Have you ever been on the receiving end of a one-size-fits-all marketing campaign? You know the type, where you feel like another number, another cog in a profit-making machine. I have noticed a lot of email marketing campaigns going this way lately, which is a shame. Marketing is supposed to be customer oriented, even more than it is brand oriented – because without the customer, there is no brand.

When it comes to marketing with the customer in mind, you are going for a full proof way to attract your audience. That means more leads generated, more conversions and ultimately greater success for your company.

Of course, you can’t tailor your campaign to perfectly fit the unique needs and desires of every single person you market to. But what you can do is personalize their experience to a greater degree and reap the benefits.

The Pros Versus The Cons

Naysayers usually have the same complaint when it comes to personalized marketing: It takes too much time and resources to implement. That isn’t an unfair point… obviously it is going to be cheaper and faster to just throw together a generic campaign and send it out to your potential or current customers.

My rebuttal to that point is the reward in both scenarios. You may be saving time, energy and money in the short term when you go the generic route. Long term, however, you are sacrificing a lot. You are guaranteed to see more progress over time if you start with personalization from the very beginning.

The benefits are that you are creating less work for yourself down the road and making a more self-sufficient form of marketing that will sustain itself. For example, say you put in the effort to create a system of word of mouth marketing for your customers that works for them (social media, referral programs, incentive rewards, etc.). Before long you are going to have a cycle of promotion coming from your customers themselves, making them a part of the campaign.

Another is the brand loyalty. Your customers are more likely to stick with you if they feel appreciated. Customization is a surefire way to give them that sense of importance. No one likes to feel like just another dollar to be earned.

According to 2018 research conducted by Liveclicker,

According to their research, behavioral targeting delivers an almost 8% increase in email revenue. Real-time targeting based on native open-time and live business-context data delivers a 13% improvement.

Finally, generic marketing runs the risk of being discarded or ignored entirely. Just think of banner ads and how they are blocked by the average adblocker. Those that get through, or on websites where the blocker isn’t run, aren’t even seen by the average visitor. It has become second nature to slide our eyes past ads without ever really noticing them.

Email has a similar obstacle. Even legitimate email campaigns with a ton of good content find their way to the spam folder or deleted without opening. Real spam or something without value is going to be unsubscribed from. It may also turn the customer off your brand altogether.

Susan Solovic had a brilliant quote that applies to this concept. She said,

“We live in a high-tech world, yet consumers crave high-touch.”

She is absolutely right. We need to be reaching out to our customers and potential customers in a way that makes them feel special.

Personalizing The Right Way

Personalization is awesome. Too much is creepy. Target was the perfect example of that precarious example when they managed to create a prediction model that used certain clues to estimate when women were pregnant and what stages of the pregnancy they might be in. Then they would advertise certain products that might be useful. It pushed the limits of what we see as spying and they had to do some fancy footwork to avoid the PR fallout.

Personalized marketing should not be confused with persona marketing though. Brendan Witcher, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester, explains it well:

Personas… are a horrible way of applying personalization. If I buy Yoga pants, that doesn’t make me a soccer mom, and you can very easily offend me, or at the very least make me feel misunderstood, if you treat me like one

While persona marketing is still worth implementing for better understanding your target audience (e.g. it’s very useful for content brainstorming), it shouldn’t drive your direct marketing efforts. Instead of marketing to personas, you need to market to profiles.

So, how do you find that line and reap the benefits of customized marketing?

Use Ultra-Targeted, High Effort Customizations

We want all of our customers to feel special. But they aren’t all requiring the same level of effort, nor would they ask for the same level of attention. You have to tailor those resources based on who it is you are trying to reach.

When it comes to influencers, use the higher effort, personally reaching content that is meant to get them and only them. For instance, make a personal video addressing that person and referencing things that are meaningful to them.

It will be a time consuming process, but with the right people it is absolutely worth it.

Look at how Tim Soulo, head of marketing behind Ahrefs brand, connected to influencer Gary Vaynerchuk and brought his brand forward:

 

Let Customers Personalize Their Own Experience

I am a big fan of the profile model of businesses. Anything that lets a customer create and personalize a profile based on their own specifications is great. Especially if it lets them save things like products or content, make wishlists or share pages with others.

This can be initially a hefty investment because it might take require some design changes to a current website or app. But the reward can be very rewarding.

This article walks you through the three levels of personalization you can integrate into your conversion channel:

  • “Crawl” personalization, based on:
    • Geolocation
    • Visit frequency
    • Device type
  • “Walk” personalization, based on:
  • “Run” personalization, based on:
    • Third-party integrations (e.g. Marketo or Eloqua)
    • Combination of multiple sets of data from above

You can start by surveying your customers (e.g. invite them to complete a survey in their “Thanks you for your purchase” or in your “Welcome to my email list” emails). Don’t make your surveys too long but include questions that are essential for personalizing their buying experience, e.g.:

  • What kind of products do they prefer and why?
  • Did they buy stuff for themselves or as a gift
  • Do they have kids or pets, etc.

Wyzerr is a good option gamifying surveying experience for your customers so that they don’t feel bored or forced when completing your surveys. It has drag-and-drop functionality as well as multiple features allowing you to visualize the process using a playful interface.

 

Make Your Emails Work For You With Segmentation

How many of your customers are reading your emails? How many of them are customizing their preferences to only get certain types? How many are clicking through to your website? How many are interacting with you personally? How many have overlap with social media? How many have actually purchased something from your business?

These questions show that not all emails are received the same way. So why are you categorizing them the same? Why are you sending out the same email to everyone?

A segmented campaign with different emails based on these and other stats is the perfect way to get more from an email campaign. Since email remains the most effect form of customer-to-business marketing, you should be distinguishing before you send.

Mailchimp has a neat segmentation feature that can help you set up and use segments pretty easily.

 

You can utilize existing marketing automation solutions for that. GetResponse is one of the most affordable marketing automation solutions out there helping you reach your customer at the right moment, for example:

  • After they abandoned their shopping card without ever completing a purchase
  • When their birthday is approaching
  • When they need a reminder, e.g. day of the week they tend to make a purchase
  • After a certain period of inactivity
  • If they clicked a certain link or downloaded a certain asset

 

Give Your Customers What They Want

Marketing is a necessary part of running any business. It is also ever evolving, meaning we aren’t always able to use the same tactics we did ten years ago as we can today. A good rule of thumb is to always be basing your marketing on the needs and desires of your customer. That is a solid step forward towards marketing personalization.

Do you have a tip on personalizing your marketing efforts? Let us know in the comments!

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