If you’ve been keeping up with marketing industry trends, you ‘ve probably heard a lot about personalization. Given the competition you face and the rising customer expectations because of that, it’s becoming more difficult to sell your products to anonymous, generic market prospects. The pressure is on to create marketing campaigns that can really connect with people. The difficulty lies in finding the best ways to do so without breaking the bank, or investing in personalization tools that are labor and time-intensive.
To get past the initial confusion and concerns, we need to define what personalization is in this context. In marketing, personalization breaks down into two things:
- It is identifying the relevant attributes of a person. We can refer to demographics, customer behavior and profile, and their potential towards the product. Will they embrace it? Is the particular market viable and lucrative enough to support the effort?
- Then, it is customizing their online experience with your company or business by showing them the product, content, choices or opportunities most relevant to their needs and desires.
Personalization tasks you to study your target consumers: you get a sense of their personality, their needs, and their wants, and you create an experience with them that presents products or experiences that hits their emotional and rational points. This is to show them that your products will fulfill their needs and help them answer their wants.
It’s like getting taking all the relevant details of your target consumer to create a ‘focus personality’ — someone to aim your messages to specifically, tailor ads and marketing strategies to, and create focused messages for. Instead of crafting messages towards a generic consumer, you address the personality of your market.
Whether you’re a business-to-business marketer, or a business-to-consumer marketer, personalization helps you create a more meaningful interaction with your prospects when you can present the best content they need at the right time. And that is only the beginning.
- When you generate more meaningful interactions with prospects you can drive more of them towards the marketing funnel and towards high-value sales.
- When you have good content, you can leverage it more effectively in your personalization campaign — thereby maximizing the resources you already have, helping you keep within budget and lower your costs per lead.
Personalization starts with defining who, what and where.
“Who” identifies your target audience.
In business-to-business marketing, your audience will be defined by what is called firmographics (think “firm” instead of “person”) : you think of the perfect company profile and build on that image, the company itself, the niche, the size and the revenue the company generates, and its behavior.
In business-to-consumer marketing, your audience is defined by its demographics: For example, location, niche, price points and relevant buying history For another example, “Customers who have bought this item have also bought __.” is a responsive tracking tool that takes note of your purchases and looks for similar items to recommend. This type of recommendation service allows for personalization, and opens the door to more purchases.
You don’t need to micro-analyze all the different audiences that go to check your site out — you can drown in over-analyzing too much data that way. Focus on key areas, on the vital “who’s” — the ones with the most bang for your investment of time, attention, and work. That’s the smart way to do it.
In B2B, you can focus on your niche companies and target the high-ranking officers in the organization, like the chief technical officers of software companies, if that’s your niche. In B2C, you can profile you market by their defining attributes, like DIY-enthusiasts or collectors, for example.
Marketing takes advantage of several stages in the sales funnel, and intends to create the following:
- Awareness in the customer of one’s products, to create interest in the products.
- To get the customer to evaluate the value and attributes of the products against their needs and wants.
- And finally, to get the customer to commit to purchasing the product.
You can use this awareness by identifying what stage the customers are in. Your “who” can be the prospects in the evaluation stage, and from this you can take the steps to get them to the committed stage.
“What” focuses on content.
When you’ve figured out who you’re personalizing your marketing for, you can go onto the next step: choosing what content to personalize to their needs. When you have good content already, you can save money, time and work by using your existing content and modifying it to personalize visitor experience, calls-to-action, presentation and product offerings.
Your content can cover blog posts, white papers, newsletters, tutorials, ebooks, videos and more. You just need to decide what kind of content would suit which a particular target audience, and what to use suitable to the stage of the sales process they are at.
You can even use multiple approaches towards using one piece of content, tailoring each call-to action towards specific audiences, repurposing it and presenting it differently each time. Depending on the type of prospects you intend to market to, you have to use content adjusted accordingly.
In B2C marketing, you’ll want to use content in personalizing customer web experiences by taking into consideration their price points, best-suited products, and demographics in mind, while in B2B marketing, you’ll need to address your target companies with content relevant to their organization’s needs and structure. End point: your prospects get the most relevant content you can give them.
One tip: To save time and energy, identify and target high-yield prospects. You won’t need to personalize all your content at once, then. Just use the most fitting to engage their interest and then work on those to get the best responses with personalized content, product offers and calls to action.
“Where” identifies how you reach your prospects.
Of course, starting out with your own website and your emails can give you a head start on the process. Your site is the primary channel for engaging your prospects because it’s the first place they’d go to to look for solutions to their issue. That means they start out as interested in looking, are easier to engage, and would want to learn more about what you can do to help them out with what they want.
The better you can identify and segment visitors to your websites, the more you can start personalizing your approach. You can use landing pages and banners, and get them to sign-up for your email alerts and newsletters, which can open the gateway for further segmentation and personalization. You’ll get better delivering the right information to the right prospects at just the right time, setting your image as the go-to source of solutions for your customer’s needs.
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