Email Lesson #2: How Basecamp & Drift leverage problems to convert customers

by Basilis Kanonidis

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Your customers have a problem. A big, glaring problem that you can solve. All you need to do is convince them of your powers.

Learn from Churnbuster, Basecamp and Drift how to use the customer’s problem to showcase the value of your product!

There’s a problem with your SaaS website!!

Okay I was being dramatic: There’s no PROBLEM with your website.

But maybe there should be one ON it.

The customer’s problem: spelled out. On your website.

Mentioned in bold letters, written after much research into what they’re actually struggling with.

I know, I know: you’re probably wondering why you need to speak about the customer’s problems on your home page.

Your visitor already knows what they’re suffering with.

They know they have low churn. They know they have bad customer support.

So why do you need to mention it on your website?

Shouldn’t you be talking about the solution?

Because (hopefully) your product is going to add immense value to their business! It’s going to change how their business works. It’s going to improve their processes and make them more efficient, more successful.

And you need to make sure they understand that.

A Before/After transformation works only when the ‘before’ part is present.

A diagnosis and treatment is only possible if the doctor understands the disorder. You’re only a game-changer if you’re changing how the game currently works.

If you really want to position yourself as the best solution in the market for your customers, you have to convey all of that to your audience.

So first, you show the problem.

When you talk about the problem, you connect with your visitor emotionally.

They see the problem, and identify with it.

They know you are the right solution FOR THEM, because that is exactly what their problem is.

They just go:

This doesn’t mean you have to have 3 sections talking about the problem. Just one, maybe!

Here’s how Churnbuster does it:

I mean…if you’re not turned on (in a purely business sense of the phrase) by Churnbuster’s problem section, I don’t know if you and I can be friends.

Because I love it!

The BIG problem and all the other solutions your company is trying and WHY it all fails.

All I’m seeing is: 40% of my churn can be prevented by using this tool.

They’re coming at you HARD, and I’m not even a SaaS with a churn problem and I’m still spurred to action.

It’s like a complete summary of everything wrong with your current way of handling churn: and then they show you everything they’re doing different.

But if you’re a not a big risk-taker and want to tone it the heck down, you can go for something milder.

Like Spike Does it:

Spike, the conversational email tool, uses the secondary headlines on the homepage to point out the problem:

The problem: Emails.The Impact: Low productivity!

The best part about stating the problem is that your product immediately makes sense to people facing the problem—you link your product as the solution, as the new and better way of doing things, and voila!

There’s usually 3 things you need to cover when you’re talking about the problem on your homepage:

Why does the problem happen?

What causes the problem?

For example:

“Struggling with high employee churn?

Lack of feedback and recognition can make your employees feel grumpy. Appreciate your employees with PatontheBack! Keep your team motivated and productive, with just 5 minute performance surveys per week.”

This is not perfect copy, but it shows how impactful this technique can be.

You point out the root of the problem—and the root of the problem has to be something your product solves!

Establishing the reasons helps connecting the problem to your solution.

Notion does this pretty well!

The problem is ‘CHAOS’. The reason? Too many tools.

The solution: Using Notion and getting everything done in one space!

Why can’t your customers fix the problem some other way?

This is your space to go to war.

This is to explain why current solutions don’t work.

This is to take on what makes you better than your competitors.

What’s special about the outcomes you produce that other solutions cannot replicate.

Now remember: Wars over features are old, and only work when there are DRASTIC differences between you and other products.

You want to differentiate yourself with the change you bring to the business.

You want to make yourself stand out by stating the outcomes, and the obvious benefits of using your product.

You need to show that the Old Way does not work anymore. You can do it in a ‘feature-demonstrative’ way too, like Drift does:

Here the Old Way is: Forms.

The Reason Forms suck is: They force high intent prospects to jump through hoops to talk to your team.

The Solution is: Use Drift! Generate more qualified leads!

This shows why your product is absolutely 100% essential if your customer’s business wants to be successful, and be at the top of their game.

A revolution is here, and it asks them to change their ways…OR DIE.

What are the costs of not fixing the problem?

Why is the problem worth solving—and what will happen if the problem is left unsolved?

The answer to this question makes the visitor realise the need and the urgency of solving the problem.

Basecamp nails this with their copy. Here’s the adverse effect of not using the product:

The cost of not fixing the problem using Basecamp are that your projects will be a mess, take longer to complete and lead to a lot of back and forth.

That’s a HUGE cost that Basecamp’s target market wants to desperately avoid.

This is where Basecamp enters the picture as a magical cure for the panic that delayed projects with papers flying around bring.

The copy conjures up a picture of the confusion that makes Basecamp essential for their audience—and you can’t deny that it works.

Talk about what will happen if the visitor lets the problem fester, and then show the other bright side—the one where your product solves the problem!

Talking about the problem shows the customer that they need to worry about what the problem is doing to their business—and this worry augments their desire to buy your product and solve the problem.

It makes them feel heard. It makes them think that your product is a perfect fit for their problem…for their business.

And THAT, is how you position yourself strongly.

Positioning takes a lot of considerations: and the problem your product solves and for whom are only a part of the process of deciding where your brand stands.

If you want to learn more about how to speak to YOUR specific customers and get them to convert better, you should check out my email course.

It’ll not only show you how to identify the best angle you need to take with your brand, but also how to craft messaging to get your brand out there!

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