Pain Point SEO
Sometimes, I like to think about what I'd create first to market a new startup. It's a fun thought exercise.
The traffic figures that can come from high volume search terms are a really heady drug – but most of the time they'll give you too much dutch courage. They'll rarely convert at the rate that you expect them to.
Or would I go after following either a wiki strategy or a microsites 2.0 approach? Maybe. At least that way I'd be targeting things with different intent levels. Particularly with the microsites framework.
But then I remember that I created several pages in the last year that have converted upwards of 15% of traffic (as high as 22.5%) since they were published.
And the highest converting? It took me like 20 mins to create.
How did I do that? Using Grow and Convert's Pain Point SEO framework.
Focus on clear pain points, not search volume
Search volume will likely be important to you at some point (and probably very quickly if you do things well).
But when you're just starting out with your content marketing efforts, you should be looking at the primary goal: get people to use your product.
Well, you focus on addressing their pain points because those are the things that they want to go away and will use your product to alleviate that pain if you tell them how.
Writing posts that address pain points will likely (but not always) result in low search volume but ultimately higher conversions. Here's a case study snippet from Grow and Convert:
For example, continuing from the screenshot above, here is the 16th highest traffic article in that time period, bringing in only 1,612 pageviews in that period, but an amazing 39 product signups for this SaaS company.
The best bit about this is that with a little audience research and some writing time, you should be able to start to get users relatively quickly.
You're already familiar with pain point SEO
Most likely you already see pain point posts all the time but you might not recognise the term itself.
Grow and Convert highlight five 'kinds' of post that you often see created to achieve this goal:
- Comparison posts
- Best product lists
- Alternatives to X
- Articles that talk about pricing – a great opportunity to talk about competitors' hidden pricing
- Product use cases
These kinds of posts are really close to the buying intent that will enable you to create high impact from day one of your product's website.
Where do you find ideas for this stuff?
Finding the ideas for this content should be easy for you if you've got a keen understanding of your target customer.
Essentially, all of the ideas should come from your prospects and your customers [...] our entire strategy starts with having a in-depth understanding of your customers. If you know your customers inside and out, you’ll be able to come up with content ideas that your competitors won’t target because they’ll be focused on traffic while you’ll be focused on helping your customers and future customers solve problems.
If you don't know what problems your customers are facing already, you're obviously not going to be able to repeat this strategy successfully.
On the other hand, a little effort in customer discovery will win you huge leverage for all your marketing work.
There's a number of ways to understand your customers better and really there's enough in the topic to write several (dozen) books. But here's a couple of ideas:
- Call your customers on the phone
- Ask customers to give you examples of previous tools they used in your onboarding flow (for use in competitor comparison posts)
- Send them open ended surveys – question ideas are included in the G&C post and I created a survey template for you to use here. (Side note: I have seen good success from treating templates as pain point posts. By the time a searcher types in 'xyz template' there's a good chance they're wanting to use a product)
- Customer support requests where a user talks about a use case
- Review usage data of your product to discover what kinds of things people are doing with the product – create how-to posts based on these things
- Search sites like G2 and Capterra for your competitor products to understand what people like/dislike about them. Validate these insights by interviewing customers who previously used the competitor product
There's obviously more you can do here.
I have used an Airtable base in the past to store customer insights specifically related to pain points and structured it in such a way that it's easy to search, categorise sources and segment by user type.
A word of caution on BOFU
One fairly unique take on TOFU, MOFU and BOFU content comes from the Ahrefs blog. Their article on Keyword Research points out that it's just not always that clear what people are searching for:
Second, it’s quite challenging to assign each keyword a definitive TOFU, MOFU, or BOFU label because things aren’t always that clear cut. For example, “link building tool” could be a MOFU or BOFU keyword for us. It depends on how you look at it.
Instead, they propose a scoring system to work out where their product may fit into the customer journey. Here's how it looks:
My view is that this is a very effective way to think about funnel stages in a more realistic way than the over-simplified TOFU, MOFU and BOFU.
What would a version of this table look like for your organisation? Ping me on Twitter!
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