How Pain and Promises Inspire Your Customers to Take Action

How Pain and Promises Inspire Your Customers to Take Action

On the surface, marketing is figuring out how to get people’s attention so they’ll buy stuff. But once you’ve started marketing your own brand, you realize it’s so much more involved than just saying witty things and having bright, shiny images.

Know Your Audience

A vast amount of marketing involves tapping into the psychology of your audience. You need to know what they want and why they want it. You need to know who they are from the standpoint of basic demographics, like where they live and how old they are, but also from a psychographic point of view: what are their interests, dreams, values. You can read more information about to find your perfect audience in this article.

know your audience

In order to accurately market your product or services, you need to know your customers inside and out. Naturally, this takes time. You’ll conduct a lot of A/B testing to find out what they respond to more favorably. You’ll send out questionnaires and interactive content. You’ll spend time looking at what they look at on social media.

It sounds a little creepy, but at the heart of all good marketing is the phrase “know your audience.” Knowing what your audience values helps you most accurately market to them, from choosing the right colors and images, to tapping into their emotional needs.

You may have heard the phrase “pain and promises” tossed around from other business owners. Have you wondered what it means? Those are both pretty strong words, so how do they apply to marketing? In fact, it’s the seriousness of these words that makes them so effective for pushing customers into taking action.

How Does Pain Make People Buy?

The phrase “pain and promises” takes a pretty black-and-white view of the emotions your audience feels, but to some extent, it’s an accurate reflection of the reasons why people buy things in the first place.

pain-based approach in marketing

“Pain” refers to the problems people have. We know that people look to businesses for solutions to very real problems. The printer is out of ink. They have no idea how to start investing, but they’re stressed that they’re leaving money on the table. They have nothing to wear to a big event coming up in just two weeks. 

Buyers have problems. These problems are causing them great stress, or pain. This pain may not be life-threatening, but it is a symptom that has led these individuals to search for a solution.

Enter the pain-focused marketing plan. A good business owner knows exactly how their product can be used to cure the pain.

Through some scarcity techniques, as explained in this article, you can offer a special deal on a three-pack of printer ink cartridges with rush delivery.

Or perhaps you’ll setup a squeeze page and send them a free eBook about getting started with online investments, as long as they sign up with your financial planning firm. Or you can announce a huge sale on shoes with the purchase of formal wear.

You understand their pain, and you have exactly what they need to make it all go away, right away.

Advantages and Problems of this approach

The great thing about marketing to your customers’ pain points is that they are usually very predictable, based on your product or services. That’s not to say that customers can’t find new and exciting ways to surprise you, but that you should be very aware of the various problems your product can solve, based on the needs of your niche.

But there’s a problem with pain-based marketing: People are starting to become more and more willing to ignore the pain.

After everything that 2020 threw at us, people are more willing to adapt to whatever situation they’re in. They’ll find something. They’ll make it work. Statistics show that people are even less willing to seek out medical care when they’re in pain, so they’re probably not going to buy some extraneous product, just because they agree there’s a need.

So now what?

Promised-Based Marketing Inspires Action

What’s the opposite of doom-and-gloom pain? Hope!

While marketing your products or services based on their ability to relieve pain has been the standard for many years, people are done with the constant reminder that their lives aren’t happy enough. Instead, they want something to look forward to. They want hope.

Enter “the promise”. 

Marketing based on promises taps into good feelings. Instead of “buy this today so you don’t have to experience these problems ever again”, promise-based marketing gives customers something to look forward to. “Buying this today will ensure you have x,y,z for the foreseeable future”

promise-based marketing

Think about some of the commercials or ads you’ve seen lately. How do they make you feel? Do you feel nervous about not having the product being sold, or do you find yourself feeling inspired by the product being sold?

While pain-based marketing acknowledges all of the problems that can be solved by purchasing a certain object or signing up for a specific service, promise-based marketing invokes feelings of happiness and contentment.

Sometimes, these pleasant feelings are evoked by an image, or a well-tuned slogan or snippet of content. Other times, marketers directly make a promise to their audience. “100% satisfaction, or your money back!” “Free return shipping!” “Lowest prices on the internet!” All of these are very important promises for people who aren’t in a position to be carefree with their spending.

So Should You Focus on Pain or Promises?

Some of the most effective modern marketing campaigns touch on both pain and promises. Through text or images, they acknowledge the problem, but build the content around making promises to relieve that stress. 

Political campaigns, for example, have been using this format for as long as anyone can remember. That’s not to say that your business has to solve world debt or cure a major disease, but pay attention to how political ads tap into the emotions of the audience. 

Acknowledging the pain your audience is experiencing can help build trust, but if you focus too much on the problems your product solves, you might lose the audience’s interest. Instead, move quickly into the promises.

Read also: Why Storytelling is a crucial skill for your Business

Focus on the benefits of your product or services. What makes it unique? What makes it wonderful? What are some of the positive outcomes people can expect if they purchase your product or services?

Focusing on the promises your business can make is a great way to inspire hope and happiness in your audience. That rush of positivity can inspire your customers to take action, whether that means signing up for an email list with the promise of future discounts and important content, or making a purchase that promises a risk-free opportunity to get exactly what they need to make them happy right now.



Teachingbiz provides internet marketing services and education to digital entrepreneurs and marketers who want to learn how to build and scale their businesses.

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