Quick Win Copy Tip #2: Kick Pain Points

by | Jun 11, 2018

What keeps you up at night?


Last night, I couldn’t sleep to save my life.

I kept tossing and turning, thinking about the best way to travel from NYC to Kentucky with our two crazy dogs for a wedding.

Since it can be pretty dangerous to put a pup in the cargo hold of a plane, we don’t want to fly.

There’s no trains between NYC and KY, and you can’t bring huge dogs on a bus (especially one with special needs).

So really the only option is driving.

But we live in NYC. So we don’t have a car. And we don’t want to get hit with the “driver under 25” fee for a rental…

……Probably you right now:

BUT ANYWAY, to me, it was quite the conundrum. And I couldn’tfreaking sleep.

Which brings me to…

QWCT #2: Pain points MUST keep your audience up at night.

You’ll hear over and over again that you gotta speak to your audience’s burning pain points.

But burning pain points are more than minor annoyances.

Burning pain points nag at you. They stick in your head and invade your thoughts.

Keep in mind, I didn’t say “Pain points are the things that make your audience cry alone in a dark closet.” You don’t need to go that deep.

You just have to find something that actually matters to people.

Something that leaves ’em like:
The other night, I wanted my traveling-with-dogs problem SOLVED.

You can bet that if someone had busted through my window at 2am offering me a personalized NYC to KY pup-shuttling service, I would’ve told ’em to shut up and take my money.

But here’s the thing: by the time I finally woke up, I’d chilled out. I’d mellowed. It wasn’t as pressing anymore.

If someone had busted through my window then, I’d probably be more pissed that they busted through my window.

Overall, this is a problem for entrepreneurs. We make products that solve burning pain points — but if a person’s burning pain point isn’t at the forefront, then you lose leverage.

So what’s any good salesperson to do?

Kick ’em in the pain point.

Some of you might be thinking “What!!! That’s so violent!!” And you’re not wrong. But the famous copywriter Dan Kennedy uses the phrase “bleeding neck,” so “kick ’em in the pain point” is pretty conservative by comparison.


So now, let’s circle back to those three pieces of copy we looked at last time and see if we can’t improve them.

QWCT #1 (AKA “ain’t nobody care about you”), we talked about EQ — the Ego Quotient. 

As a reminder, here’s where we left off with our copy after the first revision.

  • “Your teeth deserve to be treated by the #1 dentist in all of north-central Cleveland.”
  • “The raft Minnesotans have relied on since the big flood of 1972.”
  • “Meet your new favorite well-made shirt. Our shirts are the best!”

Now, let’s kick ’em in the pain point with QWCT #2:

  • “Can’t ignore that toothache any longer? Let the #1 dentist in all of north-central Cleveland fix you up.”
  • “The last thing you want is for your raft to pop when you’re towing your kid behind your boat. That’s why you want a raft so trustworthy it survived the big flood of 1972.”
  • “Ever get stuck standing in front of your full closet thinking, ‘I have nothing to wear’? Meet your new go-to shirt.”

Again, is this copy any good? No.

But is it better? Yes, much.

And it’ll keep getting better when we hit it again next time with QWCT #3.


Action Steps


  1. First, get in your target audience’s shoes.
  2. Ask yourself, why would your target audience buy your product/service?
  3. Now, ask yourself, does that problem keep them up at night?
  4. If yes, you’ve found the perfect place to kick.
  5. If no, circle back to the top. Ask why again and again, going one layer deeper, until you find a real pain point.

Step 5 is based on the “5 Whys” problem-solving method made famous by Sakichi Toyoda, the head of Toyota Motors. It’s meant to help identify a solution to a problem by probing (lol what a word) deeper into the root cause.

Basically, if someone came to him with a problem, he would ask “Why?” over and over. It usually only took 5 whys to figure out the core issue.

Here’s an example of how it works in the Action Steps above:

What they want: Fishing rod


Why do they want a fishing rod?
So they can catch fish.
Does “catching fish” keep them up at night?
Okay. So, why do they want to catch fish better?
To make the fishing experience as stress-free as possible.
Does that keep them up at night?
Not really.
Then, why do they want their “fishing experience to be as stress-free as possible”
Because they want nice bonding time with their kid.
Ahhhhh. Does THAT keep them up at night?
Eh, not exactly.
So why do they want “nice bonding time with their kid”?
Because they want to be a good dad and help their kid grow up well-adjusted.
Does that keep them up at night?
YES! They’re constantly worried they’re messing up!!!

And bingo was his name-o. Put a target on that sucker — that’s where you kick!

It only took 4 whys, but we got there.


“Don’t let a crappy fishing rod ruin your father-son getaway. Get a fishing rod that’s reliable.”

Try it yourself, and let me know how it goes. Did your audience’s most burning pain point surprise you? Comment and let me know!

Next time, we’ll get into how to soothe that aching, kicked pain point with QWCT #3 .
 . . .  ~*~*~*~positivity~*~*~*

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