Regardless of what business you’re in, or how long you’ve been doing it, the greatest marketing challenge is as old as time: reaching your audience. As self-serve advertising becomes more commonplace, competitive saturation is increasingly problematic. Your customers are inundated with ads, offers, and promotional messaging everywhere they turn—and it’s easy to get lost in the noise. Today, we’re going to discuss the concept of audience engagement in a very literal sense. This isn’t another article about where to advertise, but instead, how to advertise your business. The idea of Marketing Personalization applies to virtually all outbound platforms from email to PPC.
What is Marketing Personalization?
It’s no coincidence that this once ambiguous buzzword has recently become more prevalent than ever—because now it’s more possible than ever. Marketing Personalization is rising in popularity simply because businesses of all sizes are realizing the value of collecting information about their customers. The more data you have about someone, the more personalized your advertising can be. Let’s illustrate this concept with an example:
You sell baby clothes online from your Shopify store. In December, Mary Smith purchased a pink floral dress in a 3-month size. From the order receipt alone, you now know this person’s name, location, date of purchase, what they purchased, and email their address. You can also safely surmise there is a 3-month old girl in her life who she is happy to buy clothes for. Now, you could add the buyer to your monthly newsletter and you may get another sale in the future from them. However, delivering personalized content that pertains to them, specifically, sounds a lot more effective (and it is). At the very least, you should now address Mary by name in all email marketing. It’s a nice touch that goes a long way. Take it one step further and highlight products relevant to that baby girl. In January, Mary is likely going to be in need of a coat for a 4-month old and, in February, a onesie for a 5-month old. Don’t forget, you know the city this item was shipped to. You can easily factor in weather and seasonality as well. The more personalized the campaign, the more conversions one can expect.
This is, of course, just one isolated scenario but Marketing Personalization can be employed for almost any business, online or offline, in any industry.
Beyond the Inbox
There is no doubt that personalization is most easily achievable via email marketing. The idea, however, can (and should) be applied to any form of customer engagement. Surely, you’ve seen banner ads for the exact outdoor sofa you were browsing last week on Wayfair or Amazon. Retargeting is Marketing Personalization at work. Instead of a generic graphic featuring kitchen blenders, towels, and coat racks, you are seeing relevant products—which you are far more likely to buy.
This concept also works with direct mail campaigns. Again, using the information known about your customers, you can custom-tailor the messaging to them. For example, if you operate a handyman service, you might send carpentry and fixture replacement postcards to homeowners, but not apartment renters. This not only saves you money, but increases your conversion rate.
Renowned media theorist, Marshall McLuhan, famously said, “the medium is the message.” If you are placing an ad in Golf Digest and Better Homes & Gardens, your messaging should be unique and relevant to that particular publication. You may not have specific data on the readers, but you do know their interests and can speak their language. Personalization is your path to profit, no matter where you advertise.
Personalization Meets Automation
Whether you collect customer information at point-of-sale, via surveys, or telepathy, it’s not always easy to know what to do with it. We recently helped a client with over 20 years of customer activity stored in their CRM strategize and implement a personalized marketing plan. Some pieces of this process, especially in the beginning, are inevitably manual. This includes merging all of your subscriber and customer data into a streamlined, unified format. Luckily, there are several email platforms like MailChimp that make segmenting and targeting within your lists a breeze. You can setup specific messages triggered by certain activities, behaviors, or user attributes. Aside from email, major Pay-Per-Click networks like Google, Bing, and Facebook offer the ability to retarget your site’s visitors with pertinent products, categories, and offerings. Once established, these systems run effortlessly in the background and work for your business around the clock.
The best way to stand out in a sea of promotional noise is relevance. Buying roller skates doesn’t mean I want to hear about your sale on scuba gear, but I certainly might be interested in elbow pads. Take the time to tailor your marketing efforts to people and you will surely be rewarded with growth.