Marketing personalization is a customer experience tailored for individuals or segments within a business’s customer population. Because each customer is unique, and has different needs, the most effective marketing (online or offline) is that which speaks directly to the individual. The central messaging of personalization says “I see you, know you, and care about what you need or want.
Customer targeted marketing arose from the ashes of nascent email marketing practices where customer campaigns were coined “email blasts” and channel marketing was one-size-fits-all instead of bespoke. Marketers took a shotgun approach, hoping that they’d get lucky and hit something. “Email blasts”, the term coined by marketers in those early days, aptly describes the approach: imprecise, impersonal, and cold, with the potential to do great damage, but ultimately ineffective.
This approach to customer service (and marketing should be customer service) isn’t acceptable or effective in the bricks-and-mortar world, so shouldn’t fly in the digital world, either. In personalized marketing, you serve only that which data tells you will satisfy the appetite of an individual or a like-minded collection of individuals (i.e. a “segment”).
Why Customer Targeted Marketing is Vital
The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) named “personalization” the marketing word of the year in 2019 for some very good reasons. It’s not just a buzzword; it’s a marketing methodology born of undeniable data. According to the Statista article “Marketing personalization – statistics & facts,” today, 33% of marketers in the US and UK spend more than half of their marketing budget on personalized marketing.
Because so many major brands now employ a marketing personalization strategy, consumers have come to expect it. Brands that don’t personalize miss an opportunity to increase conversions and reinforce a negative perception of their brand, its products and services.
Marketing Personalization & Automation Made Easy
Email Campaign Personalization
Email campaigns are a great way to get your feet wet in marketing personalization, because if you have the data from lists or a CRM, personalization is easily implemented in email campaigns. Here are some quick tips for personalizing email sent to customers:
- Use the customer’s real name in subject lines and in the greeting salutation.
To make this possible, first and last name fields must be required and validated fields in all signup forms. This prevents customer name variables or placeholders, such as “Dear [FirstName]”, from being displayed in the email.
- Use a real “From:” address.
A personalized “From:” is an email address that a customer service or sales team member will respond to instead of the very impersonal “donotreply@” or company email address used by so many email marketers. If you assign a person to respond to replies, you could also take the extra effort and include that person’s photo, name and contact information in the email signature.
- Send segmented campaigns to further personalize an email campaign.
A MailChimp segmentation study reported that segmented email campaigns have 14.3% more opens, over 100% more clicks, and 9.37% fewer unsubscribes than non-segmented campaigns. If you segment customer data, use segmentation to personalize the campaign. Depending on the data you collect in signup forms, you might segment based on stated interests, services or products purchased, age, geographical location, or other customer data. You may also segment based on the recipient’s interaction with past campaigns (e.g. opens, link clicks). Once you’ve decided upon the list segments, you tailor some of the messaging in the campaign sent to each segment. The main message of the single email campaign is the same, though parts of the campaign can contain language, content, and offers, tailored to the segment.
Segmented Landing Pages and Signup Pages
You can also craft landing pages based on list segments. Again, the customization of the landing page linked to in an email campaign will depend on how your list is segmented. For example, let’s say your online store is having a store-wide sale. While you could send an email campaign announcing the sale to all list subscribers or customers in your CRM, or you can easily personalize the campaign and the landing page based on past purchases.
Instead of a store sale landing page that links to everything on sale, you could place links to store categories (pants, dresses, shirts, outerwear) based on past purchases. You’d still announce the store-wide sale, but at the top of the campaign you’d have linked shop category photos based on a user’s past shopping behaviour.
The person who designs the landing page might use simple logic and display past-purchase categories based on GET variables and values passed in a link in the campaign email: myshop.com/salepage.php?cat=outerwear for example.
eCommerce Shop Personalization
These days, most eCommerce shops employ some form of personalized marketing. Whether you’re using a custom-coded shop or a readymade shop or plugin (e.g. Shopify, WooCommerce) a few basic forms of personalization you can easily implement are:
- Login Greeting
When a user logs into your ecommerce platform, add a friendly greeting using their first name: “Hi Freda, welcome back!” for example. On their account page, display helpful information such as past purchases, or display shop categories from which they’ve purchased in the past or sales of similar items they’ve purchased.
- Recently Viewed Items
When someone is shopping on your website, display recently viewed items (often displayed in a carousel). This simple feature saves a shopper a lot of time, because they don’t have to remember products they were viewing, or worse, have to start searching all over again.
- Cross-Sells and Upsells
On product pages, display cross-sells – products a shopper may also be interested in based on categories or products they’ve viewed in the recent shopping sessions. On cart pages, display upsells – products or add-ons a shopper may also be interested in based on items in their cart. Use personalized language for cross-sells and upsells, such as “Hey, Freda. You might also be interested in…” or “Hey, Freda. People who have bought this product, also purchased the following…”
- Exit-Intent Popups
Exit-intent popups are usually triggered when a user’s mouse moves toward the browser close button or back button. Although some people find exit-intent popups annoying, usually that’s because they frequently don’t offer anything of value to the specific visitor. However, they can also increase engagement and conversions by offering something a visitor may want.
In an online shopping system, the popup might display an incentive, such as a discount, if the user is about to abandon their cart. You could also offer a discount on items browsed but not purchased. If they’ve made a purchase, perhaps offer a free download of an article related to the purchase. The personalization “triggers” can come from data you’ve already collected in your shop (past purchases, current cart items, recently browsed items).
- Abandoned Cart Messages and Emails
If a shopper has invested time shopping on your site, has added items to their cart, but didn’t check out and pay, you have an opportunity to find out why and close the sale. There are many reasons people abandon shopping carts. Being interrupted while shopping online or having qualms when they see the cart total are two common reasons people will abandon a cart.
When a shopper abandons a cart, you can send a personalized email which contains the items that were in their cart. You might also offer an incentive, such as a discount or free item if they finalize the purchase within “x” number of days. On the eCommerce shop, you can also ensure that cookies are set that keeps items in the cart for 30 days in case the shopper returns. You can go one step further and incentivise the purchase by sweetening the deal with a freebie or discount displayed the next time the user shops or logs in.
Omnichannel Marketing Personalization with RFDM Solutions
Consistency of branding, design, voice and tone, and personalization across touchpoints, referred to as omnichannel marketing, increases brand recognition while offering customers a consistent experience wherever they view your brand. Using past interactions and data to personalize the customer experience across brand channels benefits your business by increasing brand loyalty and conversions. Reach out for a free 30-minute conversation on including personalization in your automated marketing efforts.