Why Personalization is Not Just a Buzzword

Personalization is much more than a marketing term to toss around. It’s about meeting the expectations of your customer and providing a more enjoyable experience. Indeed, consumers are demanding more personalized brand interactions. It’s common for consumers to be more likely to buy from a company that knows them by name or makes recommendations based on their past purchases or behaviors. They expect content and interactions to be relevant, interesting, and valuable.

What is Personalization?

Personalization is fundamentally transforming marketing, and it extends well beyond configuring your emails to address your customer by name. Personalization is everything you do to make your customer experience and content more useful, relevant, and convenient—in other words, personal.

So, what does that look like? For one thing, content can be personalized in a number of ways. Some examples include:

  • Topic pages and content collections where your audience can quickly and easily find related content
  • Industry or topic-specific newsfeeds or newsletters
  • Customized online experiences (Amazon’s homepage, for example, provides users with an array of personalized information after they sign in.)
  • Music playlists (Think Spotify and Pandora.)
  • Personalized products (From the “Share a Coke” campaign to entire personal shopping subscription services, like those offered by Stitch Fix, Wantable, and Trunk Club.)
  • And of course, personalized emails

But personalization is about more than what you offer. It’s also about how you offer it. Convenience is key to personalization. Consumers want to be able to view content anywhere, on any device they prefer. That means it’s essential that your content be responsive and easy to view on mobile, tablet, or laptop. It also means sending emails when your customers are more likely to open them (and not be annoyed).

Effect of Personalization (Why is it So Important?)

Consumers are inundated more and more with marketing messages on a daily basis these days. Therefore, if you want to get their attention and drive engagement, your marketing must be effective—and one effective and proven tactic is personalization. Personalized content shows your customer or prospect that you care about them, you understand their needs, and you want to provide them with more value.

From an ROI perspective, one of the added benefits of providing consumers with personalized experiences is the opportunity to drive related, unplanned engagement. Think about “Recommendations for You” from Netflix, or pre-checkout purchase opportunities on sites like Amazon that offer bundles based on what you’re buying—“Customers who bought X also purchased Y.”

Get Personal

Keep in mind that personalization requires different levels of effort depending on the medium. For example, personalized emails are relatively easy as compared to personalized video case studies. However, here are some ideas to get started:

  • Segment your database. There are a variety of ways to segment your customer database, and exactly how you approach it depends on your particular industry, the nature and size of your business, and your marketing goals. You could segment your database by the type and size of purchase, online versus offline purchases, or frequency of purchase, or by basic demographics, like age or income level. You could also segment according to audience answers to specific questions, such as why they visited your website or subscribed to your newsletter. Having segmented lists can be the foundation for highly personalized marketing campaigns.
  • Don’t limit email personalization to “Hi, [First name].” Pair personalized emails with personalized offers and landing pages to provide a unified customer experience. Customize content in a meaningful way by acknowledging some of your customer’s preferences or previous purchases. Use your customer’s name or location where appropriate, or include a location-specific offer. With the right tools, you can even personalize your CTA button to include your customer’s name.
  • Be helpful, not creepy. You don’t want to give the impression that you’re stalking your customer, or using personal information arbitrarily. Be thoughtful in how you personalize offers and content. It might rub prospective customers the wrong way to send an email saying, “We noticed you visited our website.” Try a more subtle approach with a pop-up that says, “We thought you might like this related content.”

Consumers are demanding more these days. And with ad blockers, spam filters, and the ability to skip through streaming ads, it can be a challenge to get your message through. Make sure your marketing strategy incorporates personalization to show customers you understand their needs and are here to help.

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