There is no doubt whatsoever – personalization is the future of marketing, and every marketer who hasn’t been living under a rock over the past few years knows it. Even the experts who know that looks can be deceiving are coming round to the idea of personalized campaigns, because the power of personalization has been tested time and time again, and the results are strikingly clear.
HubSpot, for instance, saw a 42% increase in user response when they ventured to personalize the CTA, whereas Experian found that personalized marketing emails receive up to 29% higher open rates and 41% higher click-through rates.
Alas, even with the transparent take-home message, as many as 70% businesses are still underutilizing the power of custom-tailored web experience, and about the same percentage of companies doing business online don’t even bother personalizing their emails.
But why exactly is personalization so important, why does it sit so well with customers, and how can a marketer use it to help their business grow?
Today’s shoppers live in a world of instant fixes, and they loathe wasting time.
Think about your prospect. Know them personally. And always message with what they want – not what you want to say or what you think they might want – in mind.Joanna Wiebe
What they loathe even more is when they realize that their personality isn’t valued. We all hate the feeling of being reduced to the bottom of the sales chain, i.e. a mere customer who’s expected to read through piles of generic mail and blindly click on just about any button marketers throw their way.
Call it narcissism, but there it is: modern customers want the company to show them love, care, and appreciation, and personalized web content is precisely the type of marketing effort they regard with an approving eye.
Generic marketing campaigns are failing miserably because they utterly disregard the user’s preference-based behavior online, so it’s comes as no surprise that 94% of businesses now see personalization as a key to success.
The companies that were quick to take heed of their users’ likes and dislikes have already brought profit medals home, and their tricks are precious lessons what personalized marketing done right looks like.
Netflix audience is already enjoying dozens of movies and TV shows that seem to be handpicked for them by a Mega-Mind behind the screen. Based on their viewing history, Netflix provides its users with suggestions as to the type of content that the viewer may like, and it’s working like a charm.
The same is true of Amazon’s personalization strategy: follow-up emails delivered to the buyer’s inbox are based on the nature of recent purchases, which allows Amazon users to simply sit back and keep adding custom-recommended items to the shopping cart.
Redbox is one more example of marketing personalization done right: the rental service custom-tailored its homepage content for both first-time visitors and existing users to offer suggestions based on a user’s favorite movie categories and previous rentals. But the personalization efforts didn’t stop there: Redbox also included the option for online streaming in case the subject of the user’s query isn’t available in their target area, and it also offered on-demand movie reservation options for most sought-after videos.
Over in the furniture industry, Smart Furniture was among the first brands to take marketing personalization seriously: it created an online tool that instantly recognizes customers’ favorite furniture styles and organizes them by category, highlighting merchandise that falls within the viewer’s field of interest. For a sweet bonus, the retailer also threw in a smart visualization tool which allows the shopper to organize the pieces they want to buy on a map of their own space.
Personalization is not an overnight affair; it requires as much attention and planning as a long-term relationship.
Because that’s exactly what every smart marketer wants to achieve, deep down: to win over the viewer and turn them into loyal user who will keep coming back for more of the good stuff that got them hooked in the first place.
In this respect, personalized marketing pretty much follows a pattern of courtship: marketers need to give their customers a name, face, and personality, and show them that their needs, preferences, and long-term comfort and satisfaction come first.
“Dear Sir/Madam/Customer” is a perfect intro for a promotional email that will land in the trash section in a flash. Instead of referring to your customer by a generic phrase, greet them by their first name they listed in the submitted form.
Addressing the user by their name will make them scroll down and read the rest of the email, and hopefully act on it because it isn’t just another randomly sent sales-oriented chain mail that ended up in the inbox of hundreds or thousands of potential buyers. Of course, use their first nam eonly if they volunteered it – no black hat tactics!
Another way to make an email sound more personal and less of a shot-in-the-dark is to give the sender a personality, all with their name, photo, and signature. By doing this, you will show the reader that an actual human being on the marketing team took the time to write the email and didn’t use shortcuts in the form of automated email delivery.
Segmenting the email list by user categories is another trick to improve the customer’s online experience and foster a closer bond with them. You can achieve this drawing on the information you’ve gathered from leads and prospects: info is ammo you can use to create several different personas for each user category.
Each marketing persona should represent a chunk of users on your mailing list, all with their set of habits, preferences, and problems in need of solving, and it should speak a jargon customers can relate to. By devising marketing personas potential and existing users can relate to, you’ll avoid falling into the trap of one-size-fits-all advertising campaigns that don’t speak to the heart of your target audience.
With your marketing personas in place, you can take personalization a step further and set up targeted landing pages for your offerings, with custom-tailored on-site language and messaging to address the needs of each of the segment of your audience based on their location or similar parameter.
If you can afford the bandwidth to feature dynamic content devised for each of the user personas, all the better: that way, you’ll hack viewer engagement immediately and present your brand as a trustworthy master of answers to all their queries, dilemmas, and needs.
To this end, you can use a custom domain to further accentuate the personal aspect of your brand and inspire potential users’ trust in your professional attitude to business.
Personalization wasn’t supposed to be a cleverly veiled way to chase prospects around the web, showing them the same spammy ad for the same lame stuff as everyone else sees. No, it is a chance to differentiate at a human scale, to use behavior as the most important clue about what people want and more important, what they need.Seth Godin
Based on the lead intel you’ve compiled in the database, you can further refine the definition of your brand’s marketing personas and their segments to make sales pitches better-suited to the users’ current situation.
For instance, your marketing team can analyze leads based on industry, nurturing campaigns they took part in, channels that brought them to your website for the first conversion, the type of content they accessed, etc.
Based on the analysis findings, your brand’s sales team will be able to approach each and every customer on the list with a custom-devised offer that stands greatest chances of resulting in conversion because it fits the end-user’s needs and is fine-tuned to their specific behavior patterns online.
In today’s world, context and relevance are everything, and social media are a living example of just how much people prefer pull to push marketing. Unlike in the past, today’s buyers are more likely to research products and brands on social media, and they will often comment on posts by brands they are interested in or have made purchases from on one or more occasions.
In some cases, potential buyers will also send direct messages via Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn to the brand inquiring about availability of certain products, which is why it is of key importance for your brand to respond to the users’ queries without much ado.
On top of speedy response to direct messages and comments, your marketing team should also track social media activity and tweak sponsored ads and promoted posts in order to attract more attention to your brand and foster a deep and pleasure-based connection with the online audience.
In this respect, experts at www.cbo.me recommend using custom-devised campaigns for each social media channel the brand is using in their marketing endeavors: for instance, while longer content accompanied by images fares well with Facebook audience, Twitter followers respond better to nutshell slogans that draw on the common human experience.
Another way to dial up your marketing personalization game is to time email delivery based on users’ activity intervals. A case study by MarketingSherpa shows that mail timing personalization helped BustedTees boost their email-based revenue by as many as 8%, and it didn’t take all that much hassle either.
By automating mail send times for each user category based on time zone, a brand can ensure that the promo email is read soon after delivery and that it doesn’t wind up at the bottom of the inbox (which usually a one-way ticket to the mail not being opened at all).
If you want to keep your users happy and loyal, you need to show them you care about their time and personal preferences – and you can do that by customizing your marketing campaigns based on the users’ individual behavioral patterns online.
Remember: in the world of business as it stands today, everything is personal, and your customers like it that way.
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