Pain-Dream-Fix is a page structure I learned from Amy Hoy from Stacking the Bricks. It’s pretty brilliant in how approachable it is:
You start the page by describing the kind of Pain your visitor is likely experiencing (so that’s the same thing as the Struggle concept from Jobs-To-Be-Done, but there’s more to it below). Some folks go long on describing the Pain. Vivid details, multiple takes from different angles.
You then describe the Dream, a new future, a new way out. “Imagine if…” “It doesn’t have to be this way” “Your situation deserves something new”. Maybe add a reminder of the Pain again before the next section…
Only then do you describe the Fix, your solution.
Jonathan Stark, of the Ditching Hourly podcast, proposes this page structure which adds testimonials, objections, multiple calls to action.
And last week we saw a great example of a page built using that pattern by Garrett Dimon.
But beyond the obvious emphasis on starting the page by relating Pain or Struggle, how else does Pain-Dream-Fix go hand-in-hand with the Jobs-To-Be-Done approach to page copywriting?
The Forces of Progress are Covered by Pain-Dream-Fix
The Four Forces of Progress explain the pushes and pulls that go on in the mind of the buyer when deliberating on options to go forward with fixing the struggle.
The top two forces propel the buyer toward purchase, and the bottom two forces track back towards their default habits of the present, what your product is really in competition with.
The Struggle is Covered by “Pain”
So as you see, starting the page off by relating to the Struggle helps to catch those who are experiencing that struggle. Use your audience’s own words, as you find them through “review-mining”. Re-write your headings away from describing the solution to describing the struggle. Add paragraphs-full of words that they can relate to.
- ⚬→ Enough is enough. I’ve tried multiple takes, and I can’t finish this without some help.
The Attraction is Covered by all three “Pain”, “Dream” and “Fix”
In all three of the broad sections of Pain-Dream-Fix, we create attraction:
In the Pain section:
- →⚬ I feel understood;
- →⚬ This product, this person, really knows the problem I’m facing;
- →⚬ I’m obviously not alone to have this specific situation;
- →⚬ This seems to cover problems I might be experiencing down the line, future problems I can prevent right now. (Note: we saw this effect first-hand last week in Garrett Dimon’s applicationemail.com page)
In the Dream section:
- →⚬ There’s actually a way out that I can take;
- →⚬ I could get to this new place pretty soon.
In the Fix section
- →⚬ These are my next steps;
- →⚬ It won’t cost me that much in time or money;
- →⚬ The product/service has options that I can consider.
Boosting Pain-Dream-Fix to Address Anxieties, Habits of the Present
Anxieties Can Be Addressed In The Fix, or Further Down
As the visitor will read through the page, some anxieties will bubble up:
- ←⚬ I’m hesitating about the fact that I might not understand something about the product/service, translating that into my specific situation;
- ←⚬ I don’t know if it’ll take a lot of time to learn this;
- ←⚬ I’m not sure they can do exactly what I need to get done.
And of course, there’s the anxiety about the price. But as we’ve seen before, the price is just one of the anxieties, and a low price creates anxiety as well (“Will this product be around for long?”).
To go further, you can add another “Pain” section below the Fix, reminding the visitor back to the problem their experiencing, reformulating the Pain to address any anxieties. Or like Jonathan Stark’s page structure makes explicit, create an entire section to address “Objections”.
Habits of the Present Addressed With Other Options You Have
Your product is competing more with non-consumption that with similar offerings from other companies. People will revert back to their default mish-mash of habits and tools and current practices before going with a competitor of yours.
But, what you can do to address that “competition”, is to offer smaller steps they can climb. Smaller products. Your newsletter or guide might help them make progress on their Job-To-Be-Done. Your product most likely competes with them learning to do it themselves.
So use the bottom of the page to highlight options that you offer so that this product will compete more with your other options than with them doing nothing at all.
The Mini-Jobs Of Reading Further Down the Page
This page structure is also brilliant for another reason. It flows. It starts by showing empathy for their struggle. And as the visitor reads those empathic descriptions, a new mini Job-To-Be-Done will be created in their minds, pushing them to read more.
As they read, the Forces will change. The Attraction force will swell, then further down it’s the Anxieties force that will pick up.
Design your page well, and the flow will catch these mini-changes in how the forces are at play on the mind of the visitor. Design it really well, and you’ll find you won’t have to use slimy tactics. It’ll be evident that you’re in it to help your new client make progress on their problem, therefore creating a ton of trust in the process. That’s why I think Pain-Dream-Fix fits so well as a Jobs-To-Be-Done page copywriting structure.
“But do I really need to start each page describing a struggle? Other popular product pages I see focus straight on the product.” We’ll look at that question in an another article in the next few weeks.