Empathetic content marketing is key to building connection and trust with your customers, especially in difficult times. Here’s how to nail it.
2020 has hit a lot of people pretty hard. During this period, when consumers are cutting back on purchases and companies are laying off workers, many small and medium scale businesses are experiencing the adverse effects of trying to market to people in a pandemic.
If you are one of them, you may have realised that your usual content marketing strategies are having less of an impact in your community, and you may be searching for a way to better connect with your intended audience during this period. If this is you, it’s time to change your content marketing strategy, and we have just the thing you need.
Infuse empathy into your content marketing.
This plain and simple key helps to connect with the target consumers and ensure your business keeps on striving. Although there seems to be a drop in human empathy, there is still an increased number of people looking to be understood and listened to. If you show consumers that you understand them, it will open a world of opportunities for you.
Here are seven tried and true ways to create empathy in your content marketing.
Always Put Your Customers First
An empathy infused content marketing strategy has the customer at the forefront of its content. Before you even start creating your content, you need to listen to and think about your customer.
Once you start thinking about your customer’s wants and needs and listening to what they are saying, creating content for them becomes easy.
Now, we aren’t saying you can’t still promote your brand to customers, but the key is to create compelling content that draws them in, and then once that’s done, you can drive them towards checking out your products or services.
A perfect example is Ritz-Carlton; they are known for creating personalised experiences and putting guests first.
Talk to your Customers
There is nothing more derailing than a one-way conversation. Your customers are talking to you, but you aren’t talking back. When we look at empathy, it is about understanding and sharing other people’s feelings. And, by talking to your customers, you cannot only understand their perspectives, but you can also share in the sentiments behind certain things they say and the actions they take. This can then help you in the content you create.
A few ways to talk to your customers include:
• Put your focus on conversations and not campaigns
• Engage with them on your social media channels
• Devote time to video and phone conversations with your customers
• Create and join communities centred around your product/service offering and listen to what your consumers have to say
Create Customer Personas and Craft Content Around Them
Creating a customer persona is merely creating a semi-fictional character and giving them behavioural traits of your customers based on data obtained from customer research and website analytics. This is an extremely effective way to understand your customers and what kind of content will appeal to them.
A company that has embodied this strategy is Red Bull. It is one of the brands that almost anyone can associate with a personality trait.
Once you have created your ideal customer persona, it is now time to draft content around these personas. Whatever content you create must effectively benefit your customer’s lives either through education or entertainment.
Find Out the Questions Your Target Audiences Ask
Another way to create compelling content marketing pieces is to centre them around topics your customers are curious about.
By simply taking note of the kind of questions your target consumers are asking, you can get a more in-depth insight into both their emotional and physical state. This can, in turn, help you craft keyword dense SEO content to target them.
Another way to find out what your target audience is about is to get a hold of your sales team. They will have a better knowledge of the questions and objections customers have.
Amazon is a brand that has successfully implemented this method. Because of this principle, they are able to anticipate customers’ needs before they ask.
Make Use of Emotional Words and Images to Get Customers’ Attention
Emotional words are words that drive feelings on four basic emotions; fear, anger, sadness, and happiness. These words are drivers, and when you use them in your content, they can drive certain feelings in your target audience, and push them to take a second look at your content. That is why some of the best headlines are the ones with powerful emotional words.
Coca-Cola is a brand that has successfully used the emotion of happiness to market to its consumers.
The rules of using emotional words are simple:
• Talk in everyday language, there’s no need to use big words. Plain talk is a sure-fire way to grab your targeted customer’s attention. As long as the sentences are free of errors, make use of everyday direct words and sentences in your content.
• Avoid passive verbs and sentences. Action words are always more engaging to your audience than passive words. For example, instead of “When the survey was carried out”, use; “We carried out the survey”.
• Infuse power words into your content. This is another way to engage your audience emotionally. Certain power words can drive a particular emotion in your target audience. For example, if you structure your headline as “Don’t let this opportunity pass you by”, you infuse your audience with the fear of missing out and grab their attention instantly.
Reach Out to Your In-house Team Who Are Essential
Yes, while the content you are creating is for your consumers, there are certain departments that you have in-house that could better help you better understand them.
Reach out to your in-house team (sales team, sales engineers, customer service team, etc.) and ask them critical questions about your intended target audience.
For example, asking the customer service team questions like, “what do customers call to ask for the most?” will help you identify where the customer’s needs lie and work around it to create useful content for them.
Google is one brand that has successfully created a great in-house team.
Also, If your in-house content marketing team isn’t the best at emphatic content marketing, you can make use of content writing review websites like Best Writers Online to help get you that edge.
Collect Customer Feedback about Your Content
In order to create effective empathetic content for your customers, you need to be regularly collecting feedback and constructive criticism about your content and your business. The reason being that in order to show empathy to others, you need to be aware of your shortcomings.
Netflix is a company that collects a lot of customers’ data and feedback and has been able to use it to personalise customers’ experiences.
One way to get customer feedback is to carry out surveys asking questions at the end of your content. Questions like:
• Did you find this content helpful?
• Has this content influenced your purchasing decision?
• Will you recommend this content to your friends?
While these are basic questions, they will give you an insight into your reader’s feelings about the content they’ve just consumed, which in turn will help you draft better content for them.
Empathetic content marketing is never a waste of time. This kind of marketing will not only bring new customers to your doorstep, but it will also drive repeat purchases from a loyal community of consumers. Remember, empathy is first about listening, so listen to your consumers and show them you care via your content, and you’ll be surprised at how well your business could do even during a pandemic.