Most entrepreneurs focus on data when planning their marketing strategy. While this is vital to helping a brand succeed, there are other elements that you should take into account. One of the things that you must remember to include in your strategy is customer empathy. A campaign that is built on a combination of both data and empathy will help you reach your business goals.
Empathy in marketing means understanding what your customers are experiencing, putting yourself in their shoes, and showing that you know what they are going through. The strategies used are based on which emotions will invoke empathy in people. This helps the brand connect to its clients in a deeper and more meaningful way.
The Different Stages of Marketing Empathy
There are three stages of empathy in marketing, which you’d have to keep in mind to fully relate to your customers.
The first of three steps is cognitive empathy. Being aware of what your patrons are feeling and fully comprehending their emotions will help you to overcome this stage.
To do this, you must conduct research and lend an ear to your audience. You want to collect ample information so it’s easier to solve the problem.
Emotional marketing empathy means engaging with the other person to show them that you know how they are feeling. This includes understanding what the problem is and reacting accordingly to show that you care about them.
Coming up with personalized marketing messages can help you execute this step.
The last stage is compassionate empathy, which includes taking action to support the individual. This means helping them solve the problem that they are experiencing relating to your brand.
For example, they are having a hard time understanding how one of your products works. You talk to them (first stage), say you’re sorry this is happening (second stage), and make an explainer video showing how to use the product (third stage).
Marketing Empathy Dos and Don’ts
Just like with any other marketing strategy, there are things that you should do and things that you should steer clear of.
- Listen and don’t talk over your audience.
- Talk and empathize when it’s your turn to speak.
- Show emotions and make it clear that you are human, too.
- Let them know that you care and that they are appreciated.
- Have a clear goal for your campaign.
- Avoid hard-selling, especially when trying to solve your customer’s problems.
- Don’t sound too preachy.
- Do not mention other brand’s failures and instead, focus on what you do best.
- Avoid being vague. Be clear and concise with what you want to point out.
Humanize Your Brand
Make it a priority to sound like a real human being when communicating with your customers. Chatbots and auto-replies are so common these days that sometimes brands forget that they are addressing actual people. Marketing empathy is about adding a personal touch to your replies and messages. Elicit different emotions to make your customers feel at ease with you.
Here are a few tips to humanize your brand:
- Introduce your employees. Let your audience see the people behind the brand. Doing so will help build trust with your clients, which is vital to creating a successful business. Have a dedicated “Meet Our Team” page on your website, upload your staff’s photos with a short description describing the person.
- Hire a professional social media team. You will likely use social media to engage with your guests, which is why you should consider hiring a team to take care of these channels. Having a real person behind the computer will make a huge difference, as robots don’t have emotions, and people can tell.
- Go for personalized automated marketing. If you do not have enough budget to hire a social media team, then consider personalizing your automated content instead. Make sure to use the person’s name when addressing them and use direct language.
- Give your brand a personality. Avoid sounding monotone, and do not use words that are not easy to digest. Don’t try too hard to impress your audience – you should, instead, strive to be relatable. This being said, you should not be afraid to show emotions. Include some humor, joy, wit, and excitement in your posts.
Prioritize Helping Instead of Selling
The internet is oversaturated with brands convincing their target market why they should support their brand using a hard-sell tactic. Stand out from your competitors by prioritizing your clients and helping them out instead of directly selling to them. Besides, sounding like you are always pitching a sale doesn’t build trust between your customers and the brand.
Post informative content that you know can help your customers thrive. People know when you just want to sell a product. Avoid treating them like objects and talk to them like you would talk to a colleague or a friend.
Observe and Lend an Ear
See what your customers are saying online and always pay attention to the words that they are using. Check your blog comments, social media posts, online threads and forums, and any feedback from your sales team. You can even create your own survey and ask how they feel about your products and services. Be open to having conversations with your audience.
Don’t be too quick to reply to your readers. Read or listen to what they have to say, sympathize, understand what they need, and then offer a possible solution.
Make Use of User-Generated Content
Pay attention to your patron’s generated content and use that to populate your own blog. You’d have to ask for their permission, of course, as you will be using their original idea. This shows your target market that you are in tune with how they are feeling and that you care enough to share their thoughts and opinions.
Take these examples from Netflix:
They retweet their users’ tweets to encourage other people to watch their shows. It not only shows that they’ve read their audience’s content, but also that they are willing to share it with other individuals as well.
Here are a few ways to make use of user-generated content:
- Videos – Acquire videos from your clients and use those to advertise to your target market. You can ask some of your users to try your products and give a short review of them. These videos are mostly relatable and show your audience that you care about what they think of your products.
- Reviews – One of the most used UGC is reviews. A lot of online buyers look at reviews and testimonials before committing to a product, simply because they’d want to see if it’s worth buying or not. Not only will reviews build your credibility, but they will also help increase your website traffic.
- Gamification – Gamification is a great way to encourage your readers to engage with your content. This usually involves completing certain tasks and then rewarding your visitors for their participation. It can be done by completing different levels, getting high scores, acquiring badges, earning points, and topping the leaderboards.
- Hashtags – Make sure to include unique and official hashtags when conducting contests on social media. Encourage your participants to use the hashtag when posting their entries. This will help other people recognize and remember your brand, as well as increase your social media followers.
Address Emotional Triggers
Understand how to use emotional triggers to help your audience overcome their hurdles. Don’t be afraid to elicit different emotions from your guests such as happiness, excitement, and humor.
This is related to humanizing your brand to make it more relatable. You can use humor when addressing honest mistakes, happiness when sharing achievements, and wit when trying to answer their remarks.
Try Implementing Interactive Marketing
Interactive marketing is a type of marketing wherein your patrons can interact with the content that you put out and is usually done by posting engaging visuals and videos. This will help increase trust and engagement between you and your clients. It also encourages people to share your content, making it possible for you to get new leads.
Take this example from the Marriott Hotels:
They created this infographic to help people decide where they’d want to go on their next vacation. It might be simple, but it definitely adds fun to the planning.
Here is another one by the BBC Scotland:
This immersive, 360-degree video takes you on a digital trip through the landscapes of Scotland. It lets people see its true beauty.
Interactive marketing subconsciously evokes empathy in watchers and readers without the unwanted factor of hard-selling.
Put Yourself in Their Shoes
When planning your empathy marketing approach, think about how your customers would feel in specific situations. See what these people are struggling with and decide how you’d want to address them if you were in their position. You’d want your campaign to resonate with your target market, and the best way to do this is by showing them that you care about their feelings.
Teach Your Employees to Do the Same
Encourage your marketing team to do the same for your patrons. Showing empathy should be one of your company’s virtues, as you’d want them to see that your brand is all about satisfying their needs.
Make it a point to give proper training to your staff. Show them how you would treat your customers and that you are expecting them to practice these steps.
Including empathy in your marketing strategy helps you nurture your connection with your customers. It encourages proper decision-making by instilling the right emotions. You can use all the tricks in the book, but it will not be as effective if you don’t include a sense of empathy in it.
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