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How Empathetic Content Calls Customers to Action

posted by Michael Epps Utley Michael Epps Utley
How Empathetic Content Calls Customers to Action

We all want to feel seen. Today’s consumers want to know that the people at the companies they do business with understand them. Providing personalized service is a key way to convey this, but you shouldn’t stop there. It’s also essential to express your company’s empathy in your marketing and communications.

This guide explains how to bring empathy into your content.

Empathy Versus Sympathy

Sympathy is often confused with empathy. While these concepts are similar, they’re distinct in the following way:

  • Sympathy is about understanding others and feeling bad when they are struggling. It’s when you feel compassion or sadness over what other people are experiencing.

  • Empathy means understanding other people’s thoughts and feelings from their point of view. Empathy is about putting yourself in someone else’s shoes.

Empathy enhances communication by allowing us to convey information in a way that resonates with other people on the deepest level. It turns flat messages into heartfelt, meaningful ones.

Why Including Feelings in Messaging Is Critical

Developing marketing content is challenging because so much is happening in your readers’ minds and hearts. It’s no longer enough to pitch a product or service. Instead, you must put your offerings in the context of what consumers are dealing with that could influence a purchase decision.

No matter what you sell, there’s an opportunity to insert empathy into your content.

  • Do you sell cybersecurity solutions? It’s not enough to describe how your solution protects against common threats. It also must address fears about being hacked.

  • Do you run a healthcare company? If you only explain how you can cure a patient’s illness, you’re doing them a disservice. Instead, it would help if you addressed their anxieties about seeking care.

  • Are you a contractor? Conveying design information to consumers is fine. However, addressing concerns about construction costs and operational disruption is much better.

Consumers are grappling with many issues. Conveying empathy in your content will make it more captivating, impactful, shareable, and engaging.

Empathy in Content Must Be Genuine

Never pretend that you understand your consumers and the issues they deal with; it can come off as disingenuous. You don’t need to have the same life experiences or circumstances as your buyers, but you should take the time to understand their perspectives.

If you find this difficult, ask your current customers about the challenges, frustrations, fears, anxieties, or worries they experience (their paint points). Then, have them review your materials before distributing them to ensure they convey genuine empathy.

How to Infuse Marketing Content With Empathy

Empathy is a skill that can be developed over time. Those who master it are able to create content that goes beyond addressing a surface problem or issue by going deeper and writing about the perspectives and emotions involved (they’re also better communicators, which gives them a leg up in sales, public relations, and client/customer retention).

Here are some ways to create empathetic marketing materials.

Picture the Consumers

Do you want prospective buyers to take action? Of course, you do!

Then, take time to understand them.

Whether you’re developing a blog post, social media content, or a video, envision the person who will read, view, or watch it. Then, make it your mission to speak directly to them. If that doesn’t work for you, find an image of someone that represents your intended audience. Place the image front and center when you create content. It makes the people you’re targeting real, allowing you to develop materials that speak to them.

Set a Goal

Set a goal for your content before you begin creating it.

Ask yourself: What do you want readers to get out of it?

Having an intention provides purpose to the development process. Think about where you want to take readers and viewers, then revisit that goal until the project is complete. A clear purpose helps ensure you address consumer thoughts and feelings along the journey.

Share Personal Stories

Nothing demonstrates that you get what readers are going through than personal stories of people like them experiencing similar things. It could be your story, one from a co-worker, or even a current customer. Not only do stories bring empathy to life, they also show that understanding is central to how you do business. Stories go beyond saying that you get it — they demonstrate that you really do.

Think Less Promotional and More Educational

Promotion is the antithesis of empathy. Education is the ultimate way to engender it.

Promotion is self-centered and focused on highlighting the best aspects of your business. In short, you’re paying attention to everything but the reader.

When you educate, you need to figure out how to get someone from what they currently know to another way of thinking or seeing the world. You’re forced to address objections, which could include emotions. This approach encourages an empathetic approach to content development to get readers to the ultimate educational destination.

In short, make your reader the hero of the story, and be their guide as they seek solutions to their problems.

Empathetic Content: The Final Word

The best marketing content makes people feel something. It goes beyond mere promotion and moves people.

The only way to move people is to understand — and empathize — with them. Leverage the information in this guide to develop marketing materials that motivate people to act because they know you really “get” them.

Bonus: Learn how to write content that responds to consumer intent.

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