Our integration partners at Sherpa CRM recently posted an article that discusses the importance of empathy in marketing and gives some great strategies for applying impactful messaging with automation. We’ve included a copy of the full article as a guest post.

Automation, Connection, and Trust Through the Buyer’s Journey

Your website is an important way to attract prospective buyers. But are all website inquiries ready to talk to a sales counselor? Visit your community? Buy?

For a prospective resident or someone reaching out on their behalf, this may be just the beginning of their research into senior living. Going from perusing your website to “let’s schedule a tour” is more of a leap than a next step. And the sales process can take many emotional turns with new objections along the way.

We want to ask a few questions about the buyer’s journey. How can you be more empathetic in your marketing? What’s the right messaging and strategy that can support successful sales relationships? Let’s talk about using empathy and building trust through marketing automation?

Let’s first look at some common misconceptions around marketing automation.

  • Marketing automation should be used in place of human connection.
  • It’s either a generic email blast or mass text with multiple sends without consideration for the people who are reading them.
  • It’s too difficult or time-consuming to build messaging related to the prospect and those involved in the decision.

Just because your communication is automated doesn’t mean it should also come across as robotic or unfeeling. If you can make your marketing more human, early in the buyer’s journey, you set the stage for trust-building and connection later in the sale. Here are some ways an automated campaign can be empathy-centered:

Personalized messaging –You can use prospect data in marketing messages to make the content more relevant and relatable. And yes, you can address an email using someone’s first name but there’s more to it. Segment unique marketing messages by community, care type, sales counselor, stage of readiness to change, or whatever can narrow down the interests of the person reading your message.

Concise targeting parameters – Smaller groups or lists can perform better when it comes to automation. You want to deliver the right message, at the right time, to the right person. CRM and marketing automation integrations let you know where your buyer is in their decision, in real-time.

State your intention – It always helps to be honest and upfront about your intention in emails. Keep the message transparent and define your goals. For example, “My intention is to serve as an advisor or resource in your decision to make a change.”

Personalized signature blocks – A personalized signature, one with a photo, can go a long way in building trust and rapport through an email. Share some information about yourself in your signature block like a favorite hobby, interesting facts about yourself, or uninteresting ones, why not? When you’re the first to open up about yourself, you encourage a response and the potential for empathetic connection.

Go beyond email – As for the delivery of your message, automation goes beyond email sends. You can deliver personalized questions on your website forms using logic-based algorithms, send a well-timed pop-up, deliver information, or receive an inquiry using a chat powered by AI. When done right, these elements work together to support connection and engagement throughout a sale. Multiple touchpoints are valuable in building relationships with prospects.

The way people search for and research senior living options has evolved. It starts online and not over the phone. Sales counselors want to use their time wisely, so they need a way to connect with those who are higher in the sales funnel, those who may be “just-looking”. Automating and targeting personalized messaging can make sure it’s sent at the right time and gives sales counselors time to spend on relationship-building and, ultimately, selling.

The data and learnings automation platforms provide give you full visibility into the buying process. These insights help sales and marketing teams support both a healthy collaboration and the eventual progression from a marketing lead to a qualified prospect and eventually a successful sale.

Here are some examples of how ActiveDEMAND can help implement and execute those strategies:

1. Concise targeting parameters:
Making sure your message matches your audience as closely as possible is important for email, dynamic content, and other targeted assets. ActiveDEMAND has a powerful query engine that uses static, dynamic, and behavior-based data to create very targeted audience lists and segments.

2. Build relationships between contacts:
ActiveDEMAND also has the ability to build relationships between contacts which is important for Senior Living. There are typically multiple people involved in the decision of choosing the right senior-focused community. It is very important to understand the multiple constituents involved in the buyer’s journey and how and when to best communicate to each of these constituents.

3. CRM and Marketing Automation integration:
Ideally, automation is used to initiate conversations for the sales councilors or support staff. This means marketing automation platform and sales CRM must have good, bi-directional communication to keep both systems up to date on where contacts are in their buyer’s journey.  ActiveDEMAND and Sherpa have a very comprehensive integration to goes well beyond contact synchronization.

4. Personalized signature blocks:
ActiveDEMAND supports personalized signature blocks for email automation. Each user can create their own HTML-rich signature under their profile which can be dynamically used in email templates, auto-responders, and customized drip campaigns.

5. Going beyond email:
Consistency in your message is very important for empathic marketing and building trust. Personalization, segmentation, and behavior-based targeting are important across all marketing channels – email, social, live chat, phone calls, and website experience. As a fully integrated marketing automation platform, ActiveDEMAND has all those covered and more.