Empathy Maps – The Key To Getting To Know Your Audience

Sometimes, you're so focused on the “metrics of marketing” (things like open rates, revenue and sales) that it's easy to forget these numbers are driven by real human beings clicking, reading, scrolling, and engaging with your content.

So, how do you put yourself in your visitor's shoes? How can you know what they want? Are you even sure what you have to offer is something that they are searching for?

There is a simple way to answer all these questions…

Using An Empathy Map

An empathy map is a creative way to better understand how your market perceives their world.

Their used so that you can put yourself in the shoes of your target audience. This method allows you to identify and as a result focus on, what your market really needs.

A step-by-step guide on creating an empathy map

  1. Draw a large square.
  2. Divide the square into four equal sections—label each, SEE, HEAR, THINK & FEEL, and SAY & DO.
  3. Place a symbol of your target audience in the middle of the square (at the point where all the quadrants intersect).
  4. If needed, you can also add additional sections at the bottom to represent PAIN and GAIN. The former defines the frustrations or obstacles your target audience will be confronted with and the latter delves into what your audience is really passionate about.  In short, this section is about what they are running from… and what they are running toward.

Empathy map


Image Credit

Now, spend a few minutes with each section and write down answers to questions like…

Think and Feel

  • What do they think about during the day?
  • Are they feeling stressed?  Relaxed?
  • What other factors are they wondering about during a typical day?
  • Do they hate their job?  Love their job?


  • What music do they listen to?
  • What “self talk” goes through their head?


  • Are they highly visual?
  • Are they looking for great design or content?

Say and Do

  • What are they telling others?
  • What actions are they taking on a day-to-day basis?


  • What frustrates them about their current situation?
  • What are the moving away from?


  • Where would they like to be?
  • What are they moving toward?


Empathy maps are a great tool.  It doesn't matter if you're new to marketing or if you've been around for awhile.  Take a few minutes and try it out!

BTW, if you've found this post helpful, would you mind sharing it on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+?

Please leave a comment and let me know if you have any questions or if you have a favorite way of getting into “the mind of the market” on your own!

– Mercer

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About The Author


Chris Mercer, who typically goes by "Mercer", has a sales and marketing background that stretches over 20 years. He began his online marketing career in 2009 and has become a sought after analytics & conversions expert, helping other top-marketers to improve their own offers and sales funnels. Now decades of real-world experience are brought to you post-by-post as he delivers Seriously Simple Marketing tips that you can use to build your own business!