What is personalized marketing? And why do so many business owners get it wrong?
Every day I get emails that start with “Dear Sir/Madam.” You probably do too. As I don’t care for impersonal, bulk emails, they go straight into my trash folder.
I also get clever emails. Just last week, someone sent me a screenshot of my site. It looked like they were having a Zoom call with me. This caught my attention, largely because it was personalized.
Your raving fans (aka your customers) want unique and personalized experiences. Even though they’re doing their shopping online, they don’t want to be treated like just another nameless, faceless transaction.
So how does a virtual business replicate that vital in-person experience? With technology.
The internet has changed the way we do business. It’s given your company access to a global customer base. But that doesn’t mean they’re all the same. Their location, economy, and finances can influence how consumers engage with your business.
That’s why I’m going to show you how to leverage technology (and digital marketing) to create authentic experiences that increase revenue.
What is personalized marketing?
Marketing personalization, also known as one-to-one marketing, isn’t just about adding your customer’s name into an email or using “you” and “your” in a sentence. It goes much deeper than that.
Personalized marketing analyses data to gain invaluable insights into your audience. Why do they buy? When do they buy? Do they prefer to shop online or in-store? What influences their decisions?
Understanding this allows your brand to curate individualized content for people coming to your website, social followers, and subscribers on your email list.
Why is personalization crucial to happy customers?
Imagine this. You walk into your local coffee shop. The same coffee shop you’ve been going to for the past five years. The barista greets you by name and asks if you’d like the usual, “A large cappuccino with almond milk?”
This little exchange gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling. This is a brand that knows you and anticipates your desires. It’s what keeps you coming back.
Now imagine this. You walk into a Walmart with thirty or more aisles, and no one greets you. No one stops to ask if you need help finding what you’re looking for. So you waste 20 minutes searching for the right aisle, only to be overwhelmed by choice.
You eventually find a salesperson, but they can’t tell you why one product is better than the other. So you end up leaving empty-handed, choosing instead to go home and research online. And due to the poor service, you’ll probably never go back to that shop again.
That’s why personalization is vital to happy customers.
According to a report from Epsilon, 80% of customers are more likely to purchase from brands that deliver personalized experiences.
Your customers want to build and foster happy relationships with your business.
- They want you to talk to them on their terms. This could be through online chat, in-store, or over the phone (all depending on your market research).
- They want to receive tailor-made messaging.
- They want personalization.
But knowing what drives your customer’s decisions ensures you can create a personalized marketing strategy that delivers authentic experiences.
It also transforms customers into raving fans.
Four benefits of personalizing your customer experience
1. Personalization enhances your customer experience
What do your customers want? What would keep them on your website longer?
With the rise of digital technology, more and more consumers are choosing to shop online. They don’t want to head to the local supermarket to stock up on a week’s worth of groceries. They’re not interested in battling traffic to attend a yoga session or pick up a package.
But you won’t know this unless you’re analyzing your data or getting on the phone and talking with your customers. That’s why personalization is vital. You need to know:
- Why do they buy?
- Why would they buy from you?
- And what do you need to do to retain them?
Understanding this lets you create content that builds trust, answers their frequently asked questions, and streamlines the entire customer journey. You’re also able to suggest products that might improve their experience like an app.
For example, say you purchase a flashlight online. It arrives, but without batteries. You don’t have AAA batteries at home so you have to go to your local store to get some. It puts a damper on your purchase.
Amazon, in contrast, will recommend products other customers bought during the decision phase. They do this because they know it enhances the customer’s experience and it wouldn’t be possible without data.
So look at ways to improve your customer purchasing and onboarding experience. They’ll thank you for it.
2. PERSONALIZATION BUILDS GREATER BRAND LOYALTY
Personalization is key to brand loyalty. In fact, 65% of a company’s business comes from repeat purchases.
Take Apple customers, for example. Chances are, if they own an iPhone or iMac, they probably have an AppleTV and watch. And let’s be honest, Apple doesn’t come cheap.
One might argue that Garmin produces the best athletic watches for active people. Or that Samsung and Sony produce better quality televisions. That doesn’t matter to an Apple customer. They stick with the brand they know and love because it delivers a consistent experience.
So using personalization in your marketing can increase customer loyalty and ensure long-term rewards.
3. PERSONALIZATION ENSURES CUSTOMER RETENTION
It might be stating the complete obvious, but happy customers are less likely to leave.
If most of your customers are one-off purchases, you’re not doing personalization correctly. You don’t know what drives your customer’s decision-making process or what they care about. So you can create digital content that connects with them on an emotional level.
Get to know them by:
- adding more digital forms to your website
- sending out surveys
- asking questions via email.
- checking out your social feed
- spending a day at your helpdesk.
But get into the mindset of your customer. Knowing your customers means you can build a content strategy that deals with their specific pain points.
4. PERSONALIZATION INCREASES ROI
Personalization reduces your advertising costs. Forget billboards, radio spots, or television ads.
According to SmarterHQ, 72% of consumers will only engage with personalized marketing messages. By using a broad or generic message, you’ll only be targeting 28% of your customer base.
Essentially, you’re throwing your marketing dollars down the drain.
Creating strategic marketing messages ensures you attract qualified leads. You’re able to identify the media channels your customers use and create targeted campaigns with tailor-made messaging.
You can send them to personalized products landing pages or funnel them into an email automation sequence for further nurturing.
How to build a personalized marketing strategy?
Savvy marketers know you need a plan to win at the game of marketing. Bouncing from one digital tactic to another doesn’t work.
But for your marketing strategy to be successful, you need to have built your personalized campaign based on real-life research. So many business owners get this wrong because they’re not marketers.
They think, I know what my customers want and what they care about. The truth is, you don’t. Unless you’ve completed market research and analyzed your findings, you’re still playing a game of chance.
Here’s how to build a personalized marketing strategy that converts leads to customers, earns their loyalty, and retains them.
1: Capture customer data
Why capture customer data? Because as a marketer, you can use these statistics to see which marketing messages perform and tweak those that aren’t (or drop them entirely). You can also identify problem areas.
For example, maybe your email campaign isn’t converting. Which email sees the biggest drop-off? Or you’ve got a high bounce rate on your products’ landing pages. Perhaps you need to revisit and rework the messaging.
So make sure you’re capturing your customer data. Here’s how:
- Use lead forms on your website. I have contact forms across my site. Every product landing page, my contact us page, the home page, blog, whatever. Capture their full name, email address, company name, and perhaps ask a question. You can feed this data into your CRM.
- Use CRM software. An email welcome sequence is a great way to delve deeper and get to know a lead. Where are they based? What brought them to your site? What do they need help with? You can organize customers into segments, and you can then send targeted emails. This reduces your unsubscribe rate and increases your open and click-through rates.
- Monitor Google Analytics. I love Google Analytics. I can see where my leads are coming from, if they’re male or female, whether they prefer to browse my site via mobile phone or desktop, which pages get the most traffic, what keyword topics perform best, which days see a drop off in users, and which are my best-selling products.
- Check out the social chatter. What are your customers saying online? Are they actively talking about your brand? Did they share a review? What questions are they asking? What content do they engage with most? Use Facebook and Instagram Insights, LinkedIn Analytics, Twitter, or whatever to get a feel for customer sentiment.
- Send a survey. To get direct feedback from your customers, use a survey. I recently sent a survey to customers who’d bought my 1-Page Marketing Plan course. I wanted to find out what they loved, what they would improve, and what goals they had achieved after completing the course. I then used this information to rewrite the course landing page using my customers’ words. My team also rebuilt the course to include many customer suggestions. We’re relaunching it now, and I look forward to seeing an uptick in sales.
- Run a poll on social media. Another great way to gather customer sentiment is to run a poll. Do they prefer X or Y? Do they read reviews before purchasing a product? How would they prefer your business to engage with them—via email, direct mail, or telephone? Gathering this information can help you improve your customer service and enhance their experience.
- Read your product reviews and customer testimonials. What are your customers saying about you online? Again, this can help you to identify weaknesses. You can also use their words in your marketing messaging. I tend to talk a lot about clarity. It’s because my customers always mention it. I help them gain clarity into building a marketing plan. So it’s messaging I want to drive home. What message will you drive home?
2: COMPARE ANALYTICS
What do your customers like and dislike about your brand, product, or service?
What behavioral patterns can you identify? For example:
- Which ads receive the most clickthrough?
- What platforms are your customers most active on?
- What information are they looking for?
- Which blog articles receive the most traffic?
- What email subject lines perform best?
- Do your customers prefer short or long emails?
Compare the data you collect from social media, your email CRM software and Google analytics to understand what motivates your customers.
I’ve done A/B testing with my email list. I sent an email promoting my private Facebook inner circle and received over 900 new leads. I did the same for Instagram and only got 80 new leads. This told me that my audience isn’t active on Instagram. I’d been posting on Instagram for two years with little success. Now I know why.
So comparing your analytics, you can see which media to go big on and which to drop.
3. SEGMENT YOUR AUDIENCE
After gathering data from Google Analytics, Instagram, Facebook Insights, and email analytics, you can now segment audiences and develop targeted marketing campaigns.
For example, consumers coming to Successwise can be segmented into the following groups:
- Owners or entrepreneurs looking to grow their business with proven marketing strategies
- Consultants or coaches ready to scale their businesses to the next level
- Marketing professionals wanting to upskill, get results, and supercharge their careers
- Startups hoping to start on the right foot with a solid, proven approach they can trust
Each segment is at a very different stage in the buyer’s journey with vastly different needs.
A startup won’t care about my high-end certification program because they’re not looking to sell coaching services. At the same time, a consultant won’t be interested in my marketing book. They want to build a six-figure coaching business, not write a marketing plan.
So segmenting your audience allows you to personalize your marketing. You can craft individualized marketing messages that target your customer’s pain points and overcome objections.
You can deepen relationships, earn their trust, and sell more. Best of all, email automation software ensures you only need to do it once.
4: DEVELOP YOUR MARKETING CAMPAIGNS
Now that you know which media performs best, the segments your customers fall into, and the messages they’d care about, you can start building your marketing campaigns.
Your campaign could include:
- A free webinar sharing top tips on overcoming a problem your customer has.
- Google Adwords and social media ads pushing high-value leads to a product landing page, blog post, or webinar.
- A sales page dedicated to a particular customer segment. You want to take this prospect on a journey. Start by establishing familiarity. Show them what their future could look like after using your product or service. Share customer testimonials. Sell, sell, sell.
- Funnel your customer into a targeted email sequence. Whether it’s a series of five or seven emails, use this as an opportunity to build trust, gain their confidence, establish your authority, overcome objections, and ultimately close the deal.
Lastly, use technology as much as possible to automate the process.
Examples of marketing personalization
1. Add online chat to your website.
Are you making it easy for consumers to engage with you? While FAQs are helpful, your customers don’t want to waste time searching through lists of information to find what they’re looking for.
They want answers, and they want them now. A good way to overcome this is to add a chat button on your website. This is something that, ideally, you’d have monitored 24/7.
There’s nothing more frustrating than submitting a question and having to wait hours or days to get an answer.
So it’s convenient, and it recreates that in-person experience.
For example, I recently went to purchase a weather station. I first looked for a chat button on a website because I had questions. Only, they didn’t have a chat button, which annoyed me. I had to fill out a form, which delayed my purchase by at least a week. I could have gone to one of their competitors because of this.
So adding online chat reduces the risks of potential customers straying to competitors.
2. SHOW UP ON VIDEO MORE.
Your customers want you to produce more video content. In fact, according to Hubspot, 54% of consumers want to see more video content. It’s why I’m showing up on video a lot more, and you need to as well.
Video is powerful. It cuts through the noise of a crowded digital space and engages your audience. It also creates a one-to-one experience.
Don’t believe me. See for yourself.
- 72% of consumers would rather learn about a product or service through a video (OptinMonster).
- 79% of consumers say video content convinced them to download or buy a piece of software.
- Adding a video to your product landing page can increase conversion rates by 80% (Wordstream).
- Marketers get 66% more qualified leads each year with video (OptinMonster).
- According to marketers, by using video, you are likely to grow 49% faster than brands that don’t (Wordstream).
For example, I recently wrote a blog about building a recording studio. Normally, I’d upload pictures and share my top tips.
But this time, I included a video of me walking through my studio explaining how I set it up, what equipment I bought, and it’s getting hits.
Video elevates the article and gives consumers a glimpse into my private space. That goes a long way to establishing trust and positioning me as an authority.
So make sure your marketing strategy includes video content.
3. SEGMENT YOUR EMAIL LIST FOR MORE PERSONALIZED MARKETING.
The worst thing you can do is to send your subscribers irrelevant information.
Your welcome sequence is your chance to segment your audience. I always ask my subscribers to tell me a little more about them.
- What is their biggest marketing challenge?
- What brought them to Successwise?
Based on their feedback, I can determine:
- Whether they’ve read my book (if not, I’ll send them a link to the book web page)
- If they’re wet behind the ears or have tried marketing before
- What field they’re in (and if I can help)
- What type of product would benefit them most
4. Use video personalization in your email marketing.
I’m a massive fan of email. I’ve had the greatest success with email marketing which is probably why I wrote an entire blog dedicated to using email to fuel your overall inbound marketing strategy.
But I also understand that not all consumers are created equally. And while some might prefer text, others love video content.
So I’ve recently started using personalized video in my email outreach. It just elevates the message, and according to OptinMonster, 84% of consumers have been convinced by video content to purchase a company’s product or service.
Video personalization works great for cold outreach, especially if you’re going after a high-ticket customer.
For example, I recently received a video from an SEO expert. They’d put together a short three-minute video showing a few graphs and detailing weaknesses in my content strategy. I could tell they knew their stuff, and they’d made an effort to get my attention. Not just some lame, templated email sprouting the same old.
These are the tools I use:
5. THINK LIKE MARKETERS AND PERSONALIZE YOUR WRITING
The center of your writing is to help your customer get from point A to B. A place of pain to pleasure.
So when writing copy, always write to one person, even if it’s going out to thousands. Visualize the person you are speaking to. Are you addressing their pain points? Would they care about what you have to say?
Here are a few other top writing tips:
- Use their name where possible.
- Don’t generalize. Use the words “you” and “your” instead of “hey everybody,” “we,” and “y’all.”
- Write as if you’re chatting to a friend. You want to make your reader comfortable. So keep your writing conversational and at the level of a 4th grade reader.
- Use active language. Passive writing can put you to sleep. You want to actively engage your audience.
- Add emotive language. Play on customer emotions—fear, anger, happiness, sadness, anxiety. When you tap into their emotions, that’s when you convert prospects to customers.
- Share your journey to success and all the mistakes you made. Remember, your customers have made many of the same mistakes and are still struggling. That’s why they’ve come to you.
- Don’t put them down. I always try to steer clear of making my audience feel less for the mistakes they’ve made. You want to praise them for persevering and encourage them to make crucial changes.
- Stick to the point. What action do you want your customer to take? What is the goal of your email or blog? Remember, one email, one point.
Start personalizing your content
Now that you know the keys to personalization, it’s time to revisit your marketing strategy and make vital changes.
Start with research. Gather crucial data, analyze it, and note where change is needed.
Develop new campaigns. If something isn’t working, don’t throw it out. Instead, try new messages and media to see if there’s an improvement.
Remember to be real. Bridge the trust gap by sharing your story. Don’t be afraid to mention mistakes you’ve made and vital lessons you’ve learned. These stories create a shared experience and earn your customer’s trust.
Deliver value. Be open to helping without expecting anything in return. I always say, give your best content (intellectual property) away for free. A customer that wants help will pay for it. Sharing value-added content moves them further along the buyer journey.
Monitor and manage your results. Marketing is an iterative process. There’s always room for improvement. Make sure you’re on point.
Check out this blog if you want to learn how to write influential copy.