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How to connect with your audience through empathy in marketing

Empathetic marketing is an emotional approach taken to market goods or services in conjunction with a data-driven strategy. 

For example, in this Nike advertisement, the brand is acknowledging people’s realities and encouraging a sense of community during the pandemic. It reached people because it depicted the global human experience in 2020. 

Not only did it encourage people to stay active, but it also encouraged people to stay home and keep one another healthy. 

During such an isolating time, it offered a positive outlook and sense of belonging. People will forever tie the way this ad made them feel to the brand, making it effective and empathetic. 

 

8 Ways to connect with your audience through empathy in marketing

1. Understand your audience.

Understanding your audience is the first step. If you don’t know who you’re appealing to, how will you tailor your content? 

An extremely popular way to do this is by utilizing user-generated content (UGC). This involves the user to partake in the content creation. For example, if you post an Instagram story with a poll asking your audience to weigh in on what scent of candles they like, you may just know what to order next for your inventory. It’s a way of engaging with your audience and educating yourself on who they are, what they need/want, how they feel, and how you can meet them where they are. 

If they stop into your small business, strike up a conversation with them. Ask them questions. Actively listen so they know they are heard. 

 

2. Imagine what it’s like to be them.

Feeling for your audience is crucial. Some ways to do this include asking key questions, such as:

  • What is my audience experiencing right now? 
  • What emotions might they be feeling around this?
  • How can my business offer them something helpful? 
  • How can the goods or services we’re marketing meet their needs?

If you have a co-worker or employee who is a natural empath, they may be your greatest asset in this department. Once you understand what your audience is going through, you have crucial information in selling them something helpful. 

 

3. Keep in mind “the core three.”

The Latin terms ethos, pathos, and logos are at the core of good marketing. Ethos involves the ethics and trustworthiness of a brand. If you say you’re not starting your Black Friday sale on Thanksgiving Day, you should uphold that promise to your consumers and anyone you promised would have the holiday off work. 

Logos appeals to the audience’s logic and reasoning. If you sell a banana for $4, you lose all credibility in these departments (the produce department and the department of being reasonable). 

Pathos describes the emotional reaction an audience has. If people are outraged by something and that is the general consensus, that is a good indicator that the marketing material did not effectively appeal to the audience’s emotions. 

 

4. Tell a good story!

Storytelling is one of the best ways to capture someone’s attention and let them know you understand and empathize with them. It also paints a picture instead of conveying boring text or meaningless information. 

What makes words a story is the way they are strung together to strike a chord in the consumer’s mind or heart. For example, this advertisement for Under Armour tells a story about female empowerment which changed the game for the brand’s marketing strategy.

Previously seen as a male-centric company, the brand shifted their focus to highlight women’s willpower and capacity. This ad (featuring famous female athletes), along with the brand’s improvement upon women’s apparel, significantly increased sales. 

 

5. Personalize user experiences based on their taste.

One way to show empathy in marketing is by customizing user experiences based on what you know they like. Netflix is a perfect example of how to do this. 

If someone watches The Great British Bake Off on repeat, Netflix may suggest Cupcake Wars as their next watch. Crafting relevant and relatable messages will capture and maintain your audience’s attention. 

People are more likely to act on a marketing message if it feels personal to them. Personalization is an effective marketing tool because it shows you care about what your audience cares about. 

 

6. Add value!

 

The Minimalists are Emmy-nominated Netflix stars, podcasters, and New York Times bestselling authors. How did they rise to fame? They helped millions of people add value to their lives. Their content offers tips, insights, and resources on minimalism. They discuss all types of clutter: not just the physical kind, but also psychological clutter, relationship clutter, and social media clutter. 

What’s unique about their content? It is 100% advertisement-free. 

This strategy shows that The Minimalists empathize with their listeners. They understand what it’s like to be overwhelmed with too much clutter, and they also understand that advertisements can add to that clutter. 

This is why they came up with a unique approach to making money. There is a free “minimal” version of the podcast, and listeners who want more can pay for the “maximal” edition on Patreon. 

This format works for people because it offers them a choice. They aren’t bombarded with ads. They simply get a certain amount of content for free and can subscribe for more. Listeners from all over the world call in to say how much they appreciate these creators. 

The Minimalists’ entire message is to “live a more meaningful life with less.” They add value to people’s lives by showing them how to do this, all while empathizing with the fact that no one wants to hear an advertisement in the middle of a podcast. 

 

7. Be authentic!

I can’t stress this enough. With artificial intelligence, it’s no wonder we have an app now called BeReal. This app is popular because it gives people a daily notification at a random time, along with a two-minute window, to share a photo of what’s happening at that exact moment. 

Brands can use authenticity to their advantage by sharing behind-the-scenes content or BTS. In a world of curated Instagram squares, BTS footage shows the humanity behind the brand. 

If you make and sell soap, you could show a video taken in the back that shows the process behind the product. People are craving authenticity now more than ever, and you can really stand out from the crowd if you keep it real. 

 

8. Show your audience what is possible. 

Seeing is believing! Show the desired end result of how the product or service will improve a customer’s life. Make it interactive and educational if you can. 

Are you selling a cordless vacuum? Show the audience exactly how easy it feels to clean the house without tripping over cords, constantly having to plug it into the closest outlet, etc. You get the idea. ☺️

 

Conclusion

There are so many ways to connect with your audience through empathy in marketing. Be the brand known for making your audience feel seen, heard, and felt.

 How can we understand, support, and respect someone we don’t know? Get a clear idea of who you are marketing to, be true to your brand, and show them how your product or service can benefit them! 

We believe in you. 🫶🏼

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