Let’s be honest about it, we all like being called by our name. Whether we are good at remembering names or not, we always try to and are apologetic when we can’t. It’s not only good manners but it makes a person feel valued to be remembered. I always liked name badges at conferences – even when I was the one having to change and make them at the last minute! There’s something good about being able to address a person by their name. In our current, virtual world, entering your name on screen at the start of a Zoom or Teamer call rather than a company name, email or nothing on screen should be the norm. Having a nickname is fine with your friends but in a professional context remember your audience, no matter what your business. But personalisation extends far wider than simply using a person’s name.
Remember my name and you add to my feeling of importance”
Your message may still fall on deaf ears if the message itself, also isn’t personalised. This extents personalisation to designing your message or tailoring it to meet an individual’s needs or preferences. By doing this you elevate your communications from generalised to individualised, making the customer or potential customer at the centre of what you are doing. This helps achieve 2 key goals:
- Aids customer progression to the next stage of the buyer journey
- Drives engagement and assist in converting leads
It’s often thought that it’s relatively simple to personalise when you are looking at B2C marketing especially given the breadth of digital channels we have at our fingertips. However, the same core principles also apply for B2B marketing. The purchase does not have to be online but that’s where engagement will happen. Here is a quick overview of some principles to help reach your target audience in a more meaningful way:
Data & Technology
Personalisation is very much reliant on the type of data that you must use. Before you begin, if you collect and store personal data then make ensure you are doing so as per the relevant data protection legislation. Start by thinking about where your audience is and how you can gather information about them. These research methods can include surveys, questionnaires, focus groups, social media, subscriber lists and competitions to name some.
Gather as much information as you can about your customers and potential customers in as short a format as possible. Before you ask for data, think about where you are going to use it. For example, do you need a postal address if you are going to be email them? Perhaps it’s just their town or county that you need so you can segment geographically. Also consider how are you going to store and manage the data and personalisation in each channel, what type of technology and tools do you need?
Strategy & Planning
What is the goal of personalising your marketing and what are the customer and potential customer touchpoints where you can do this? It may help here to map out a persona or personas to reflect the various segments that you are targeting. This will help hugely in tailoring your message to the right audience and selecting the best channels. Personalization can be introduced in website copy, eBooks, webinars, emails, social media posts, landing pages among other places.
Now think about what type of behaviour you want to encourage. Is it repeat visits, increased purchases, higher engagement? Most importantly plan, this is a strategy that can take time to build up, make sure you have both the time and resources to ensure you can follow through with it. It could be far more negative to start and stop suddenly than not to start at all.
Implementation & Ideas
Now you know who you’re targeting and how, this is the fun bit! Here’s a few simple ways to get started:
- Email Marketing
Send emails from a human to a human. Whether it’s a company newsletter, a sales offer or new product announcement make it as personal as possible. This helps with trust and authenticity and in building a reputable brand. Include the recipient’s name and if possible, send it from their company contact whether that is yourself, a particular team or salesperson. The days of the generic info@ email address are over. Remember to double check and verify your data prior to sending. The big pitfall with email marketing is incorrect names or bad mail merges. There is nothing worse than receiving an email to Dear (First Name) or Dear Customer when you have given your name. You can also use your data to segment your database and send slightly different emails to different segments, making the experience unique to each group.
- Social Media Marketing
It may seem basic but like the human to human in email marketing, have a real person respond to customers personally on social media. Many companies have started to automate this process, from a time and resource saving perspective. Longer term this will have a negative impact, as interacting with your customers across these platforms can help increase customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.
Even if you are not selling on-line, people are increasingly using social media to do their product and service research, so you need to be there when they are. Monitor your social media activity daily and engage, in a professional manner, with your customers when they comment. This is a great way of continuing conversations and keeping your brand top of mind with potential customers
- Landing Pages
A good website is a given. As I’ve said above most people will research online before taking any other steps in their customer journey. One major mistake that a lot of companies make is engaging with customers, whether through email or social media and then sending them to a generic website. We all love our own homepage but what’s so engaging about that if I’ve been promised information about something else? It’s not up to the recipient to then start trawling through the menus to find what they want.
To overcome this, create specific landing pages. This is a great way to make those personas you created come to life and you can tailor messages for your key audience in this way. If you simply don’t have the capacity for creating and maintaining extra pages, then make sure whatever you link to is relevant to the message you sent out i.e. discount offers clicks through to the prices page on your website. Where possible, if you are running a social media advertising or AdWords campaign, create a landing page for it. The results will be much stronger.
Finally, remember like anything else personalisation only works when it’s relevant and useful. Always remember who your audience is and have a clear picture of what they want in your head. It’s not about what you want to tell them, it’s about what they want to hear.