This article is the seventh and final in our series of posts focusing on content personalization: What is it, what are the benefits, and how can you implement it into your current marketing strategy? In our previous article, we looked at some ROI marketing statistics. Now, we're wrapping up our series with some easy ways that you can implement content personalization into your marketing strategy.
We’ve come to the end of our blog series on content personalization, and it’s been a fun exploration (well, we think so!). In our first blog, “What is Content Personalization?” we started our series with an introduction into this ROI-boosting method. We know that “content personalization” means something different to everyone (even customers), so it’s necessary for us to define what “personalization” means for us so that we can have a specific focus when implementing it into our strategy.
From there, we looked at how content personalization has changed—and is continuing to change—digital marketing in big ways. Even though it is beneficial to your strategy (when done correctly) and can provide a higher return on investment (as we learned in “The Benefits of Content Personalization”), not all marketing teams currently have a content personalization plan in place. It’s mind boggling, because who wouldn’t want to see a 6% to 10% revenue increase (and see it two to three times faster than their competitors)?
Even though content personalization can help your marketing achieve so much, it’s still difficult to do well. Even with all the analytic tools and marketing automation and artificial intelligence that currently exists, around 63% of marketers feel that executing data-driven personalization online is a challenge (Ascend2). The “challenge” varies from company to company, and we discussed on that in our fifth post, “How to Overcome Content Personalization Hurdles to Increase ROI.”
Now, we’re going to bring our series to a close by talking about some of the easiest ways you can implement content personalization into your marketing strategy.
Use Your Customer’s First Name
That’s it. We told you these methods would be easy.
Including your customer’s first name is straight out of Content Personalization 101. It’s a simple way to make whatever message you’re sending feel less like a mass marketing email and more like a personal letter sent specifically to them, for them. The great thing about this type of content personalization is that you can implement it pretty much anywhere, on any collateral or with any message, across any medium:
- In the subject line or body of an email, include the customer’s first name. It helps draw attention to the email and/or the message.
- Subject Line: Hey Jessica! We caught you looking at our new releases!
- Body: Jessica, it’s time to treat yourself.
- If you sell items that can also be personalized, consider using images of the items “personalized” with the customer’s name.
- These are just a few of the ways that you can include your customer’s first name, but there are so many more! Think of creative ways to incorporate it—but don’t be creepy about it!
Recommend Similar Products (eCommerce)
In an article on different types of personalization for online, Smart Insights looks at how personalizing a shopper’s eCommerce experience can lead to more sales. For example, of the consumers whose shopping experience is personalized, 48% will spend more. And one of the simplest ways to do that is by recommending similar products based on those they’ve viewed.
According to Smart Insights, the “Visitors who viewed this product also viewed…” recommendation can generate around 68% of eCommerce revenue. And the best part (i.e., easiest) part of all is that you don’t have to do a lot of work to gather data on your customer to make these recommendations. Instead of recommending based on the customer, you recommend based on the item (or items).
If a customer viewed makeup brushes, similar recommendations are likely to be other sets of makeup brushes, makeup brush cleaning solutions, and maybe even makeup. And then as the customer continues to browse, your algorithm will get a better sense of what the customer wants (such as “vegan makeup brushes full set”) and continue to recommend products based on what others have viewed.
You will want to gather some data, such as if the customer is a new visitor or if they’re returning (and if possible, where they left off in their last visit), what type of device they are using to access your website, and other details that may affect how and what types of products you show them.
Personalize the Customer’s Customer Service Experiences
We’ve all been there: We’re having issues with an electronic device like our phone. We try calling customer service, only for the person to be rude the entire conversation. Or they sound like they don’t know what they’re doing. Or you get disconnected, then you call back and you get a different agent on the line and have to explain the situation all over again. Yeesh.
No matter how great a company’s product or service is, customers will not only not purchase said product or service, but they will also tell their family and social circles to not do so as well. And when enough customers are unhappy, that can mean a large profit loss.
That’s why creating a personalized customer service experience is vital to a company’s success. It starts from the first moment a customer interacts with your company. And that could mean anywhere: on the website through a chat application, on social media, or on the phone. As best as you can, these interactions need to be seamless. Here is an example of how you can go about doing so:
- Let’s say a customer uses the chat feature on the website. To begin, have the customer submit their first name and email address. Now that you have these on file, use this information to keep a history of customer interaction.
- The same customer ends up making a purchase but has an issue. The customer service representative could refer to the website chat conversation as needed. They should also be taking detailed notes during this conversation. The issue gets resolved.
- The customer calls customer service a week later but for a different issue. The representative on the phone helps them resolve the issue, and before disconnecting the call, asks the customer if the resolution from the previous week has continued to work.
The idea is to keep a history of any interaction that the customer had so any representative can get a full picture of that particular customer’s interaction with the company. No double or triple explaining the situation required.
Use Real-time Data to Personalize
If you’re a global newsite, for example, an easy way of personalization is identifying the user’s city to show the current weather (temperature, pollen index, storm/snow warnings, etc.) in the top right-hand corner. Newsites will use this data to recommend content as well. For example, if you’re based in Chicago, Illinois, you’ll care more about local news in the city and nearby suburbs than local news in California, and you’ll care even less about local news in Scotland. But if you were to travel to one of those two places, you’ll have more of an interest in them.
Real-time data can be used in a variety of ways to make a customer’s experience better. I have a friend who works as a salesman, and his colleagues call him “The Weatherman”. Before he makes a cold call, he looks up the weather forecast of the location he is calling and uses that information as an icebreaker. “Hey, good morning, Debbie. I see you guys are expecting a bit of rain tonight. Hopefully you won’t get caught in that storm!”
This data (city, country, type of device, operating system, and so on) is provided by the device, so take advantage. It’s a great foundation for creating a personalized experience: Start with the basics and then, as you gather more information on your consumer, you can become more specific in how you personalize their experience.
Anyone Can Personalize Their Content
Even the most basic of personalization can make a difference not just in your customers’ overall experiences but in terms of profit and success as well.
In this series, we’ve taken a 360* look at content personalization. While we know that it can be a challenge, we also know that it is now expected by customers and is a staple to any marketing strategy.
As time progresses, it will be interesting to see just how personalized we can make our content, advertising, eCommerce shopping, customer service, and other experiences for our customers. But as we improve, we also need to stop and ask ourselves: How much personalization is too much, and where is the line that we should not cross—or is there even a line?
Thanks for sticking with us for seven posts. We’d love to hear your thoughts on content personalization! Do you think it’s creepy? Do you currently use some type of content personalization strategy? What would you like to see in terms of personalization’s future?