A simple question : If you had to pick the image to click on, if you were looking for Coffee, which one would you choose?
It does not matter what you are going through. The emotions that are seen in Image A and the instant warmth that one might feel looking at it might not be present in Image B. That warmth that you feel is what would make you click on Image A. That feeling could neither get replaced easily, nor could it be forgotten. That is the reason why advertisements that tug at the heartstrings win most of the time. Be it the Google Search Reunion Ad that cashed in on the economy of friendship, a friendship that seemed lost with India-Pakistan partition or Titan’s Teacher Farewell Ad that showed the eternal respect and love for our teachers, they were winners all the way.
This is where empathy marketing comes in. The ability to connect with the audience with not just facts and benefits, but also how the product would make you feel. End of the day, those feelings do play a big role in making the sale and bringing customer satisfaction as well. Let’s take a look at what empathy marketing is and how brands should utilize it to connect with their target audience.
What is empathy marketing?
Empathy marketing is all about walking in your client’s shoes. This helps in understanding their experiences and would tell you what they are looking for. It’s not just about thinking like the customer, but feeling like him and being him. Empathy marketing strengthens your content marketing strategy by helping you understand and satisfy your customer’s needs.
Essentially, it is the capacity of sharing and recognizing the emotions felt by the customers. In the world of conversing with the client, empathy brings in the ability to understand the clients, create the appropriate offers and engage with them in a genuine way. This is where consumer empathy comes into play. You can understand how the client feels, even before they do. You are able to deduce the products and services that they require and what kind of conversations they would have within themselves as they try to make the decision about the purchase.
Brand empathy is created through the shared journey between the client and the brand itself. It creates a deeper connection and true understanding of the target audience on not just a rational and transactional level, but at an emotional one at that.
Why is empathy marketing so important?
Successful content marketing for lead generation is all about creating the bond between your brand and your target audience. It is not just about inducing a few feel-good emotions in the content. Empathy marketing enables the brand to turn prospects into loyal customers by nurturing in a genuine way. Today, empathy plays a critical role in establishing a trust factor by developing a one-on-one connection with the prospect. This bond enables the brand to show how they care and how they can help the prospect with their pain-points.
Today’s customers are very aware of the market and the products. They conduct sufficient research on their own before they reach out to the brands. It is said that consumers complete 75% of their research before connecting with sales. This is where as brands, you have an incredible opportunity to take the research off of their plate. Build a connection with them by nurturing them along their journey. Provide them with what they need to help them make informed decisions.
Empathy marketing through content promotion
The strategy is quite simple. If you are able to communicate with the target audience that you understand their struggles, and that you have both the experience and expertise to solve their problem, you have crossed half the journey. Now, you need to ensure that the target audience reaches you at the mid point by making sure that they see your care. This would make them eager to form a bond with you.
Empathy becomes the key to establishing that kind of content.
There is however, a fine difference between empathy and sympathy or a patronizing behaviour. There is no scope for feeling sorry here. You need to be able to listen to your target audience, let them know that you understand their struggles, and then create content that would reduce their pain. Empathy is not about talking about your brand, your services and how great you are. It is about meeting your audience by inducing empathy in your content marketing for lead generation.
5 steps to integrate empathy into your content marketing strategy
1) Walk in the shoes of your prospect/customers
There are some things you can’t say enough. This is one of them. As a brand, you need to understand where your customers come from. This helps you take them where they want to go. Walk in the shows of your prospect by creating marketing personas. Also known as psychographic mapping, it includes understanding their values, interests, opinions, lifestyles and personality. Understand your customer base and what makes them tick.
2) Understand sweet spot (meeting of what audience cares about and your expertise),
It might be tempting, even easy, to populate your website with popular topics. But it is about what your target audience needs to see, not just what’s popular on the search engine. The perfect location for listening is at the meeting point between what your target audience cares about and what your area of expertise is. That is the area to focus upon. Bring out topics and rank them accordingly.
3) Empathy map
The above image is a good way to create an empathy map. What the prospect thinks and feels has a lot to do with what he hears and sees. What he says, however, is critical as that reflects on his pain points and possible action items.
Let’s take a hypothetical example
Name: Jane Doe
Back-ground: Wants to become health conscious. Wants to pick up a good habit. Has his eyes set on running. IT Professional in his late 30s with a desk job and unhealthy lifestyle.
Product we want to promote : Running shoes
What our prospect could be thinking/feeling: I need to get started. I need to lose weight. I want to run. What should be my first step?
Hearing: Running is good but it has side effects. It could hurt your knees in the long run. Running is awesome. You should always go for a run twice a week.
Seeing: Everyone is putting out such amazing numbers on their facebook page.
Saying: I want to run too
This empathy map could enable the brand to create content that would take care of all concerns in Jane Doe’s Life. From awareness, consideration and decision making, the brand could create a solid content strategy keeping in mind the prospect’s state of mind. He could hand-hold the prospect and lead him to the cart. If the strategy works well and the prospect is satisfied, the brand has just won a loyal customer.
4) User generated content
To say that 2020 has put all the brands and businesses to test is an understatement. The changing consumer behaviour along with the shift in priorities has forced brands to rethink their strategies. What worked during the pre-pandemic era would no longer be applicable today. user generated content would be one of the best to understand how the emotions are placed. This content taps into the desire for human connection post-pandemic. It is relatable and helps build and strengthen the community.
5) Online Reputation Management
Online reputation management is a combination of digital marketing, search engine optimization, public relations and empathy marketing. Thanks to the digital age compounded by social distancing, all first impressions seem to be made online. One negative story, one bad review and all good points seem to be forgotten. It is enough to make a prospective customer to look for another brand. He would not want to risk it, would he?
That one moment of failure could leave a blackmark for a very long time for the brand. ORM is here to change that image in your favour. It is used to connect with the disgruntled customer and explain to him your point of view so that you could possibly change his mind as well.
How can we help you?
The solution is also as simple as they come. We put your customers first. Digital marketing is about conversations, not campaigns. The best marketing strategies feel like helping, because it is. Customers can tell the difference between when they are being cared about and when they are targets to be achieved. With empathy marketing, you are not only providing the content with useful information, but the tone and emotion induced should empower them to make the right decisions.
Be the change you want to see in the world.