In marketing, business, and life we are always working with real people. Sometimes it’s humans interacting with human ideas, humans buying human products or people supporting other people’s causes—like nonprofits or fundraising. Today more than ever, the market can feel stale and transactional. This means big opportunity for some and lessons to learn for others. In 2023, it will be critical for brands that sell products and services both online and in brick-and-mortar establishments to avoid the dark cloud of business as usual and double down on empathetic marketing.
Let’s face it. The reason why we even create a great product or service is because we are trying to solve a problem. These solutions are founded on passion, principle, and a vision for a better world, process, product or service. But, somewhere along the line that the person or brand forgot that on the other side of the email, phone call, or pitch is a human. Just like them.
While the hard sell was considered a thing of the past, many companies are still focusing too much on persuading and using ancient hard sale tactics. They try to cram as many features and benefits into their pitch as possible, in the hopes that the prospect will be swayed. Instead companies should focus more on the customer’s needs, by walking a mile in their shoes and remembering their pain points. Hammering on the key features and benefits won’t get you anywhere with customers who are already loyal or interested in what your company has to offer—instead it will only drive them away!
The truth is customers can see through the façade and feel like they're being manipulated. In order to connect with customers on a deeper level, businesses need to focus on empathy.
What is empathy? In its simplest form, it’s the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person. When it comes to marketing, empathy is key to creating customer-centric messaging that resonates with people. Here are 7 ways to show empathy in your marketing:
1. Listen to your customers. Don’t just listen to what they say, but also pay attention to how they say it. Watch for body language and tone of voice that indicate frustration, anger, or sadness.
2. Be responsive. If a customer takes the time to reach out to you, be sure to respond as quickly as possible. Even if you can’t solve their problem right away, let them know that you’re working on it and that you appreciate their patience.
3. Acknowledge your mistakes. Nobody’s perfect, and sometimes things go wrong even when you’re trying your best. If you make a mistake, own up to it, and apologize sincerely.
4. Show your human side. Let your customers see the real you—the person or team behind the logo. Share snippets of your team on social media, blog about your thoughts and experiences, or create video content that gives viewers a peek into your company culture.
5. Be transparent. Don’t try to hide information from your customers—transparency builds trust. Share data about your company, disclose how you collect and use customer data, and be open about any issues or problems you’re experiencing.
6. Take a personal interest in your customers’ lives. Get curious about what they do outside of work or business dealings; ask about their families, hobbies, and interests. Show that you care about them as individuals, not just as prospects or clients.
7. Make it easy for customers to connect with you. Provide multiple ways for them to reach out—via phone, email, social media, live chat—and respond promptly to all inquiries.
It has been said that “the customer is king” and this couldn’t be truer when it comes to building relationships with your customers. Build a loyal following of satisfied individuals who will buy from you again, tell others about how much they loved their experience, and encourage them to recommend those very services to colleagues and friends. These results all stem from one thing: empathy! When you take the time to understand your customers, you can relate to them better. This means that you are better equipped to provide them with the type of customer service they need and want.
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