According to E-consultancy, while 94% of companies can see the value of personalised marketing, less than half of companies are putting it into practice. Which half do you fall into – those reaping the rewards of personalised marketing, such as loyal customers and improved brand image, or those late to the party, wondering why their customers are dropping off before even purchasing anything?
It sounds like a generalisation, but in a world where virtually every brand has an online presence, getting personal with your customers and making a human connection is more essential than ever.
Well to start with, every customer is unique. We all have different buying habits, different interests, different hobbies. When you think of it in this way, grouping everyone together and talking to them in the same, generic manner just doesn’t make much sense. When content or products are more relevant or useful to us, or marketed to us in a voice we can relate to rather than robotic marketing speak, we’re much more inclined to make an investment. Or, at least, remember that brand and what they had to say for longer than five seconds.
Considering how important personalised and localised marketing is in today’s crowded online marketplace, no business can really carry on ignoring it for much longer. So how can you start incorporating it into your marketing strategy? Read on to find out.
Let’s start with fleshing out why marketing personalisation is so important today. Personalising content and website experience without being creepy or intrusive is a fine art, but as long as you remember that your main aim is to improve the online experience for your customer, making it easier and simpler for them to buy from you, your efforts will be in the right place. No one wants to feel they’re being watched or that their privacy has been invaded, so to begin with, confine your personalisation to places a customer might expect to see it; such as the checkout or login box. You can save more advanced methods and techniques for this later.
Essentially, a lot of personalisation comes down to common sense. Would you market babysitting services in Glasgow to people in London? Would you want to target middle-aged females with men’s sunglasses? Start with the basics, such as localisation, meaning you only serve up geographically relevant content to your customers. This is more relevant to search engines and directories, or indeed your PPC campaigns, but small businesses can also adopt the principles of localisation on websites themselves. For example, select click and collect depots based on the customer’s location or postcode, or provide accurate translations of site content or currencies for different countries.
When a customer has had a positive shopping experience on your site – for example, they were personally welcomed back and shown products they looked at last time they visited – they’re much more likely to follow through and make a purchase.
Moving away from websites, you might have heard the term ‘remarketing’ being bandied around the digital marketing world. At its heart, remarketing does what it says on the tin; it markets, again.
Let’s look at an example.
Wendy came to your site, shopped around, and placed some items in her basket. Then, for one reason or another, she abandoned her basket and didn’t make a purchase. In the old days, you’d think: “Oh well. Maybe Wendy will be back”. These days, that’s not good enough. Remarketing allows you to contact Wendy by email, provide her with a quick, accessible link to her shopping basket, and ask her if there’s anything you could do to improve her experience on your site. This is quick and effective marketing automation, but it’s also personal. Best of all, it helps Wendy to get back on your website with one click, whereas she might have forgotten to do so otherwise.
Personalisation also helps you to differentiate yourself from competitors: when faced with a choice between trawling through a website looking for what you need, and it being offered to you on a plate, you’re much more likely to choose the latter option. It’s worth considering that sometime soon, virtually all websites and brands will employ some form of personalisation. Don’t get left behind.
In the same way that a pleasant shopping experience is likely to make a customer convert, it also means they’re far more likely to return to your site time and time again. Customer loyalty is a slippery beast and arguably more important and profitable than customer acquisition, so think carefully about how you are building an experience for returning customers.
Personalisation in your e-commerce process can prove particularly useful to ensuring you retain your customers. Simple things like remembering card details or login credentials will remove unnecessary steps and clicks, meaning they’re much more likely to choose you for future purchases.
Although personalisation might seem like a cheap trick at first, nothing more in the way of ingenuity than seeing your name on a bottle of Coca Cola, you’ll soon see results which will change your mind. Because Coca Cola’s Share a Coke campaign was actually pretty clever, and one of the first examples of a brand using personalisation to break through the marketing barriers and talk to every single one of their customers. Back in the digital world, customers will value the intuitive and proactive experience you provide. In an over-crowded marketplace, all consumers really need is the personal touch.