When there was less competition online, brands were more likely to sell a product just because of its brand name and reputation. Nowadays, online consumers have more choice than ever before. Information is widely accessible and YouTube reviews, Google reviews and testimonials are all easily found online. Customers are bombarded with more online advertising that ever before as it’s reported the average person gets shown over 1,700 banner ads per month.
This means that most brands can no longer rely on just their brand name to sell, they need to connect with the audience on a deeper level to win their business.
One method businesses can adopt is using empathy-based marketing.
What is empathy-based marketing?
Empathy-based marketing is going beyond rational-logic-based marketing and instead trying to understand how your audience feels, and then creating marketing collateral that demonstrates that you understand how your audience feels and you have a product or solution that can help.
Why do we need to appeal to the audiences' emotions when advertising?
Emotion is a very strong force. It can influence decisions and convert leads to sales. The goal with empathy-based marketing is to show that you, as a business, understand what your customer is going through, moving away from a business-centric approach to more of a customer-focused approach.
Examples of Empathy based marketing
During the pandemic, we've seen many companies switch up their marketing campaigns and use more emotion and empathy in their strategies.
One example of empathy-based marketing was Nike’s 2020 ‘Play for the world’ Campaign, Nike had the perfect balance of promoting people stay active, which fits in perfectly with their core message, but also demonstrating that they understand how difficult isolating can be.
The emotive line “But today we’re playing for 7.8 billion people” reminds viewers why staying safe and isolating during restrictive periods was essential.
Finishing with the line, “This is our chance. Play for the World” Nike is collectively grouping its brand and the audience, forming a connection between the two groups and demonstrating understanding and empathy and creating a shared goal of keeping people safe.
How to use empathy marketing
Understand your customer
Know exactly who your customer is and what their pain/points and challenges are. Understanding your customer will make it easier to empathise and ultimately offer a solution for the problems that they are having.
Get to know your customer better by creating buyer persons, asking for feedback or carrying out research in the form of surveys.
Carry out social listening to find out what your customers think of your brand or what experiences they have had with your brand. If your customer has had a negative experience with your brand, listen, understand why the experience has been negative and create a solution with the customers pain point at the forefront of your mind.
Create useful content
Create content that isn’t focused on selling and instead offers your intended audience value. Your audience will be more likely to engage with content that’s useful for them, rather than content that is just a sales message.
As well as creating useful content, also create content that is interactive. Interactive content encourages the audience to engage with the brand, usually in a way that ask's for the audience's opinion or experience. A good example of this would be brands using Interactive templates on their Instagram Stories, the brand ask's users to fill out the template, adding their preferences i.e. "Do you prefer iced coffee or hot chocolate" The user fills it in and shares it to their personal story, tagging friends to do the same. Tactics like this promote your brand in a subtle way, while creating a relationship between you and your customers.
Educate your customer
Educating your customer shows that you don't just want to sell to your customer, you also want to empower them by sharing knowledge or expertise. Provide relevant information to your customer in the form of tutorials, How-to videos, guides, blogs or e-books.
Providing resources that help your customer mean's they will be more likely to return to your business whenever they are ready to make a sale.
Customers may find it easier to relate to a brand ambassador, rather than the brand itself. People are more likely to be able to relate to an individual that they can see, hear etc as opposed to a brand.
Try using a brand ambassador in your marketing campaign, make sure it’s someone who is authentic and has genuine interest in your brand and will be relatable to your intended target audience.
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