Bernard May is the CEO of National Positions, a 5-time Inc. 500 company, award-winning marketing agency and Google Premier Partner.
It’s been said that most of us are exposed to as many as 10,000 advertisements daily. The drip, drip, drip of ads begins pretty much the instant we roll out of bed in the morning and is well underway by breakfast — from the label on our coffee reminding us what brand we drink to those 15-second “brought to you by” ad spots that we hear in our favorite morning podcast.
The majority of these ads are peppered amongst all the glorious content we consume from our laptops, mobile devices, and yes, even our company desktops. However, most of us have become adept at mentally filtering out the ad messaging that comes our way. The tsunami of online ads and messaging alerts are generally, well, general, and don’t address our personal concerns or interests.
We see clickable ads for a local dentist, an auto dealership around the corner featuring the latest vehicle “you deserve” to be driving, or the latest restaurant that can deliver right to your doorstep. Thanks, internet! Although, rarely are these value-based marketing messages considering the dentists we already have, the cars we already drive or the fact that we’re currently meal-prepping on the weekends.
The time has come to avoid these kinds of one-size-fits-all, spray-and-pray promotions. Personalization must become synonymous with your marketing efforts. When you market to customers, you want to consider an individual’s preferences whenever and wherever possible.
In recent years, this approach has acquired a cool (marketing) name: programmatic advertising. But we already do that, you might be thinking. Every email we send to customers has their first name in the subject line. Well, it turns out there’s a lot more to personalized marketing than that. Let’s take a look at a few simple strategies you can use to give your campaign that extra personal touch.
One way to personalize your email campaigns is to base your content on the actual actions and behaviors of your customers. In fancy marketing talk, we call these behavioral emails. They are not mass email blasts; they’re emails sent to exactly one customer (albeit based on a pre-existing messaging that can be recycled, adjusted and tweaked to fit the situation).
Some common examples of behavioral emails might include:
• The Abandoned Cart Reminder
Ahhh, the pesky thorn in the side of every e-commerce website: consumers loading up their carts and then failing to complete the purchase due to yet another life distraction.
In 2020, 83.48% of all potential online retail orders across North America were abandoned during checkout. Improving checkout conversions — even just a little — can make a significant difference to your bottom line. A gentle reminder (or reminders) that their “cart is waiting” along with a snapshot of all the goodies in their cart might be all that is needed to bring them back to complete their purchase. You might even consider throwing a little discount code into follow-up two or three to sweeten (and seal) the deal.
• The ‘We Miss You’ Message
Have a past customer who hasn’t been back to your site in a while? Well, it’s time to bring them back! This “time away” email could be based on average customer repeat purchase rates, a seasonal reminder or even a birthday message. It’s up to your business model and the tone of your brand. These emails often come with a unique discount code offer that relates to their past purchase activity.
• The ‘You Might Also Like’ Note
Most of us actually appreciate getting product recommendations, as long as they have some personal relevance to us. Remember that swanky brown leather jacket you got last month? Well, here are a pair of shoes that would match perfectly! Fifty-eight percent of consumers report that they’re likely to shop on a website that recommends relevant products.
There are many other types of behavioral emails, but these examples can help you get the ball rolling!
Mobile Is Not Off-Limits
Text messages get a bad reputation. No doubt because too many of us have gotten those sketchy offers asking us to click on a weird-looking URL. But with nearly 55% of all web traffic coming from mobile devices, our phones are almost always within reach — and the mobile preference continues to grow.
According to Statista, nearly 90% of users are fine or perfectly okay with promotional messaging alerts gracing their screens. But your approach to going this route is right there in the name. Personal devices call for personal messages.
We work, communicate, explore, engage, and yes, purchase from our devices, so anything we see that is not catered to us can feel like an intrusion. Be sure to keep SMS reminders or promotions 100% based on your own customer lists that have opted in to receive these notifications. And use this tool with care, as it is an unmatched opportunity to personally engage customers with your brand.
Create Customized Videos
Here’s a highly effective yet somewhat tricky tactic: sending each customer a video targeted to them. But who has time to create a unique video for each customer?
Luckily, you don’t need to do that — you can create a video that, for instance, features the customer’s name or includes a brief presentation related to their buying preferences.
Spotify, the music streaming service, does something like this with its hugely popular year-end Wrapped feature. It presents each customer with an automatically generated exhibition of their annual listening data: most frequently played songs, total number of minutes spent on the site, and so on.
The key to proper marketing personalization in cyberspace is to collect your customers’ data in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations pertaining to personally identifiable consumer information. That will supply you with the kinds of personalization insights you need to target your clientele accurately — and personally.
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