Most of us roughly know what it means to be empathetic - to see things from someone else’s point of view, imagine ourselves in their place, and understand emotionally what they feel. We usually think of applying empathy in our personal relationships to better understand a child, to consider the impact of an event on a partner, to more adequately comfort a friend. It turns out that empathy can be really important in the workplace as well, and definitely in your content marketing strategy.
I’ve been in the content marketing world for 17 years; you could say I’ve seen the development of a marketing campaign or two kick off. Looking back, it’s almost embarrassing how many times campaigns were initiated based on a new product, a new feature, a miss in target numbers, or a specific seasonal opportunity. Very rarely did a marketing campaign originate from an empathetic look at the customer’s experience and need.
Flipping the order of events on its head – considering customer then opportunity -- is not only a nice, human thing to do, it can also be very helpful for marketing efficacy overall.
Let’s take a look at some of the specific ways that adding empathy to your content plan can help.
It helps fill in content gaps
An accessible, first exercise in developing empathy for your customers is to consider what they are already seeing and hearing about your product, feature, or brand. You might halt campaign planning to ask:
In which marketing channels are there already points of interaction?
What information have they already been exposed to?
What pieces of information are they likely not to have?
What might they already believe about our brand?
Questions like this can inform not just the main points of your campaign, but also the channels in which you send them, and the sentiments you might include.
It informs your most potent possible messaging
Taking your empathy exercise a bit further to consider, too, what your customers are thinking and feeling is a powerful layer to add. You might make efforts to understand:
Your customers biggest hopes
Your customers most terrifying fears
In what ways customers may be craving help, relief, or ease
Understanding the emotional landscapes of your customers is a powerful position from which to create messaging that resonates; position yourself as an informed, understanding, and capable partner; and even refine your product roadmap to better suit their needs.
It helps drive better conversion
Closely aligned with developing an understanding of your audience’s emotional state is getting a grasp on their driving motivations in their decision making.
Do they want to be first to market?
Do they want to be the best?
Do they feel any sense of urgency?
Are they craving a sense of being settled, with all decisions made?
Once you know your customer’s likely catalysts for action, you’ll be poised to deliver messaging around the offerings most relevant to their needs.
It leads to stronger, long-lasting customer relationships
It is a well-known fact that retaining an existing customer is a better investment of marketing dollars than acquiring new ones. In fact, according to research done by Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company, increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%. One of the best ways to build longer-lasting relationships with customers? Building an adequate understanding of their actual wants and needs. Empathy leads to better rapport, tailored solutions, personalized communication, and overall making sure your existing base is feeling seen, supported, and understood.