The 3 Pillars Of A Profitable Empathy Driven Wellness Business
The E-word will determine whether your wellness business thrives or tanks. It’s a bold statement, but it’s true.
I’m not talking about your growing entourage, your title as an entrepreneur, or even the expenses in your ledger. The E-word that will make or break your business is empathy.
In my work as an email marketing strategist and copywriter for wellness brands and online business owners, there are two key traits that all of my most successful clients have in common.
One is consistency—which is a whole article for another day—and the other is empathy. But I’m not talking about the cheap “how likely are you to recommend us” marketing junk that feels phony. Today’s consumer can sniff out sales-focused customer interactions a mile away.
True customer empathy requires diligent research, a solution-oriented approach to product development and a radically transparent take on marketing. Your customers are craving empathy so much that when you use more empathy in your interactions, they’ll actually pay you more for it.
In the #fakenews era, up to 73 percent of consumers say they are willing to pay more for brands that guarantee transparency and authenticity. So how exactly do you create space for honest conversations with your audience when you’re busy with sales, product development, and marketing? It all begins with asking questions and listening to your audience when they answer.
In my work doing in-depth customer research and building email sales funnels for my clients, there are three pillars that I’ve found to be crucial for achieving gut-level empathy that enamors the customer to the brand and turns them into a lifelong fan.
1. Never Get Too “Big” To Listen To Customers.
It’s tempting to put things into neutral and let your team handle customer interactions once you’ve hired team members to help with social media and customer support. But acting as though your business is too “big” for your CEO to talk to customers is a recipe for a bad reputation and lukewarm customer sentiment.
Brands that care enough to ask their customers for input are also brands that know their market well enough to make bold moves that their competitors would never expect.
That’s why doing consistent customer voice research—a data-intensive process for surveying your audience and doing phone interviews with customers that yields a plethora of helpful insights on what your customers want from you—is the hallmark of a brand that cares.
Simi Botic, author of Letting Go Of Leo, is a health coach who helps women heal their relationships with food and themselves. She says, “The most effective way I’ve found to understand what’s happening inside my customer’s head is to ask questions that help them to connect with their internal dialogue and then truly listen—without agenda—to what they share. Not because listening will allow me to ‘sell’ to them but because I genuinely care about what they are experiencing.”
Simi knows that in our hyper-connected time, consumers expect to have access to top players at the brands they trust via their smartphone.
Up to 70 percent of consumers feel more connected to a brand when the CEO is active on social media, according to a study by Sprout Social. And that’s a statistic you can capitalize on, if you know how to get specific.
Annie Miller, certified strength & conditioning specialist and CEO of Annie Miller Concepts, finds that acknowledging your audience’s struggles with specific details is a gateway to long-term paying customer relationships. She says, “Making the point to acknowledge that their struggles, hesitation and fears are real is so important in empathy-driven marketing. If people don’t feel safe, or seen, they aren’t going to trust you. And people need to trust us in order to become paying customers.”
She continues, “Learning your ideal customer’s language and being specific is huge here. Saying ‘you’re a woman who hates having her time wasted’ is far different than ‘your biggest pet peeve is slow drivers in the fast lane, or waiting in line at the grocery store.’ Get specific, and show them you see them in real life.”
2. Check In With Your Customer Base Before Making Business Decisions.
It’s impossible to create a solution for a problem you don’t understand, yet too many businesses spend extensive time and budget on product development and content marketing before they’ve paid their dues in authentic customer engagement and market research.
Knowing your customer deeply is not only the road to empathy, but it’s also a powerful business tool that allows you to nimbly create solutions to their problems as they give you more details on what they’re going through and how they want you to help.
My client Sam Vander Wielen, attorney-turned-entrepreneur and legal educator for wellness business owners, shares that “Empathy driven marketing means treating every customer like a person and not a notch on my client belt. I see so many business owners online touting how much revenue they’ve generated or what they are doing with their newfound money—but what about all of the people who contributed to that? … Everything I do should be from the lens: ‘Is this helpful to them?’ I’m always asking myself that when coming up with something new or even sharing content on social media.”
In order to build a strong connection with your ideal paying customers, you have to get to know them on a deeper level.
3. Always Ask For Customer Feedback.
The landscape of modern marketing and brand awareness has completely changed in the past 15 years.
Now, the lion’s share of consumer spending is coming from millennials—anyone born between 1981 and 1996—who tend to value the opinions of other strangers on the Internet even higher than family and friends in their purchasing decisions.
A study by Bazaarvoice found that 64 percent of millennials feel that companies should provide more ways for customers to share their opinions online and they will continue to participate by giving feedback.
In fact, according to a study by Vision Critical, “If a product or service is useful to Millennials, they’ll adopt it, and even tell firms how to make it better. If it’s not useful—or if firms don’t respond to feedback—they’ll simply move on to a competitor’s innovation.”
To avoid losing customers to a competitor, I design and implement feedback surveys with my clients after every product launch, as well as twice-annual surveys to stay on top of the shifts in their customer base and what their customers need from them.
If you don’t want to be left in the digital dust, your business needs to not only ask for feedback, but also respond to it quickly with product updates and adjustments.
A deeper connection with customers means increased customer lifetime value, as they happily continue to spend money with your brand based on the trust that you’ve built with them over time. This can be the year that your business models empathy for your customers throughout their entire journey with your brand. To get there, you have to start by asking the right questions.
Interested in other tips for your small business? Read about how to find lasting career success, what motherhood looks like from the C-Suite or how to apply energetic principles to social media for your business.
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