This marketing advice is so pervasive that every entrepreneur hears it at some point: Find your clients’ pain points. Pain points are, in short, a problem your client has that relates to your product or service. While pain points marketing may seem logical on the surface, there are more ethical ways to effectively market your business. In this blog post, we take a look at conventional advice on pain points marketing, an ethical approach to marketing, and key takeaways for entrepreneurs interested in a different way of doing business.

Conventional Pain Points Marketing

Traditional marketing advice often starts with asking what a client’s pain points are when they encounter our services. Typically, people come to us in the midst of a process, whether it’s planning a wedding or planning for their retirement. Their pain points are the things in that process that hurt. 

Let’s take a look at a common pain point for people getting married. They’re worried about family tensions that could disrupt their celebrations. Someone marketing with pain points would turn that into: “I get it. You’re worried about the family drama ruining your day.” 

After naming the pain point, the next step is to offer a solution. For the pain point above, the solution might look like this: “I’ll keep the focus on you and your vision so you don’t have to freak out about what your relatives might do.”

An Ethical Marketing Approach

Pain points marketing tries to get people into a heightened emotional state in order to get them to spend money. Emotion itself isn’t bad. In fact, feelings are at the center of marketing – and being a human. We can get clients excited about our services without triggering shame, FOMO, or trauma-related emotions, though. That’s where ethical marketing comes in.

An ethical marketing approach invites entrepreneurs to be aware of how people might be feeling but not to assume. We only really know what people choose to share with us directly. It’s more prudent to focus on how a service makes people feel. If you can get testimonials from clients, all the better! Social proof is a powerful tool in ethical marketing as long as it isn’t used to incite FOMO. 

A growing number of entrepreneurs are also interested in being trauma-informed in their marketing and sales. This means being sensitive to potential triggers. In the example from the previous section, “family drama” might stem from a divorce or other traumatic event. Wedding vendors can appeal to marriers without stirring up bad childhood memories with pain points marketing.

3 Takeaways for Ethical Entrepreneurs

If this is the first time you’ve heard a critique of pain points marketing, take some time. Know that unlearning these types of marketing techniques is a lifelong practice because it’s practically the air we breathe. Give yourself (and other people) some grace.

Here are three things you can do to get away from pain points marketing in your business: 

  1. Focus on the positives. In other words, show people the benefits of working with you. How do you make their lives better? How does that make them feel? 

What this looks like: My copywriting clients feel relief when they know that their SEO blogging is taken care of, and they can focus on the parts of their businesses they love.

  1. Be concrete in your claims. By saying exactly what it is that you do, you’ll feel less compelled to harp on people’s anxieties.

What this looks like: Your wedding photography package includes a digital gallery and files backed up in multiple formats for a minimum of one year. I always have a backup plan for your priceless memories.

  1. Avoid assumptions about people’s lives. Entrepreneurs often say, “I get it. You’re having a hard time with X because Y.” The truth is that we don’t know what’s going on in the lives of the people who encounter our content marketing.

What this looks like: I could be the right coach for you if you want to work with someone who has experience working with neurodivergent entrepreneurs.

All of these shifts communicate compelling benefits to clients without making them feel anxious unnecessarily.

Does this post have you curious to learn more about effective ethical marketing? We share our best tips weekly to our email list! Sign up to get practical marketing and sales tips for building a more ethical business. 

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