All politics is local. And guess what? So is all marketing — local and personal. Where we once had three major networks (blog writer shows age), we now have thousands of channels, not to mention online content. News aggregation sites have long-since forced institutions like the Amazon-owned Washington Post and The New York Times to up their digital ante. And there is probably a magazine or blog site for literally any interest you could have (Exhibit 1: Miniature Donkey Talk). The point? There is absolutely no excuse for not personalizing your content.
Personalization is actually about the data and the content. It starts with the prospect lists you’re buying or renting, your existing customer data, or both. Data brokers like Acxiom, Epsilon and Experian can put targeted, multi-dimensional consumer data in the palm of your hand — with the ability to segment on everything from individual demographics, household characteristics and life events to major purchases, buying activities, interests, and behavior.
Other companies, like MailChimp and its marketing automation alternatives, help you parse the customer data you already have. There are undiscovered insights just waiting for you, and the biggest mistake you can make is to not know what’s in your own data. In addition to who you target and when, in-depth list segmentation helps you personalize message, frequency, and strategic roll-out across multiple channels — not only email, but newsletters, social media and specialized landing pages.
Email, We Still Love You
Tales of email’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. While your family and friends may wait days, weeks, even months to get an email response from you (sorry, Aunt Barb), email marketing is different. It still delivers the highest ROI compared other other media types — particularly if your content is personalized. Here are five stats from EmailMonks:
- +14% emails opened due to segmentation
- +29% emails opened due to personalized subject lines
- +100% emails clicked through due to segmentation
- +29% emailed opened due to personalized body content
- +760% email revenue due to segmentation
If you want to see personalization in action, check out 13 examples from Hubspot. They include recognizing users subscription “anniversaries,” their personal stats (like being “top” or “best” when it comes to engagement), and recommendations that mirror a user’s established interests and behavior.
Optimization goes hand in hand with personalization. Bluehornet (now Mapp) reports that more than 80 percent of users delete emails that don’t play nice in the sandbox of their mobile devices. And a third of users will simply unsubscribe for this reason.
It goes without saying that today’s content must not only be relevant but hyper-relevant.
Because newsletters deliver greater amounts of content at once, the types of content and how you help your users navigate it are all critical and can be aided by personalization. You won’t have a lot of chances or eyes-on-screen time to get it right.
- Are you featuring subjects that never get reads? Ditch them immediately and find out what your users want instead.
- Are some of your users more likely to engage in longer content than others? Save those pieces for them and give them the depth they crave.
- How deep into the newsletter are your readers getting? Effective nav, again personalized to your user, will be critical.
- And while the pre-fab templates your software or cloud marketing solution offers may seem like anti-personalization, they generally reflect the very latest and most effective design trends for engagement.
Social Goes Personal
Personalization has reached social media, and there are plenty of tools out there that can help you achieve what may seem like competing priorities: consistent messaging with the diverse engagement “hooks” that are most effective for each platform. Here’s a quick-hit summary of Sendable’s platform-specific recommendations:
- Hashtag heavy — Twitter and Instagram
- What to tag — Page for Facebook, profile for Twitter
- Tone — Business for LinkedIn, friendly for Facebook
Scheduling is another critical social media personalization strategy. Done strategically, it helps you meet your customer at the optimal time based on an understanding of what kind of customer is on what platform, at what time, and when they’re most likely to take the desired action based on the content you’re pushing.
Landing Pages that Land
You’ve got one website and every user who visits it sees the exact same thing. How very 2001 of you. Personalized landing pages create a curated experience for your visitor based on their past activity, reflecting their interests, purchases, and what your tools predict they’ll want to buy/read/download. The obvious examples include Amazon and Netflix, which feed recommendations driven by not only your own choices but the choices of other visitors who searched or pulled the trigger on the same item you’re viewing.
Personalized landing pages represent the narrowest part of the sales funnel. They’re where the rubber meets the road — and where lead/visit is most likely to convert to purchase/engagement.
Google “best personalized landing pages” and you’ll have a lifetime of examples to get your business where it needs to be. A recent Convert post highlights five companies that boosted conversion by 750% through landing page personalization, including DoggyLoot which targets based on customer pet birthdays. (Awww…).
The As and Bs of Personalization
We can’t leave you without a word about A/B testing. Simply stated, it’s comparing the effectiveness of one approach over another — including content, delivery channel or both — and can help you determine how to personalize in the most effective ways. Many of the same solutions that can help you personalize contain A/B testing functions.
Feeling better about this whole personalization thing? Good. Get out there and deploy! Because nothing feels as lonely as an unsubscribe.
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The journal is ok.