We’re in the middle of a pandemic, and that’s led to unprecedented changes in digital marketing and advertising. You’ve probably seen a dip in Google Ads performance since March 2020, for one. But don’t pause those PPC ads just yet—many businesses are successfully running PPC campaigns in the midst of COVID-19. 

How are they gaining traction in a market full of uncertainty? 

It comes down to reading the room. 

Now’s the time to fine-tune your paid ads. Instead of focusing on hard sells and persuasion, tap into the emotional side of your campaigns. This is easy to overlook when you’re caught up in CRO and ad copy, but emotions like empathy are critical to PPC success, especially during COVID-19. 

PPC is a data-driven science, but there’s also a component of art and magic to it. Right now, advertisers need to emphasize this emotional facet of their PPC campaigns. 

But how do you forge an emotional connection with a 30-character headline? It’s time to rethink your PPC and get more traction during (and after) the pandemic. Understand why your campaigns need customer empathy right now and follow 3 steps to implement empathy-centric campaigns. 

Why does empathy matter right now? 

No matter your niche, your customers are struggling right now. A dose of understanding goes a long way for these customers, especially if you’re trying to boost your bottom line. 

Empathy is more than just having sympathy for your customers. When you’re empathetic, you experience your customer’s emotions as if they’re your own. And since we’re all experiencing coronavirus together, this shouldn’t be a huge stretch for your PPC team. 

Empathetic campaigns help advertisers: 

  • Strike the right tone: Your old ad copy isn’t relevant right now. Depending on the language and imagery, you could be turning customers away from your brand without realizing it. Empathy helps you avoid tone-deaf ads. 
  • Stand out: Other advertisers are pausing their campaigns right now. Others are running their old campaigns without any adjustments. You can stand out in a less competitive environment when you create an empathetic PPC campaign. 
  • Boost sales: This isn’t about pushing a spammy product on people who don’t need it. Empathetic PPC connects customer needs with your legitimate solution. To that end, it can increase revenue in a genuine way.  

When you build an empathetic PPC campaign, you understand customer pain points. You know what keeps them up at night, and how your solution can fix their problems—even in the midst of a pandemic. Empathy is the only way you can connect your offering with customer needs right now. 

3 tips for empathetic PPC

Although empathy is important, studies show that just 30% of marketers are empathetic. While technical PPC skills will take you far, EQ matters, too. Use these 3 strategies to transform your existing PPC campaigns from hard sells to empathetic conversation-starters that engage. 

  • Create (or update) customer personas

Do you already have customer personas? Great! Now’s the time to use them. If you don’t have customer personas, create them ASAP. 

These personas, or avatars, are characters that represent your real-world customers. These customer personas detail your customers’ deepest needs, their back story, demographics, personality, home life, career, and more. Customer personas help your PPC team think about a customer’s needs each time they create a campaign. 

Most businesses have more than one customer persona. When it’s time to start a Google Ads campaign, create separate campaigns for each persona. This way, you can write content specifically tailored to that persona’s pain points and fears.

  • Structure ads by funnel stage

Customer personas address how your customers differ from each other. But every customer persona goes through a funnel before converting, and that means they change throughout the conversion process. 

We can’t look at PPC in a vacuum. Advertisers need to address how customers feel at every stage, from Awareness to Consideration to Decision

Within each customer persona campaign, create an ad group for every stage of your funnel. Customer needs will be different at every stage, and structuring your Google Ads account in this way will help you cater to customer needs more efficiently. 

Next, write down the fears and pain points for each customer persona at every stage of the funnel. Match their pain point with a solution you offer. 

For example, if you’re targeting a Small Business Sarah customer persona in the Awareness stage, the pain point might be, “I need a cost-effective solution that works.” Your solution could be a free download or consultation. Use this exercise when targeting keywords, writing ad copy, and creating your landing pages.

As far as budgeting goes, focus your efforts on the top-of-funnel stage (Awareness). 80% of people say they’re consuming more digital content right now, which usually involves top-of-funnel information. 

  • Write empathetic ads and landing pages

The final piece of empathetic PPC campaigns is your copy and creative. We’re living in uncertain times, and that means you need to give customers more assurance than usual. Follow these quick tips to build trust and empathy with your PPC audience: 

  • Watch your CTAs: Don’t ask people to meet you in person or visit your store right now. They can’t leave their homes. 
  • Don’t joke about coronavirus: Levity can get results, but your humor needs to be in good taste. Never joke about a disease that’s killing people and ruining livelihoods.
  • Highlight timely perks: What do people need during the pandemic? Free shipping and delivery are a great start. Highlight these benefits if you offer them (and if you don’t offer them, start!).
  • Use appropriate imagery: Do your display ads show people congregating? Or folks shopping in a crowded store? You might have designed these ads months ago, but consumers won’t take kindly to them right now. Watch your choice of visuals. 

The bottom line

Advertisers are going through unique challenges right now. Embrace the new normal and pivot your PPC campaigns to match your customer needs. If you can remain agile as COVID-19 runs its course, you’ll not only offer supportive content when your customers need it most, but grow your brand in the process. 

The great thing about online ads is that they can be dynamic. Don’t pause your campaigns or get stuck in an ROI rut. Partner with Logical Media Group to get ahead during the pandemic with empathetic PPC that gets results. 

Chris O'Neill

Chris O'Neill

CEO at Logical Media Group