4 Steps to Creating a Client Empathy Map That Boosts Business Success

Empathy mapping is a valuable tool for gathering insight into your ideal client. It allows you to understand your audience better and uncover new opportunities.

Generally, an empathy map contains four categories: what the persona sees and hears, what they think and feel, and their pains and gains. Each category can be further unpacked through qualitative research and direct feedback.

Table of Contents

Know Your Audience

Knowing your audience is key to building successful client relationships and fostering business loyalty and brand advocacy over time. A strong understanding of your audience will allow you to create content that resonates with them and create products and services that meet their needs. This process can be complicated, but ensuring that your content reaches and connects with your audience and that you are developing products they want to purchase is necessary.

Putting together an empathy map can help you achieve this goal. This design thinking method lets you put yourself in your audience’s shoes and better understand their perspective and experience. The process begins by reviewing any data or analytics you may have on your target persona. You can also use surveys, interviews, and other data-gathering methods to supplement your empathy mapping session.

Once you understand your target persona well, you can start filling out the sections on the empathy map. Begin with the observables, like what they see, hear, touch, and do. Then move on to the more intangible aspects of their life, like their emotions and thoughts.

After you’ve filled out all the observables, take some time to reflect and analyze your work. Ensure you capture any new insights the team generated, and save the map for future reference.

Identify Your Ideal Client

Getting to know your ideal client is one of the most important things you can do to boost business success. Identifying the problems they face and then providing a solution can help you build trust with your audience, which can lead to sales and commissions.

Choose a persona and define their background using a classic empathy map template. Then, divide the map into four quadrants that explore a persona’s experiences, attitudes, and beliefs. The quadrants include “Does,” “Thinks,” “Says,” and “Feels.” Once you have the quadrants defined, it’s time to create a list of questions that will allow you to analyze your persona.

For example, if your persona is shopping for a computer, you might ask them questions such as, “What do they want from their new computer?” and, “What kind of interface do they prefer?” Afterward, look at the answers to each question to understand your persona’s values and how they would approach this problem. This can help you determine a more precise solution for their problem and provide your product or service with a unique perspective that sets you apart from your competition. A well-designed empathy map can also uncover a user’s internal problems that you might not have otherwise noticed. For example, if a person has a broken computer, they might be reluctant to buy another because they feel it’s not worth spending frivolously.

Create Your Map

Creating a client empathy map is one of the most valuable things you can do to increase your business’s sales. Many businesses forget about or underutilize it, but when used effectively, it can boost customer engagement and help you get more out of your existing users.

To begin, make sure you have a good understanding of your persona’s basic details. If you don’t, consider running a quick interview session to clarify your buyer’s journey.

Once you have that information, sit with your team and perform an empathy mapping session. Typically performed on a large whiteboard, flip chart, or sulfite paper with post-its, this is a great way to bring your client to life for your team members and create a shared understanding of their needs and goals.

Start by examining the user’s actions and behaviors. Then move to the less observable aspects of their life, like their values, beliefs, and opinions. 

As you move through each quadrant, cluster similar sticky notes and name them accordingly. This will help you understand what your client thinks, hears, and sees. You will then have a clearer picture of their needs and how to meet them best.

Share Your Map

Unlike other forms of market research that involve interviewing participants, empathy maps can be conducted with the whole team in one session. This streamlined process allows for quick and easy visualization of ideas, making it a great tool for digital teams.

Start by defining your target audience persona and identifying their goals. This will serve as the starting point for your client’s empathy map. You can adjust the categories from here to fit your specific needs and the available data. For example, you may want to add more detail in the “Thinks” and “Says” sections based on the research you have gathered.

Once you have completed the sections, ask the group to discuss and explain their thoughts and observations. Please encourage them to speak about the sticky notes that they have placed on the map and provide additional information where needed. This is a great opportunity to build a collaborative culture within your team and gain valuable insights to help you create better products and services for your ideal clients.

The Empathy Map is a valuable technique used across your business to gain insights and improve marketing strategies. It is an especially useful tool for your digital, service, and planning teams, providing a more in-depth analysis of your client’s profile and needs.