5 B2B research strategies to learn more about your users’ pain points
“The only important thing about design is how it relates to people.” – designer, educator, and author Victor Papanek
Okay, yes. We’re a marketing agency. Though we’re not fond of the term, it’s what we are.
Terminology doesn’t change the fact that we’ve made it our mission to approach marketing, design, and experience development in a distinct way: placing user and competitive research at the center of our brand development process.
User research helps you understand your prospects’ pain points – those pesky problems that impact their daily decisions.
What makes them tick? What problems do they continue to face?
Which of these problems is your product or service best suited to solve for them?
Show your prospects that you’re the best solution to their problem. When you understand their pain points, you hold the key to being a part of their day-to-day happiness.
Okay, maybe we get a little cheesy with our analyses, but it’s the truth. That’s how we help our clients build trust with their audience, creating strong connections that last.
Without understanding your prospects’ roles, where they work, what their day looks like in terms of workflow and task lists, you’re taking a shot in the dark trying to craft a message that hits home.
To attract, capture, and keep new customers, identify the problems they face. Then, speak directly to those pain points in your messaging. Use these five strategies to gain the insights you need for an effective B2B content marketing plan:
1 – Review community boards where your target audience hangs out to discover their most common problems.
Find where there are buzz-generating topics floating around your industry, and listen in.
Here are a few of our favorite places to check out:
- Reddit for digging deep into threads of authentic conversations.
- ProductHunt to understand the hype.
- Quora for finding questions and answers around your product and industry.
- Open Slack channels to join in the conversation of relevant communities. See what other content marketers are up to in Slack communities like Superpath.
- Apps like Clubhouse and Medium to listen in and gain valuable insight on the opinions of your prospects.
Be sure to note any problems that are frequently mentioned.
Are the same issues continuously brought up?
Are members of your target audience relating over the same problems
How are they discussing these problems as a community?
Are different segments of your audience experiencing different problems?
Candid conversations between members of your target audience are gold mines for insight.
2 – Create a community of your own to guide the conversation around potential pain points.
Start the dialogue FOR your target audience. Be direct. Ask them about the problems they’re facing.
Open a Slack channel to encourage conversation. Create a Substack newsletter to update customers about product features and benefits. Start a feedback-only email address or Twitter handle so you can keep helpful comments organized for your own research.
Use these avenues to keep your audience engaged with your brand while you gather valuable feedback.
3 – Run small market research reports to pinpoint areas for improvement.
It’s all in the numbers. Understanding the data behind your prospects’ actions is a daunting task for marketers. Fortunately, services like Centiment make it easy, helping you use data to identify specific pain points that plague your audience.
Centiment helps you gather relevant data through surveys provided to your target audience. They collect the responses and analyze the data to help you meet your goals.
Use these reports to identify common customer pain points and uncover potential areas for change in your B2B content marketing strategy.
4 – Create interactive polls or quizzes to structure your feedback.
Like creating a community, interactive polls and quizzes allow you to be direct with your audience, asking those hard-hitting questions about their daily pains.
Because polls and quizzes are more structured, you can hone in on key information without running the risk of a wild internet tangent. Although, unsolicited tangents are the mother lode for uncovering customer pain points.
5- Conduct cohort experiments to compare audience segments.
Finally, consider conducting cohort experiments. Take segments of your prospective and actual customers and run experiments. Which parts of your messaging seem to click with your audience? Which parts fall flat?
When comparing cohorts, can you identify any holes in your strategy? Are certain pain points more apparent in either group? You can measure resonance across awareness, usability, and loyalty to the brand (brand trust).
The perks of digging deeper into the pains of your audience
Use a combination of these tips to help you uncover your prospects’ major pain points. From there, you’ll have gathered valuable information you can use to structure an informed B2B marketing plan, a plan that speaks directly to your prospects’ pain points.
Take Jessica Alba for example. When she first approached investors with her idea for a line of clean, eco-friendly baby products, Alba was turned down. The investors struggled to see the market’s need for her products.
Believing in her idea, Alba kept her target audience at the heart of her project. They had a problem. She had the solution.
After three years of digging deeper into their pain points, she’d bridged the two together. With a strong pitch, she won over investors and went on to build her billion-dollar startup, The Honest Company.
The moral of the story? Research requires time and effort, but woah, is it worth it.
Here’s some good news. You don’t have to head back to the drawing board. Lean into what you already know.
Conducting quality research eliminates the guesswork behind your approach. It’s reassurance that what you’re creating will attract the right people. More importantly, you’ll leave a lasting impression on your audience as a brand that solves their problems. Now that’s a win-win situation.