncertain Retirement? Secure Your Future!
Those types of problems don’t feel real to your customers. There needs to be something physical that they can connect with. Otherwise, the marketing will lack the visceral punch that it needs.
To make sure the problem is tangible, it needs to engage one of the senses.
In other words – the pain should be something that the prospect can see, hear, feel, smell, or taste.
People can’t see that they’re branding is ineffective. But they can hear their prospects say that they’ve never heard of their company.
People can’t see that they’re unconfident. But they can see and hear everyone else at the bar having a good time, while they’re standing shyly in the corner.
People can’t feel that they’re not going to have enough money to retire in 40 years. But they can see that their savings account is at 0.
So when you’re thinking about your market’s problem, ask yourself if there’s a physical component your prospect is experiencing.
If there’s not, your probably addressing a cause instead of the problem itself. So go deeper, and think about the effects and behaviors that the cause will lead to.
If the problem has both immediacy and tangibility there’s a very high likelihood that your market will respond to it. But there’s one more piece to the puzzle.
The Problem Should be Burning
This last component should be obvious but many businesses miss it.
The market has to care about the problem enough to want to solve it.
Remember, your biggest competitor isn’t another company. Your biggest competitor is inaction, a willingness to stick with the status quo. People are by nature lazy and scared of change. So if they’re not desperate to fix the pain, they’re not going to spend money on your solution.
To get this right you need to have an in-depth knowledge of your market and prospects.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- What are they constantly complaining about?
- What are their biggest frustrations?
- Are they being kept away from something that they desperately want?
- Are they doing things they don’t want to do?
- Are they not doing things that they do want to do?
If you don’t know the answer to these questions there are a few different ways to find them.
The best way is to get on the phone with some of your current customers and prospects. Ask them open-ended questions and dive deep into how they’re feeling.
Another option is to read reviews of other businesses in your space. You might also go looking at forums, facebook groups, or Reddit threads in your niche.
Finally, you can look up products related to your business or industry on Amazon. The reviews will often give a big indication of why someone bought a specific product.
Evaluate the problem you’re currently addressing against all three components. If they’re all in place, you have the right foundation to craft a powerful message. If they’re not, you should take some time to investigate whether there’s a different problem the market may be more responsive to.
However, as I said in the beginning, the right problem isn’t the only thing you need.
You also have to have the right offer and message in place.
That is something we go over extensively with all our members in the Mastermind Program.
And once you have a message and offer that your market responds to, the next step is scaling your business.
Specifically, generating clients on demand. So you can know that by spending $1,000 in advertising, you’re going to get $10,000 back in profit.
We’ve created a special report that shows you exactly how to do that.