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Personalization has a future — if you do it right

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Have you ever walked into a store and heard a clerk shout, "Hi, welcome in"?

Instinctively you return the salutation.

"Oh, hello. Thank you." 

But then, there doesn't seem to be an employee within sight as you look around. Or at least you can't identify who the employee is among the many people near you. Perhaps the employee was behind a counter? Maybe busy with another shopper? 

Although they were doing their job welcoming you to the store, the experience was anything but personal. 

 

Pro tip: Good personalization starts with actually being personal.

Statistics heavily favor personalization. In fact, it's one of the hottest marketing trends in the industry right now. Marketers everywhere talk about it as an essential strategy in any marketing plan, so they invest in the latest technologies to arm their arsenal: 

  • Adding personalization tokens in automated emails and subject lines
  • Creating landing pages with dynamic content variations
  • Deploying chatbots to their site

But there's a big difference between personalization and something being personal. 

The goal isn't to trick someone into opening your email or clicking on your ad. Personalization's job is to improve your customer's experience. It's to shape the kind of experience that attracts the people you want to work with so they become supporters and champions for you in the real world. It's tailoring your offer and your communications, giving your customer a more personal experience.

Tricking people into reading your messages with the "Hey {First Name}" play is surface-level personalization, and we're here to tell you there are better options. 

 

Let's look at how to do personalization the *right* way.

Marketers should view personalization as delivering relevant experiences rather than as a conversion gimmick. This means brands need to consider how some of the most minor details of a customer's experience can affect their purchase decisions. Mapping a buyer's journey by employing the latest technologies in data science, machine learning and artificial intelligence makes this possible. 

One positive way to deliver a personalized experience is to present dynamic content on your website based on the time of visit. Think relevance: what is relevant to your visitor when they land on your page and think actionable: what action makes sense?

What if someone landed on your site while you were hosting a product demo? You could offer a pop-up window allowing the visitor to join the demonstration. Or maybe you're a restaurant. Displaying a banner highlighting your lunch menu when visitors enter your site between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.is a perfectly relevant experience. 

Another idea to deliver a personal experience is to display dynamic content based on the number of visits someone makes to your website. Have you considered a welcome message served to first-time visitors? Or how about showing offers that would appeal to first-time visitors or tempt returning visitors with suggestions based on browsing history?

There are several successful and impressive personalization techniques out there. Still, the key is this: focus on delivering relevant real-time experiences for each customer, and you'll experience the full benefits of personalization.

 

Steer clear of getting it wrong.

A few final thoughts about how failing at personalization can alienate your audience: 

  • Sending pointless messages. Delivering irrelevant messages — even with a personalization token — will do you more harm than good. If it’s irrelevant, you run the chance of a customer unsubscribing.
  • Remarketing. While it's a very effective strategy, it may sabotage efforts if done excessively. You don’t want to come across as stalking.
  • Rigid workflows. When users don't provide their first name, the "Hey {First Name}" fail will be heard loudly.

Getting personalization right can be complicated. But then again, nothing worth having comes easy. You don't want to annoy your customers like the clerk in the store that shouts at you from a well-hidden hiding place. But you do want to deliver an experience that will bring your customers back, again and again.

Content Matterz specializes in content that converts. Contact us and let's get personal!