How to Write Pain Points Without Being a Downer

You’ve heard it over and over again from all the copywriting experts out there.

You have to talk about the “pain” in your copy before you can talk about the pleasure.

Why? Two reasons.

  1. Because your prospect needs to know that you understand what they are going through. There is a certain degree of empathy that must be established so you can start connecting with your reader on a deeper level. It’s this empathy that will make you stand out.
  2. This one is a bit simpler: you can’t offer up a solution without first establishing a problem.

But there’s a tightrope you have to walk here.

Nobody likes a “Gloomy Gus”. If you start going on and on about all their problems, you’re going to turn off your reader.

After all, they know what they’re going through, so they don’t need you to drone on and on about it, especially if the challenges are personal, like self-sabotage, low self-esteem, low self-confidence, anxiety, stress, panic disorder, and the list goes on.

If they start reading too much about their internal struggles, they will be in no mood to hear all the good news to follow.

On the other hand, if you don’t address they’re challenges enough, or you ignore them completely, you can come across as someone who is only interested in making the sale. This is a huge turn-off because it’s all they see online these days. They are bombarded with emails, social media ads, even radio and TV commercials that are only interested in separating them from their money.

So how do you walk that tightrope? How do you show empathy on your website, sales pages, emails and product funnels without being a Pollyanna or a Debbie Downer?

3 ways.

This first one may sound like a cliché, but the answer lies within.

Think about yourself and your own challenges in your life. Think back to when you were struggling and remember how you felt.

Then, after you finish writing your first draft. Read it through that lens of your own experiences. One of the challenges people have with writing their own copy is that they tend to go with their first drafts because they just want to be done with it and move on.

But if you go back and read through the pain points in your first draft within the context of your own past experiences, you will start to gain a new perspective on both the quantity and the quality of the words you’re using.

The second way is to ask friends, family and colleagues to take a look at how you expressed the pain points in your writing and let you know honestly, assuring them that they won’t hurt your feelings, how it looks to them and how it makes them feel.

And third, use the rule of thumb of 2-4 sentences of struggles, challenges and “pain” descriptions within a single paragraph.  This isn’t a hard and fast rule, but if all else fails you can try it this way.

The bottom line is that you shouldn’t offer a solution (ie: your services) without first establishing the problem (ie: pain points) in any of your marketing collateral.

It will take some practice and some trial and error to get this just right for your particular target audience, but once you do you can start focusing on all the other necessary persuasion elements that will bring in more clients across every platform.

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