How to Inject Personalization Into Your Marketing Strategy

Hubspot reports that “Nearly three-fourths (74%) of online consumers get frustrated by websites with content (e.g. offers, ads, promotions) that has nothing to do with their interests. Personalizing your marketing messages allows you to tailor promotional messages to customers by identifying unique customer traits. This allows you to reach customers on an individual level instead of pushing one message out to the masses. Personalization can be introduced in website copy, eBooks, webinars, emails, social media posts, interactive content and beyond. Here are a few ways you can implement personalization into your marketing strategy. 

Step One: Plan Your Strategy

Before you execute your one-to-one marketing strategy. Consider the following questions to understand how your organization will handle this implementation.

  1. What brand message do I want to send to individuals?
  2. What types of customer behavior am I hoping to enable (repeat visits, increased trust, more purchases, etc.)?
  3. What marketing resources do we have (or can we create) that will enable one strategy over another?
  4. Does the plan require a short-or long-term obligation?
  5. Do I have enough resources to enable success (people, tools, time, etc.)? 

Step Two: Set Up Your Program

Once you have your plan in place, it’s time to get moving! Start by identifying the information-gathering techniques you will use to inform your personalized marketing program and how and when you will use them. Here are some of the ways you can research your audience:

  1. Surveys and questionnaires
  2. Informal discussions
  3. Formal focus groups
  4. Anonymous feedback (via email or your website)
  5. Social media 

Try to gather as much information from your customers and potential customers as you can in as short of a format as possible. One or two questions may solicit more feedback than a lengthy survey. 

Step Three: Choose & Implement Your Marketing Tactics

You’re now ready to put the information you’ve gathered, as well as your overall personalization strategy, into practice. Here are some of the marketing methods from which you can choose: 

  1. Send your emails from a human, not a brand. Email is one of the easiest ways to get started with personalization. Instead of having your sender be your company name, make it from the name of an actual person on your marketing or executive team. If you use email templates, ensure they don’t look like they’re been built by a marketing machine. You want your emails to come off as authentic.
  2. Use Marketing Automation Tools. Automation tools can trigger lead nurturing campaigns based on content interest. If a lead downloads an eBook focused on a specific topic, for example, you could put them in an email track that’s targeted at that specific message and acknowledge they’ve already experienced some of your content.
  3. Segment Your Email Database by Persona: You can segment your email database in a number of ways, but the easiest (and often most effective) way is by marketing persona. Once you have your marketing personas defined, introduce personalized message to each one, using language that hits on specific pain points.
  4. Use Your Recipients’ Names: Writing “Dear Customer,” “To [FirstName]” and other such greetings in your emails won’t help you reach your personalization goals. Using your lead’s real (and verified!) name isn’t difficult. If a prospect has filled out a form, you should have at least gotten that person’s first name. Now use it!
  5. Create Persona-Driven Content: When you begin the personalization process, persona-driven content creation is key. Personas are the closest you can get to sending customized content to every single prospect--but scaled in a way that makes sense for businesses of any size. One-size-fits-all content really doesn’t fit all. Persona-based content can help you tailor your messages to the right audience.
  6. Respond to Customer Personally on Social Media: It may seem like a no-brainer to have a real person responding to customers and prospects on social media, but many companies automate the process. Consumers are increasingly using social media to do their product and service research, so you need to be there when they are. Make sure you’re at monitoring your social media activity on a daily basis (at least, including the weekends), and be ready to provide the most appropriate content to meet each person’s individual needs.
  7. Create Targeted Landing Pages: Here’s another place personas come into play. You can tailor your email messages in the same way you do with your other content formats; or, if you don't have the bandwidth to do this for all of your personas, you can choose to create targeted landing pages for your various offers instead.

Benefits of Personalization

The benefits of personalization are twofold: the customer enjoys a user experienced that is highly relevant to their need state, while you as a business can obtain:

  1. A Rich Collection of Customer Data: Personalization tactics track the habits and movements of potential customers, providing marketers with valuable data that they might not get with a more traditional marketing campaign. If you pass your leads on to sales, they’ll have a better idea of whom they’re selling to and how your product/service fits their needs. If you’re directing to an e-commerce page, you can direct customers to the products they are most likely to buy 
  2. Loyal Fans: When customers feel that their needs are met and a company truly cares about them, they’re more likely to return to that company in the future to buy additional products or services. Personalization helps customers feel that your story is their story 
  3.  Valuable Company Insights: Information gained from tracking customers can help you determine what works and what doesn’t work in terms of marketing messages and tactics.

Examples of Personalization Done Right

According to Digital Trends, 73% of consumers prefer to do business with brands that use personal information to make their shopping experiences more relevant. Here are seven brands that have done just that--and reaped the rewards! 

1. Identity-Based Campaigns: These types of campaigns rely on customers to self-select into segments Once marketers have that information, they can use it to create personalized messaging and serve up ads that are most relevant to them. One successful example of an identity-based campaign is Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke.” In 2014, Coke took personalization to the next level when it rolled out the campaign in Australia before going global. But first, it achieved 12 million media impressions, a 4% increase of category and a 7% increase in young adult consumption. 

Coke took personalization to the next level when it rolled out the share a coke campaign. Image source: Oglivy.

2. Location-Based Emails: OfficeMax often sends promotional messages that include location-specific information. This helps prospects clearly understand their next steps. For example, once the company has location information for its prospects, it can suggest the stores that are closest to them. 

2. Location-Based Emails: OfficeMax often sends promotional messages that include location-specific information. This helps prospects clearly understand their next steps. For example, once the company has location information for its prospects.

3. Personalized Emails from Account Managers

Personalized emails are best when they come from a real person. That’s exactly what Hubspot found out did when it test email opt-in response messages against those personalized with account representatives’ information. The emails from the company only had a click-through rate of 0.73%; however, when they tried the more personalized emails, click-through rate increased to 0.96% and generated 292 more clicks.

eBook landing pages from HubSpot. Image source: Hubspot via Kissmetrics.

4. DoggyLoot’s Segmented Email Opt-Ins: DoggyLoot segmented its subscribers by asking questions about the size of their dogs during the opt-in process.This is an easy and fun way to get more information about potential leads. 

DoggyLoot segmented its subscribers by asking questions about the size of their dogs during the opt-in process.This is an easy and fun way to get more information about potential leads.

5. Personal Productivity Reports: Personalization doesn’t need to be based on prospects’ information only; it can also be focused on the actions that they take. RescueTime, a time management company, engages its subscribers with personalized reports of the activities they participate in on the site, playing on their time management capabilities. 

RescueTime, a time management company, engages its subscribers with personalized reports of the activities they participate in on the site, playing on their time management capabilities. Image source: RescueTime via NiftyImages.

6. Behavior-Triggered Emails: To keep its users engaged, Facebook sends automated emails to those who haven’t logged in within a certain timeframe (if they haven’t opted out of emails). This strategy works well for the social media giant because “Trigger emails have a 152% higher open rate than traditional emails."

7. Segmented Promotions: Coffee-company Boca Java has seen success with this type of personalized approach. According to Shaun a Ward, writing for Par dot:

Boca Java... segmented [its] lists based on how many bags of coffee customers ordered. They sent emails offering a 17% discount on a three-pack of coffee to three unique segments: customers who had previously purchased two bags, three bags, and four bags. The coffee giant found that customers in the two-bag segment were most likely to take advantage of the discount. This gave them insight into which customers were more likely to respond to that specific offer, and in turn, they were able to upsell those customers.

Conclusion

According to Monetate, 40% of consumers buy more from retailers who personalize the shopping experience across channels. So if you haven’t gotten started with the personalization tips and tactics listed above, now is a great time to do so. Companies that can successfully leverage identity data to create individualized experiences will see sales and customer loyalty increase, while those that continue to speak to everyone will be negatively affected. 

A Professional Diploma in Digital Marketing will strengthen your existing digital skill set, help you upgrade from traditional to digital marketing and get your the recognition you deserve. Download your free brochure today.