Does your brand have a unique story to tell? Does your message differentiate you from the competition?
Although most management would answer “yes” to both, emails, website content, and CTAs are still of the generic-form-letter type.
If you’re not taking the time to personalize marketing efforts, customers won’t take the time to engage. Personalization is no longer a, “let’s just wait and see” tactic. It’s desirable. It’s expected. And it works.
Would you like to experience an 800% increase in user engagement? No joke.
Effective Personalization in 3 Key Areas
With any personalized strategy it’s important to think of it in terms of one-to-one marketing. Engaging customers on a personal level increases loyalty as well as increases the likelihood a new prospect returns.
Are you personalizing in these 3 necessary areas?
This is a two-fold proposition. First, the email must be addressed to an actual person. “To Whom It May Concern” or “Valued Customer” aren’t very effective anymore. Data compiled by the Aberdeen Group shows an improved click-through rate of 14% and increased conversion rates of 10% when emails are personalized.
Second, the email must be sent from a real person. Think about it. If you receive two emails, one from sales @ somebusiness.com and another from Jason @ somebusiness.com, which are you more likely to open? Especially if the contact is unsolicited.
Pro Tip: Adding a profile photo to an email should be a requirement for sales staff. Customers are 2X more likely to respond if the email includes a picture. An easy, free way to set this up, is by adding a Gravatar.
Using a person’s name in an email is not the only piece to the personalization puzzle. It’s just the start.
In fact, as James Lang, Editor-in-Chief for TweakYourBiz, explains: “Great email marketing involves getting the reader out of their inbox.”
Develop personalized welcome emails to create a memorable first impression. If a customer opted in for your newsletter, downloaded an eBook, or requested a white paper the type of welcome and thank you email they receive makes a difference. Not only does personalization at this stage encourage open rates, it also adds a layer of customer loyalty that every business owner covets.
Year after year content marketers find success by offering creative and valuable content to their customers. The 2018 Benchmark Report from Content Marketing Institute reveals that 91% of B2Bs use content marketing.
The question is no longer “should we?” As more brands discover the remarkable ROI from content marketing the new question becomes “How do we create content that stands out and is more memorable than the competition’s?” The simple answer: personalization.
A collaborative study from Seismic and Demand Metric reports that 80% of respondents agree personalized content is more effective, resulting in higher success rates than content with no personalization. The study also reveals the most effective type of personalized content is “lead-level, persona specific” content.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the steps for creating an organized library of content:
- Create detailed profiles for each buyer persona within your industry. If this is a new endeavor, start out by segmenting the personas into larger groups. If you already have specific buyer personas in place, a good practice is to revisit them regularly. The buyer’s journey is a constantly evolving landscape. Experts recommend updating buyer personas once a year.
- Categorize content according to the pain point each piece solves.
- Divide content into categories based on the stage in the sales funnel your specific pieces of content address.
- Modify your content based on the specific interests, needs, or problems of your persona groups.
Personalized content is not about adding an individual’s name to the top of a sales piece. It’s about creating messages that speak directly to a customer in a way that makes them feel it was crafted specifically for them.
To reap the full benefits of a personalization strategy a brand must create consistent and seamless user experiences across all channels — desktop and mobile. Of course, the first step in this process requires a mobile-friendly site.
(If you have a site that is still not mobile optimized, it’s time to make that a serious priority. At the end of March 2018 Google began the roll out of its mobile-first indexing. Soon any site that’s not mobile friendly will miss out on the indexing and ranking advantages generated by the new Smartphone Googlebot.)
Now that potential customers or clients can easily navigate your site on their mobile device how do you personalize their experience? Here are the top four methods suggested by experts:
- Push notifications
- In-app personalization
- Real-time responses customized to individual activity
- Geotargeting: create unique, individualized messages based on a user’s location
In an extensive analysis of push notifications sent to over 1.5 billion users, Leanplum reports this amazing stat: “…brands that personalize their push notifications can increase open rates by up to 800 percent.”
Personalization creates an emotional connection. Creating these experiences through the customer’s smartphone (a device that’s now an indispensable part of everyday life) is invaluable for any digital marketing strategy.
The next, and obvious, question: How does a business create the optimal personalized experience?
The answer’s in the data.
Personalization Through Prediction
Internet and mobile users alike have come to expect some level of personalization. They want you to know what they want without having to tell you. Although that may seem like a challenging expectation it is possible (and it doesn’t involve a spherical object made of crystal).
The answer to achieving this high-level personalization: Predictive Analytics.
Predictive analytics uses data collected from every customer interaction to suggest possible (and highly likely) future trends. The four stages of predictive marketing — collect, report, analyze, and execute — are no longer solely for large corporations. SMBs now have access to cost effective and scaled-down prediction software.
Using predictive analytics a small business can generate a drip email campaign designed to guide customers through the entire sales funnel all the way to a purchase. They can employ predictive analytics to enhance their content strategy. And, by compiling data, creating a seamless and personalized mobile app experience becomes a simplified and easy-to-achieve marketing goal.
Forrester Research evaluated the top Predictive Analytics and Machine Learning (PAML) vendors. You can read the breakdown of their top 14 choices in this report.
It’s Time to Get Personal
As they interact with your website customers have come to expect their experience to be a personal journey. The better you are at separating your brand from the crowd, the more likely a new client is to engage with your company. And current customers are more likely to stay loyal. The one-size-fits-all approach is now completely ineffective. The ability to capitalize on personalization is a game changer.
Has your company had success with increased open rates through email personalization? Is your content well organized and customized to individual buyer personas? Have you recently set mobile app personalization into motion? Share your successes and what you’ve learned through trial and error in the comments below.