Warning: Graphic content! (Not really.)

I asked my first copy chief, an intimidatingly enormous Irishman from Y&R named Tom Hagan, what his favorite headline of all time was.

Tom, being an eminently scorched-earth pragmatist, said, “Hemorrhoids?” which at the time was on a Preparation H subway sign in NYC.

Research tells us that the ideal headline contains between 60 and 120 characters. By this metric, Tom’s favorite headline is a failure. But if the goal of a headline is to demonstrate an intimate understanding of your target’s pain, “Hemorrhoids” belongs in the Hall of Fame.

My sister-in-law tells a story about the time a male doctor told her that menstrual cramps were no different from abdominal cramps.  Aside from the physical impossibility of him knowing this, his cavalier attitude towards someone else’s pain quickly demonstrated that she needed to find another doctor.

Both of these anecdotes illustrate my main point for today: Find the specific pain that bothers your customers most, become uniquely qualified to relieve that pain, and relieve it. Stay focused.

And yes, this is yet another niche post. (I really don’t know when I’m going to run out of things to say about finding your niche.) But it is absolutely true that when it comes to providing a great service at a premium price, knowing “where it hurts” is the most powerful thing in the world.

Research shows that if you can articulate the “pain” even better than the person experiencing it, they can easily trust that you have the solution for it. Now, you might think “easier said than done,” but it’s really just a matter of finding your own strengths and passions and using them to help your customer.

I have spent a lot of time in the last year thinking and writing about how to find your niche. Someone suggested that I put some of the nichey blog posts together in a booklet, so I did. Sign up for our newsletter at the bottom of the page and we’ll send you a free download of Narrow Thinking. And if you’d like to talk about finding your niche and feeling their pain, shoot me an e-mail at Scott@doubledareyou.us and we can set up a call.

photo credit: dalioPhoto far corners of a fridge via photopin (license)