Removing the “Pain Point” language to empower your ideal client

Pain points are painful. Here at Humane Marketing, instead of focusing solely on the negative aspects of our client’s lives, we want to empower them by acknowledging their challenges and offering solutions that alleviate their pain and also help them overcome obstacles and achieve their goals.

Pain Points Synonym = Challenges

The words we use have a big impact on how we think and feel and how we make our clients feel. When we change the way we talk about problems from “pain points” to “challenges,” it makes them feel more positive and empowered. Instead of only looking at the negative parts of their experiences, this different approach recognizes the difficulties they face and gives them hope for finding solutions. By seeing challenges as chances for personal growth, we can embrace them and become better versions of ourselves.

Humane Marketing: focus on the positive, instead of the negative!

Here at Humane Marketing we work with entrepreneurs and Changemakers, people who truly care about their clients! They are intrigued by Humane Marketing because they want to share their work, often their life’s work, but they’re very put off by the traditional marketing lingo and tactics, that are supposedly based on human psychology, but used in a very disempowering way. “I want to share my offerings and get more clients… but not by shaming people and making them feel bad. I want to do marketing in a way that’s humane and aligned with my values.”

When you follow the mainstream marketing advice on how to sell, you’ll often hear that you have to address people’s pain points. But you’re here, because this word ‘pain points’ just doesn’t resonate with you. And we don’t like it either!

So how do you get people’s attention, without ‘pushing their pain points’?

If you don’t have much time, start with these 4 steps: 

  1. Focus on Positive Messaging: Instead of highlighting problems or pain points, emphasize positive aspects such as solutions, benefits, and opportunities. Use language that inspires and motivates rather than evoking negative emotions.
  1. Offer Value and Solutions: Provide valuable content that addresses your people’s needs and interests. Offer practical and ethical solutions, tips, or insights that demonstrate your expertise and help your audience solve their challenges.

  2. Build Trust Through Empathy: Show genuine empathy and understanding towards your people’s experiences and struggles. Acknowledge their challenges without exploiting or amplifying their pain points. Demonstrate that you care about their well-being and are committed to helping them succeed.
  1. Focus on Connection and Engagement: Foster authentic connections with your people by engaging in meaningful conversations, listening to their feedback, and responding to their needs. Create a supportive community where people feel valued and understood, rather than pressured or manipulated.

I’ve been on this journey of reinventing marketing, turning it on its head really and starting from within, for many years now. And there is so much to say about all these pushy and manipulative techniques that I’ve written a book about it and called it Marketing Like We’re Human.

But you didn’t come here to read a book 😉 So what I have done is bring ALL of the info regarding pain points and the impact of that kind of marketing language together in this post to give you the essential guide for how to change from a pushy to a more humane approach to marketing. 

I believe marketing needs to feel like a conversation between two friends. Friends don't usually say 'pain points.' They talk about 'challenges' because it feels more relatable. – Claudia Guerreiro, The Conscious Marketing Movement Share on X

Addressing ‘Pain Points’ with Empathy

Talking about ‘pain points’ doesn’t really feel good. Instead we address our clients challenges, empathize (not sympathize!) with them and then show them a different perspective, a path to the solution they are seeking. This approach focuses on the positive, it lets us show that we understand and care, that we get it and that it’s not their fault that they experience this challenge. This way we establish trust and loyalty, and create a long-lasting relationship with our people.

Ready to market without Pain Points? Get the 1-Page Humane Marketing Plan Today!

The Current Way People Use Empathy in Marketing

Most current marketing advice and practices do not rely on empathy.
Instead, experts tell us to ‘talk about pain points’ and ‘twist the knife in the wound’. Not exactly empathic! 
Marketing ‘gurus’ tell us to use

  • Fear.
    ‘Buy this, or you’ll never have a 6-figure business’.
  • Shame.
    ‘Are you still sitting on the couch eating potato chips while your friends are dating? No wonder you’re still single!’ 
  • Manipulation.
    ‘This amazing offer ends tomorrow and will never come back again’.

At best, we’re taught to use ‘sympathy’. 

An example of the use of sympathy is when we point out a problem, blow it out of proportion, make people feel bad about it, and express that we’re sorry about their experience. Then tell them, ‘thankfully, we have the magic wand solution’.

Sympathy is not equal to empathy.

Brené Brown explains the difference best:

“Empathy fuels connection. Sympathy drives disconnection.” – Brené Brown Share on X

The traditional marketing model does not work for us sensitive types who genuinely care. It makes us uncomfortable and out of alignment with our values and integrity. 

We truly care and don’t feel good tricking people into buying.

So how can we use empathy in our marketing?

5 Ways of Using Empathy in Marketing

Be Authentic

Capturing the feeling of authenticity is easier said than done. You need to feel authentic to be authentic. 
So, how do we ‘act authentically’?
The first thing you need to do is take time to learn who YOU are.

Start with these questions:

  • Reflect on your values and beliefs. 
  • Explore your interests and passions.
  • Think deeply about your definition of success.
  • Find out how you’re wired – are you an introvert or an extrovert?
  • Listen to your body.

Read this article on ‘How to Find Your Authentic Self’.

Or go straight to the ‘Marketing Like We’re Human’ book, where I vulnerably share my journey about rumbling with who I am.

Assure Clients You Can Solve Their Problem

How can you make your ideal client aware of your solution without succumbing to scare tactics?
Fortunately, humans have a built-in system that makes this much more straightforward than it sounds.

Have you ever experienced one of the following situations?

  • You are considering buying a new car and have picked out the brand, and suddenly, you see that specific car everywhere. 
  • You’re in a foreign country where you don’t understand the language, but it seems like you keep bumping into fellow English speakers.
  • You’re considering a new haircut, and suddenly, you see dozens of people with that style.

That is a collection of nerves in your brain doing their job – the reticular activating system (RAS) – which takes what you focus on and creates a filter for it.

When it needs to recall something, the RAS sifts through the data and presents only pieces that are relevant to you.
You can activate your clients’ reticular activating system by discussing their problems on your website and in your communications. 

Show you understand their emotions and have experience helping others with similar issues.

Without exaggeration and manipulation, your message will pass your ideal client’s filter and make them pay attention to your message.

Make Your Clients Feel Heard and Seen

Traditional marketing is often disempowering. Instead, we want to be great at empowering our ideal clients to make sensible buying decisions. 

We tell them we understand their problem because we have either spent time with a similar problem or have researched it; we understand the anguish. 

As a business owner, your goal is not to convince your clients to buy your solution but to have consumer empathy. The goal is to make them feel heard and seen. They must trust that you want what’s in their best interest.

You might be interested in ‘A Reframe for Customer-Centric Selling‘. 

Empathy in Marketing

Prefer watching me talk about this? Click the image above to see my 20-minute presentation on the Highly Sensitive Person Awakening Summit, organized by Jen Corcoran.

Tell Them It’s Not Their Fault

So far, we’ve addressed our ideal client’s problem and expressed that we understand because maybe we have been in a similar situation. 
Empathy now guides us to go further and say, “It’s not your fault.” Thank you, Dana Wilde, Mindset and Marketing Expert, for that phrase.

Often, clients will come to you ‘with emotional baggage’. They have already been exposed for years to hype marketing, being shamed, and feeling that it’s their fault that they are not successful enough, wealthy enough or wise enough.

Use your intuition and feel all that your clients aren’t telling you. I know you ‘feel in the air’. Then simply let them know, ‘It’s not your fault.’.
Become aware of the “whole human” you serve, not just the problem you’re trying to solve. 
Do your best to understand why they have the problem and how you can help solve it gently and holistically.
No need to talk about pain points!

Ready to market without pain points? Get the 1-Page Humane Marketing Plan today!

Build Trust in Marketing

One key way to build trust is by being consistent, transparent, and reliable in all aspects of your marketing efforts.
Maintain a consistent brand image, messaging, and customer experience across all your channels, from website to social media.

  • Design elements. 
  • Messaging.
  • Tone – your emails reflect you, not some stiff professional.
  • Pictures of you, your real authentic self.

By being consistent, the audience trusts that they will have a similar experience regardless of which platform they engage in. 
You reflect your values in all your interactions with integrity. Trust is built on transparency. Be open and honest about your intentions and truthful in all your communications.

For example, 

  • When you share an affiliate link and will receive a commission, point it out. The books mentioned in this blog post are affiliate links.
  • Share when you mess up. 
  • Don’t overpromise results you can’t guarantee. 

Trust is built on reliability. 

Be dependable in all aspects of your business, including,

  • The quality of services or products. 
  • Meeting deadlines. 
  • Responses to client inquiries promptly and kindly. 
  • Offering quality content even before people buy.

Reliability builds customer trust and shows you can be relied upon to deliver your promises. And that you value your client’s time.

Position yourself as an authority in your field. Be consistent, transparent, and reliable; you’ll create a strong sense of trust with your audience and establish extended relationships.

Other Humane Synonyms for Common Marketing Terms similar to Pain Points

🚩 If you’re new to Humane Marketing you will really appreciate our Humane Marketing Words Glossary. It includes a series of words we love, and also many reframes for the pushy marketing language such as pain points.

Sales Funnel or Sales Pipeline Becomes Gentle Sales Path

We don’t like the idea of shoving our potential clients through a funnel. It feels inhumane.

But we still need a name for the way we get to know prospects. 

How about the ‘gentle sales path’ instead?

Can you feel the energy is different?

A gentle sales path is different for every client, and it’s not forceful like a funnel. A gentle sales path guides the client on a journey, empowering them to make their own buying decision.

Read this blog post on Customer-Centric Selling.

Target Market (or Target Audience) Becomes Ideal Clients

‘Target market’ is another phrase we’re not big fans of here at Humane Marketing. We’re into non-violent communication

The very term target market feels violent. It feels like we’re hunting our clients down and shooting them down. Our clients aren’t targets. 

Instead, we want to bring more of ourselves and our worldview to our marketing so that we resonate with our ideal clients.

Tripwire Becomes ‘Impact Offer’

Wow, congratulations to the marketer who came up with this term!

Let’s replace this low frequency with a much more high frequency term like ‘Impact Offer’.

Instead of creating a very low value offer and trying to lure clients in so that you can then push them down your Sales Funnel to your high-end ticket offer, create an ‘Impact Offer’.

And impact offer is a stand alone offer at a lower rate that has so much impact on your clients, that they WANT to go deeper and to the next step to get closer to you.

Leads Become Humans or Ideal Clients

We’re in the human-to-human business, not the leads business. Therefore, we don’t talk about lead generation. 

Humane marketers connect with people and understand their wants and needs; by crafting marketing messages that speak to them directly.

Read our post about humanizing leads – and a synonym for the word ‘leads’.

Lead Magnets Become Signposts

Like with the Sales Funnel, we don’t like the idea of ‘sucking’ in leads with a magnet. 

Instead, we create signposts on our Gentle Sales Path where ideal clients can sit, rest and appreciate the information we share. 

A signpost might be a blog post, a podcast episode or a newsletter. They gently direct our audience to our available products in a fun and friendly manner. 

Read our post about humanizing leads – and a synonym for the word ‘lead magnets’.

Implementing Humane Marketing in Your Business

Traditional marketing brainwashed us with this idea of our client’s avatar.

The client is king, they told us. Know thy client. Every marketing course I ever took went on and on about how important it was to know your client’s avatar or customer personas.

I suggest we reverse the model and selfishly start with ourselves. In Humane Marketing, we understand ourselves to understand who our clients are. This understanding helps us to truly resonate with them. Because, after all, we want to experience ease and joy in our business, don’t we?

We have a three-step process to help you marketing without pain points or any other manipulative techniques.

Ready to market without pain points? Get the 1-Page Humane Marketing Plan Today!

Phase 1 – Rumble

Forget your client’s avatar. Start with yourself. In the Marketing Like We’re Human book, I call this stage ‘RUMBLE’. We’re rumbling with our story, with our values, with our worldview.  In the process, we’ll help our ideal client in a way that’s better for them. Figure out who YOU are and what YOU want so you attract ideal clients who are a good fit for YOU. 

How do you figure out who you are? Here are a few ideas:

  1. Find out your personality type by taking the MBTI test.
  2. Research your Human Design.
  3. Learn more about your astrological sign.
  4. Find your Character Strengths with the VIA Survey.
  5. Discover your Sparketype.

Only if we truly know who we are can we have real Human-to-Human interactions. This is also true for companies.

Phase 2 – Rise

Stop conforming. Be different and rise.
The second phase is your permission slip to stop conforming. You’re different, and it’s time to rise above the noise and the “shoulds”. The rising phase of human marketing is about using your unique (and quirky) superpowers in your marketing, giving yourself permission to be different. 

It’s about marketing your way—aligned with your worldview and values—while feeling good and having fun.

And remember, you’re not alone: rising is more fun together with like-minded partners who have the same intention of using business for good and making this world a better place. Check out our Humane Marketing Circle to find out more.

Phase 3 – Resonate

Stop chasing after clients. Instead, attract those in harmony with your beliefs and guiding principles.
In traditional marketing, we started with a solution and chased after a problem. We treated our clients as if they were problems. In Humane Marketing, we create a solution that we’re passionate about and know solves a specific problem. Then we communicate.

Marketing = Connection. 
Connection = Communication.

In this third phase, we finally get curious about our clients. It’s not only about who they are and where they live; we want to get into their brains and find out what they think and feel. Going deep helps us really understand them and then apply empathy in our communication. Once we know who our clients are and what they’re struggling with, we’re ready to communicate. Not only do we understand their problem, but we also have the same value system and a similar worldview. We think alike, read the same books and listen to the same podcasts. 

Human Marketing helps us to “get” our clients; we just happen to also have a solution to their problem.
Resonating is about attracting, not chasing (and no need for pain points), and attracting starts with ourselves.

Bring More of Yourself to Your Humane Marketing

To attract like-minded people, we need to give customer-centric marketing a rest and bring more of ourselves to our marketing. Not more of our product—more of our stories, our values, and our worldview. It’s everything we discovered about ourselves in RUMBLE.

Rumble, Rise, Resonate. 

These are the three stages I suggest we work through to truly unlock the power of Human Marketing. 
They’re not a quick fix since Humane Marketing is not about pushing products and selling quick fixes. 
Instead, Humane Marketing helps you create long term sustainable relationships with clients who will become your biggest fans. 

Ready to market without Pain Points? Get the 1-Page Humane Marketing Plan Today!

The 7Ps of Humane Marketing to Market Without Pain Points

The 7Ps of Humane Marketing and its 1-Page Humane Marketing Plan is a roadmap for Changemakers who want to market without pain points.
Rooted in reflection, they start with the P of Passion to think about our bigger WHY and then continue to help us figure our very own Personal Power: what’s our story?, how are we wired?, what are our values and our worldview? Picture this journey as an exploration of our vision, mission, values and the unique strengths we bring to the table. By intertwining Passion, Personal Power, People and Partnership with traditional elements like Product, Price, and Promotion, the 7Ps of Humane Marketing carve a path that not only resonates with our ideal clients but also amplifies the impact of our business.

It’s a holistic approach, where every marketing decision reflects the depth of our commitment, echoing the principles of a truly humane and conscious business.

>> Read more about the 7Ps of Humane Marketing.
>> Read more about Marketing for Changemakers

Recap: From ‘Pain Points’ to a Humane Marketing Approach

By shifting how we look at things from “pain points” to “challenges,” we help our clients see their problems in a more positive and determined way. Our words become a tool that gives strength, offering hope when things are tough.

Empathy and kindness is at the center of our approach. As Humane Marketers, we know that everyone’s journey is unique, with ups and downs. Instead of just feeling sorry for our clients’ problems, we truly understand their experiences. This difference lets us stand with them, giving guidance and a new way to see things. By doing this, we show them that they’re not alone in their struggles.

This new approach also builds trust and loyalty. By recognizing our clients’ challenges without blaming anyone, we create a safe space for honest conversations. This leads to a deeper connection—one built on understanding, being real, and sharing goals.

Other Resources You Might Enjoy

Blog post: Empathy in Marketing

Blog post: Empathy in Sales: How to Sell with Heart & Mind 

Blog post: The Humane Marketing Glossary: Humane Marketing Words we love




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Your contact information is safe, and will not be used in ways
other than stated on this page.