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Empathy Advertising: four Methods SMEs Can Grasp Digital Approaches

Empathy is powerful. The ability to put yourself in someone else's position to better understand their situation and perspective can build connection and trust.

When your small to medium-sized business (SMB) goes back to normal, it's important to be sensitive to your customers. You already trust your brand, and digital marketing can make it easy to stay connected when routines are broken or when your team is ready to get back to work.

If you want to use the power of digital marketing to empathize with customers, there are four options:

email with compassion

You have probably received a variety of emails from brands you do business with, many of which are titled "Our Answer to COVID-19". It appears that each brand sent one in the first month of the pandemic. But what can you say if you go forward and go beyond the original answer?

Some of the best email marketing deals we've ever seen come from brands that run with empathy. Acknowledge that this is a difficult time that we can all go through and join together to help each other. Talk about what your brand is doing for your employees and the community. Do you donate to health organizations, support nonprofit organizations, or help children who need them to have lunch? This gives customers a sense of connectedness with what your brand stands for, your corporate values ​​and who you are as fellow human beings who share this experience.

Then focus on how you support your customers. Clarity in communication is crucial during this time. So keep your emails clear and precise. Explain what measures you can take to help customers and how they can connect with you and be supported.

A good example of a small business that does just that is Fireclay Tile. A few weeks later, the company sent a simple email to its customers, "How are you?"

Then they shared with their customers ways to stay calm and collected. While they enforce the fact that they are always there for them.

A Fireclay Tile email to home customers

After check-in, they provided resources to help customers stay positive – including color samples of tiles, coloring books, and Zen videos.

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<p style= Next from Fireclay Tile: a coloring book and videos

Ask yourself: Is your brand currently bringing something positive into the world via email? Can you use your product to provide resources that keep people calm and collected?

Use content to stay connected.

Many brands had big spring campaigns that they suddenly had to pause for. With digital marketing, you can still offer customers amazing content to connect with at home.

To find out what content to create, look around your industry to see what is currently working for customers.

For example, Headspace, a meditation app, launched a page to help customers and prospects get through these difficult times. They not only offered 1.2 million health professionals in the NHS a full subscription to their services, but also curated a library of crisis management meditations and offered a group-led meditation each morning, led by CEO and co-founder Andy Puddicombe.

Even if the product of your brand is not in the alley of wellbeing, a landing page on your website listing the following items can help you stand out and connect with customers. Write it down in:

  • How to support your customers
  • Resources and information for your customers to use now and in the coming months
  • Links to external resources and information in your industry or community
  • Contact information that may differ from the usual

Many companies have changed their ad strategies or even stopped ads altogether. The most important consideration is to make sure that your content is relevant to what your customers are going through. In other words, avoid becoming deaf. When creating new content to serve your customers, consider placing ads to direct incoming traffic to that content.

Host a virtual event that builds a community.

Do you have a physical event that must now be reinterpreted as a digital experience? Or have you always wanted to host a physical event but limited resources have prevented you from holding it? Connect with your customers through a virtual experience.

PepTalkHer, a small company focused on closing the gender pay gap, uses virtual events to convince its users and audiences of their value.

The founder and CEO of PepTalkHer Meggie Palmer has curated a series of daily #PowerPepTalks to remind people of their value and to offer quick tips and tricks for your skills during your downtime. Then Meggie and her team lead registrants via Salesforce and log them as leads in their system.

When brainstorming virtual events, think about what can increase awareness and lead to your brand and offers. Most virtual platforms – including Google Meet, Zoom, and on24 – are currently available for free or at nominal cost.

Here is a short list of things to consider when planning a digital experience:

  • What would you like your customers to benefit from?
  • What content or experience should your customers have?
  • Duration: Think of more bite-sized content than a two-hour presentation.
  • How can you use social media for activations and live interactions?
  • What or how will you contact your participants after your event?

Take advantage of our lessons from transforming our World Tour Sydney conference into a virtual event.

Stay positive on social despite distance

Social media marketing is another great way to connect with your followers during this time. Your customers are online more than usual and spend a lot of time on social media to stay connected. This is a great time to try new content and strategies to see what works and what doesn't. Don't be afraid to connect!

Everylwell, a brand that developed the first COVID-19 home test kit, uses its platform to not only inform the audience about the results of their product, but also to build a community. Her Instagram handle offers actionable steps to keep you healthy and offers inspiring, uplifting advice to keep people moving.

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<p style= A current shopping list on Instagram

Some tips to keep in mind when you are online (safely):

  • Just like email marketing, it helps to recognize what is happening and to run each post with empathy in order to connect with your audience in a meaningful way.
  • Many brands – such as authors, musicians and entertainers of all kinds – are currently based on live videos. Trying out a short live stream on a platform you are already familiar with can be a quick and easy way to reach customers directly.

A digital connection is one way to support your customers now. Brands that send their messages correctly will contribute a lot to customer loyalty in the long term. Keep empathy and connectedness in the foreground when supporting customers and adapting digital marketing strategies, and you will create a path to continued success.

With Salesforce, you can find more customers, win their business, and keep them happy so you can be successful. Find out more about our CRM solutions for small businesses by following us on Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

You can find more inspiration about companies and managers in our entire series "Leading Through Change".

Photo via Salesforce

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