It’s Not Business, It’s Personal: 5 Tips for Successful Marketing Personalization

by Erika Rollins

No one wants to send or receive spam, and customers don’t want to feel like just another visitor to your website. Customers want—and respond to—personalization, and research backs this up. Consider that personalized emails result in six times as many transactions, and web personalization produce a nearly twenty percent increase in sales. Despite these results, though, a whopping 70 percent of brands report that they fail to effectively personalize their email campaigns. To properly personalize your marketing efforts, you’ll need a robust set of data, but info alone won’t drive engagement and deliver leads. Take a look at our five tips for effective web personalization to help you deliver a personal experience and boost the impact of your email marketing:

  1. Track behaviors – Site traffic, click-through rates, and other online behaviors can tell you a lot about which products are attracting visitors and what kinds of special offers drive conversions—as well as where interest is lost or guests get lost in navigation. But online actions aren’t the only behaviors to track. Using tracking numbers and a call intelligence platform like CallTrackingMetrics, you can follow customer journeys offline, collecting data on sales and service calls to see what needs your site may not be meeting—or what kinds of products sale well online and which ones need an agent’s personal touch.
  2. Make relevant recommendations – Personal recommendations are usually based on previous purchases or browsing behavior. While this is a good place to start, it’s hard to predict the needs of customers who have few or unrelated purchases. And clumsy efforts might result in redundancies—a customer who’s browsing for laptops might appreciate similar laptop recommendations, but get annoyed at them after the purchase is made, or if the offered product’s specs don’t match their needs. Use as much data as possible when making recommendations—not just data on the current customer, but on similar customers making similar purchases. Patterns will emerge that make your recommendations more relevant.
  3. Create customized content – Once you have some data-informed ideas about what your visitors are shopping for, create content to fit or serve their interests. E-books or videos can explain the finer points of products they’ve seen on your site, case studies involving similar kinds of customers can illustrate your problem-solving abilities, and tip sheets or guides can help buyers get the most out of your product—while also earning their trust and building loyalty.
  4. Go local – Offer a different customer experience based on the location your visitors are logging in from. Make Texas feel different than New York, Boston different from California. A little local flavor on your site and in your email campaigns can give consumers the sense that they’re supporting their community when they shop your site. And assigning local area-code tracking numbers to your site and campaigns—as well as routing calls to agents in specific locations—can also help you better serve members of distinctive communities.
  5. Target verticals – Tailoring your efforts to a specific industry helps you target specific needs with greater relevance. If your focus is already on a specific vertical—if you sell software for accounting, for example—consider zooming in a bit more. Try accounting departments for healthcare providers, or accountants serving construction firms. By offering content that connects directly to their industry and challenges, you’ll be able to paint a clearer picture of the benefits you offer.

Finding the right mix between customization and being too general is a balancing act. Without targeting, you’re unlikely to send a strong, relevant message that speaks directly to your audience. If your recommendations and content are overly targeted, though, you might be missing out on consumers who are interested, but have no previous buying history with similar products or services. Finding the right degree of personalization is as much an art as a science, and it may take some adjustments to work out a strategy that is specific enough to provide customization and relevance—but not so specific that you’re missing out on potential buyers. In the end, use your data and your common sense—but don’t be afraid to mix things up a little. Who knows, an unexpected item might lead to a purchase that gives you the chance to learn even more about your customer.