3 Steps to Empathy Marketing on Digital Platforms

3 people on a marketing team working on a laptop and writing in a journal

Empathy marketing is a strategy that has gained popularity among marketers over the last several years, but it’s never been more relevant and necessary than in 2020, the year of COVID-19.

What Is Empathy Marketing?

Employing empathy marketing involves imagining what it’s like to live in your customers’ shoes, understanding what problems they may have, and communicating through your marketing efforts how your products and services can help solve those problems. As the pandemic has spread around the world, your customers may be encountering problems and difficult choices they may never have conceived of previously, which can present a unique opportunity for businesses to communicate a new empathetic message.

Showing empathy to your customers through your marketing initiatives requires careful research and content creation. Here are 3 steps to get you started.

Step 1: Learn More About Your Customers

In order to communicate effectively, you need to better understand who you are communicating with. Only then can you start to craft marketing messages that will speak to the specific needs that your customers are likely experiencing.

Things to consider:
•What are the demographics of your target customer, including gender, age, and income level?
•In what ways may the pandemic (or the scenario you are being empathetic toward) have impacted these customers?
•Have these customers’ needs changed? Have their old needs been completely replaced by new pain points? Or are their prior needs even more pronounced now?
•Can you send surveys to your customers or set up focus groups to learn more?

Step 2: Pinpoint How You Can Fulfill Your Customers’ Needs

Once you have an idea of your customers’ current experiences, think about how your products or services can be of benefit to them. What problems is your business uniquely able to help them solve?

Say, for example, you own a boutique toy store that offers high-end toys, and you realize that many of your customers have preschool-age children who are no longer attending in-person school. The caregivers of these children, now faced with being the sole educators, have a new pain point that they never experienced before: finding educational activities to fill up all the time that their kids would normally be at school. This challenging set of circumstances for parents provides an opportunity for you to utilize empathy marketing by presenting yourself as a reliable resource for educational toys, supplies, and ideas. Whereas previously your customers may have considered purchases from your business to be a luxury, with effective empathy marketing, they may now come to see you as an essential resource in their new daily routines.

Step 3: Communicate Empathy via All Marketing Platforms

Once you have clearly defined the value you offer to customers, it’s time to make sure that message is clearly communicated across all of your marketing platforms.

On your website

Include your value in any written content on your website and blog posts. Be sure your content clearly explains how and why you will be able to meet your target customers’ specific needs. Write fresh blog posts on current topics that will resonate with readers. Following the previous example of the toy store, you could write blogs featuring tips for homeschooling kids of various ages.

In digital search and social media ads

When possible, target your paid search ads and social media ads to people who could specifically benefit from the solution you’re providing. And make sure to include in your ads the same messaging that’s on your website about how you can help resolve your customers’ pain points.

In social media posts and videos

Social media is a good space to not only tout the benefits of your products and services but to also provide additional content that your customers’ (past, present, and future) will find helpful. Following our previous example of the toy store, you could craft posts and videos for Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest that show activities that parents can do with their children using educational toys that you sell. You’ll be providing free content that provides real value to your customer while also spurring social media engagement, including likes and shares that could lead to more business for you.

The Bottom Line

Whether you coordinate your own marketing campaigns or work with a digital marketing agency like Results Repeat, using empathy marketing really has no downside. Your customers will feel understood, they will be thrilled that you have helped solve a problem in their life, and they will be much more likely to refer others to your business in the future.

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