Empathic marketing: is it all it’s cracked up to be?

We pride ourselves on understanding our customers, but now might be the time to crank things up a notch and try empathic marketing.Empathic marketing

Now, we know it sounds a little touchy-feely, but what if it makes a huge (positive) difference to the customer journey? It’s got to be worth trying, right?

To save you some time, we’ve explored the concept of empathic marketing and the effects it might have on your marketing strategy. Simply read on to learn more!

What is empathic marketing?

To understand empathic marketing, you really need to understand empathy itself. Here’s the dictionary definition:

Empathy: The ability to understand and share feelings of another.
Oxford Dictionaries

In reality, it’s when you come back from a long day at the office and just need to vent. Your poor housemate is within earshot and listens to you grumble, moan and cry, while they nod and confirm you’re not being crazy (although you probably are) and say two magic words. “I understand”.

Sci-fi nerds will know that Star Trek Next Generation’s Counsellor, Troi, is an empath, as her Betazoid brain allows her to read people’s emotions. (Except for when she can’t, but that’s another story that we can’t go into here.)

Both Troi and your poor housemate are empathic by understanding what has got us so wound up, sympathising with us and offering solutions.

Empathic marketing is when marketers (like us) empathise with our visitors’ situations, understand their motivations and create content/the user journey around that. Sounds pretty simple, right?

What makes it different to normal marketing?

The concept of empathising with your visitors isn’t particularly new – it’s always been important to understand our prospective customers! That’s why we bang on about audience personas, customer journeys, accurate targeting and the sales funnel!

However, these are all based on facts and conversions … two things that are hard to empathise with. Empathic marketing, by contrast, focuses on connecting with your customers on an emotional level – to make an impact.

This is important when you consider that approximately 90% of our decision-making is carried out by our emotional, unconscious brain and therefore has a huge impact on conversion rates.

How does it work?

Empathic marketing is a truly customer-centric approach.

You must identify the pain-point for your customers, fix it and neutralise the pain itself. It’s a bit like those Gaviscon adverts with the firemen getting right to the source of the pain!

By releasing your customers from this pain, they’ll gain a sense of empowerment, freedom, joy and gratitude – which you can use to your advantage later.

When we look at it, empathic marketing is just content marketing cranked up a gear, so it’s not going to be that hard to implement as part of your marketing strategy. Hooray!

What difference could it make to your company?

Empathic marketing will make a huge difference to your customers, as your marketing efforts will align with their emotional journeys. However, it will also affect your company! Here are just a few ways you’ll feel the impact. Empathic marketing will…

1. Humanise your brand

Accessing your empathic side and sympathising with site visitors will make your brand seem much more ‘real’.

Instead of being viewed as a corporate machine, your audience will see that your company has human traits – making it much easier to connect with them and build up a loyal following.

2. Increase product sales

By focusing on your visitors’ emotional journeys, you can evoke certain feelings that encourage them to convert (e.g. joy, anticipation, surprise, trust).

Evoke these emotions and, according to the latest studies, you’ll see an increase in conversions that lead to purchase.

3. Improve customer retention

Use the sense of joy and gratitude empathic marketing creates to build a loyal customer base that will return to purchase/upgrade later.

If they’re happy and you’ve soothed all their pain-points, they won’t mind receiving communications from you and being poured right back into the top of the sales funnel.

3 empathic marketing techniques you can try

1. Act as an empathic friend

Being empathic in everyday life isn’t hard, and it’s the same for marketing. You can boil it down to three stages:

  1. Ask what’s wrong
  2. Show that you understand
  3. Offer solutions

Apply this mentality to your marketing communications, and you’ll make a strong connection with your prospective customers and (hopefully) end up with a higher purchase rate.

2. Treat customers as individuals

Empathy works best on a one-on-one basis, but this can be tricky for marketers as most budgets don’t stretch to private meetings with all your prospects. However, if you can listen to an individual tell you about their situation, you’ll truly understand their needs and deliver a better service.

If you can’t do one-on-one meetings, try calling individuals to discuss their options, messaging them through your site’s live-chat facility or even personalising the website according to their responses. (The last one works really well if you have top-notch AI in place to do this automatically.)

3. Look for problems and fix them

Let’s face it, you’re not infallible. Your company is going to have issues that you need to correct if you’re going to provide a great service.

Search through social media and Google about complaints related to your product, major keywords and competitors then address each issue that comes up through your content.

It’s simply listening to what your audience is saying, but it can go a long way towards building relationships and improving your service.

Empathic marketing should give you and your customers a warm, fuzzy feeling. You create this by getting to know your users and encouraging them to trust you with their emotions. Once you’ve established this strong relationship, you’ll start to see more and more customers purchasing your products … who could turn that down?

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