PPC Pain Points

2 Comments Written on February 21st, 2011 by
Categories: Copywriting

Pain Point
Nothing motivates a person quite like pain.

If you’ve got a toothache, you probably can’t wait to use a dentist’s services. The money, so long as you can afford the fee, becomes a non-issue compared to the thought of enduring the pain for one day longer.

You want your customers to be in a similar painful position – not in the sense that you wish pain upon them, but you do want them to have a burning need. This need might be to travel immediately (“last minute flight bookings online”), wanting to have the latest technology (“iPad 2.0, avoid the wait”), or a suit cleaned before an important meeting (“express dry cleaning service, while you wait”).

The customers that are most likely to convert have a pain they need to alleviate. Now.

The commonality in the examples above is that the customer doesn’t just want something. They have a burning need for something, so much so that is causing them a degree of pain. They alleviate this pain by buying what you have to offer. These highly motivated customers are certainly the type of customer you want to select when you’re paying by the click!

In terms of PPC, we have three tools to work with – the pitch, the landing page and the ad text.

1. The Pitch

Everyone says “understand the customer”, but what does that really mean?

Try to understand your customer in terms of the pain they are experiencing. In the example of the dentist I used above, the pain point is self-evident: a sore tooth!

However, most consumer situations are more subtle. Having a suit cleaned before an important meeting is an organisational pain. Time creates a constraint i.e. the suit must be cleaned before the meeting. The need to have the suit cleaned is linked to a strong desire to make a good impression.

There is pain involved in not completing this task. The time constraint creates a sense of urgency – itself a form of pain – as does the mere thought of showing up to an important meeting wearing a shabby suit – i.e we try to avoid the pain of embarrassment.

Look at your good or service in terms of the “medicinal” quality it offers. Identify the point of pain, or points, of pain in the customer, and make a list. Also make a list of general pain points. For example, time pressure, social pressure, work pressure, family pressure, etc, that will be common to many people, and may only be indirectly related to your offer.

2. The Landing Page

Take your list of pain points, and turn it into copy.

Identify and acknowledge the pain points in your audience. A cheesy way to do this involves asking ridiculous questions “You Have A Hot Date In Two Hours, But Your Suit Needs Cleaning Now! Who Will You Call?”.

That works, but it comes across a bit like a 1950′s used car salesman. A more modern technique is to refer to the problem more obliquely. “Immediate Dry Cleaning, While You Wait”. The suggestion is that other services don’t offer immediate dry cleaning. The customer connects the dots in their head. Note that this phrase “Immediate Dry Cleaning, While You Wait”, as is a result of me noting, following step one, that time, and shortage thereof, is a common pain point.

Your “medicinal” qualities become features. For example, “guaranteed service”, “we’re a phone call away”, “we pick up and deliver”, and “there is no garment we can’t clean within an hour”.

3. The Text Ad

The text ad is the same as the landing page step, except you must focus on the most “painful” point your customer is experiencing.

You haven’t got a lot of words to play with, and there are many words on the search results page fighting for the customers attention. The text ad is, of course, related to the search phrase, an analysis of which can also be used to isolate pain points.

Your text ad may focus on time and location: “One Hour Dry Cleaning”. The pain doesn’t need to be stated, just the solution, but you must first have identified the pain point in order to focus on time constraint as being the most important aspect.

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2 comments “PPC Pain Points”

Hey Peter – nice list of simple, no-nonsense tips to creating good content.

Great post, really enjoyed all of the examples you provided! Really felt the urgency and importance of the three sections.
Thanks again,


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