Get To Know Your Ideal Client With An Empathy Map

In another post I talked about defining an [intlink id=”2139″ type=”post”]ideal client[/intlink] and why you need one.  Having an ideal client and really understanding her can make a big difference in your marketing and content creation.  I want to share with you a way to really get to know her by using an empathy map.

First, what is empathy?  Wikepedia defines it this way:

Empathy is the capacity to recognize emotions that are being experienced by another sentient or fictional being. One may need to have a certain amount of empathy before being able to experience accurate sympathy or compassion.

So basically you put yourself in her shoes and try to understand her and her world.

Create An Empathy Map

There are 4 questions you need to answer about your ideal client to create an empathy map.

Empathy Map

  1. What does she think & feel?  Think of her situation.  What is she thinking about?  How does she feel about her life and what is going on?  What does she worry about?  What is she preoccupied with?
  2. What does she hear?  What do her friends and family say to here? What does her boss say to here?  What kinds of things does she hear around her — such as in the media?
  3. What does she say?  What is her attitude?  How does she act in public?  What does she tell others?
  4. What does she see?  What is in her environment? What does the market offer her?  What does she see in her friends and family?

Really brainstorm about your ideal client and step into her shoes.  You really want to understand her world. A great idea is to use a white board or large piece of paper.  Draw a section for each of the questions and use post-it notes as you think of answers to each of the questions.

The next part of creating an empathy map is to ask 2 more questions:

  1. What is your ideal clients pain? What are her biggest frustrations? What obstacles does she have in her way? What risks does she fear taking?
  2. What is your ideal client’s gain? What does she truly want to achieve? How does she measure success? What kind of strategies has she come up with?

An Empathy Map Creates a Vivid Picture

Spend some time doing this exercise.  Really brainstorm on each question. Once you have a detailed empathy map, you have some great guidelines and ideas for creating content and products that will both appeal to and help your ideal client!


  1. Are those little post-its on the map to fill in the info for the different sections? Very nice! I really like this and I think it could be used in so many ways. I could even use it with myself if I’m feeling a bit lost or uncertain.

    • Judy — Thanks for you question about the post-its. I went back and added a little explanation! It really is a great brainstorming method. Makes it more interactive!

  2. I love it! So simple. So visual. AND its both of those things that help me get to where I want to be. I am absolutely pulling out the post it notes and following through in building an empathy map for my ideal client.

    Thanks. You share so many great ideas.
    Kate Lindsay recently posted…Picking TraditionsMy Profile

  3. I love this idea! This will help entrepreneurs really dig into their audience’s pain points – which can turn into more intuitive web copy, social media posts, graphics, etc. Thank you for sharing. =)

  4. Love this.As therapists we can often get ourselves in the way. Assuming that we ‘know’. Assuming what is the best thing for that person. But it all starts with them, and their story, and working from that place. Great post Carol, thank you!
    Julie recently posted…Book Review ‘The Infidel’My Profile

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