Not that long ago, business would always be carried out face-to-face. Every item you bought, from your clothes to your car, would be bought from someone you knew.
Gradually businesses grew bigger; supermarkets and mail order catalogues replaced the local grocer and tailor. As a result, businesses also grew further from their customers. With the rise of the internet, it may seem that businesses have become completely impersonal. How can you engage with a company when you weren’t in the same country, let alone the same room?
Let’s get personal
Marketers are increasingly aware of the power of personalization. In a recent study, half of marketing influencers rated message personalization as one of the most effective marketing tacticstoday, significantly more than calls-to-action or social sharing. Consumers are also showing a preference for personalization. According to a February 2017 survey from Adobe Digital Insights, more than a third of respondents—and more than half of those under 50—preferred personalized messages.
It is an exciting trend but clearly there’s still more work to be done. The same Adobe Digital Insights study found that roughly a third of respondents ages 18 to 49 said that, while they like personalized adverts, the quality wasn’t up to scratch. Older respondents were even more negative about the quality.
This means we’re at a stage where marketers recognize personalization as important, consumers prefer personalized messages, yet we’re falling short when it comes to actually delivering effective personalized communication.
How can we incorporate personalization in a meaningful way today?
Personalization is more than just a FNAME tag
At a higher level this starts with your product or service, but your message should take into account your customers’ different situations. If you were selling suits, for example, your approach to a teenager renting their first tux would be different to a CEO buying a designer suit. Even though the product may be similar, as customers they have completely different concerns to be addressed.
It’s easy to remember this when you’re face to face, but it’s trickier when you’re online. Fortunately technology allows us to easily segment our customer list based on a wide range of criteria.
Segment on the full range of data you have available, and then deliver messages tailored to your customer. Careful segmentation will keep your marketing efforts focused and your customers happy.
Make sure communication is two way
Have you ever been to a party and been trapped by that guy who just won’t stop talking about themselves? Ever wanted to hang out with them again? Yet that’s exactly what most businesses are doing. The only difference is it’s easier to stop listening and walk away online than at a party.
Smart businesses use communication tools to foster engagement. Sometimes that means taking a break from the selling and using the opportunity to ask questions and, importantly, actually listen to the responses. It’s a perfect opportunity to learn first-hand what’s concerning your customers.
Keep track of your customers
That’s where CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software is invaluable. There are plenty of CRMs available, so take the time to find one that meets your requirements while allowing you room to scale. Once you’ve decided on a CRM, keep it up-to-date with all your customer interactions, so you always have a clear picture of each of your customer’s current status.
Beyond the standard contact information, be sure to track anything else relevant to your business and your marketing that will allow you to personalize your communication. One important area is previous activity; have they just bought one of your products? Have they not logged in for a while? Have they been a loyal customer for years?
As an example, the Bodyspace exercise app will email you weekly updates, praising you for reaching new personal bests or encouraging you to get started again, all based on what activity has been logged over the week.
Choose the right channels
The audience for a makeup product may be more receptive to messages sent through Snapchat and Instagram than through plain emails. Others customers may prefer offline communication, relying on good old fashioned mail.
When talking to your customers, find out what method they prefer and cater to it. The most likely scenario will involve communication across a variety of channels. In which case, you’ll want to make sure your messaging is consistent that the customer is always the focus of attention.
While the days when face-to-face business was standard may be behind us, that doesn’t mean we’ve seen the end of personalized messaging. In fact we live in an age where personalized communication can be delivered on a massive scale. By striving to provide useful information, tailored to your customer’s specific needs, you’ll be able to build stronger customer engagement and scale your sales like never before.
To make the most of your messaging, Reply offers a comprehensive customer communication platform. Whether you’re starting a new outreach campaign or want to keep track of your inbound marketing, Reply makes it simple. Learn more and sign up for a 14 day free trial today.