marketing team brainstorm
Personalized marketing experiences pay off. According to a study by McKinsey, it often delivers a return that’s five to eight times what you’ve spent (and also boosts sales by at least 10%).

As consumers get bombarded by advertising in more aspects of their daily lives, more and more companies are using personalization as a strategy to make their messaging standout.

And, it turns out, people love this type of personalization! In fact, 80% of consumers are more likely to do business with an organization that offers them a personalized marketing experience.

But, what exactly is personalized marketing, and how can you start integrating it into your marketing efforts?
Personalized marketing involves tailoring individual experiences to match each customer’s interests, preferences, and needs.

Consumers are increasingly selective in what advertising messages they pay attention to and engage with. Finding a method of marketing personalization that makes sense for you—and your audience—can bring improvements to a variety of marketing metrics.
According to Aberdeen, personalized emails have 14% higher click-through rates and 10% more conversions than generic email messages.

How to start using personalization in marketing

Adding an element of personalization to your marketing efforts might seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be if you begin with some planning. Here are some questions to keep in mind as you create a strategy:
  • What level of personalization is appropriate for your audience?
  • How much personalization is sustainable long-term?
  • Will personalized marketing assets provide value to your leads and customers?
Developing a personalization plan that focuses on connecting and adding benefit can take many forms.

Connect through marketing personalization

Customer relationship management systems, like Hubspot, make it easy to personalize emails. Greet your customers by name, create email variants based on your customers’ interests, or even send emails from your customers’ specific account managers.

Learn more about implementing email automation »

Social media
Another simple way to connect using personalization is to engage with customers via social media. Consumers these days often use social media to research products and services, and having a human response to tweeted/posted questions gives you an outreach opportunity to provide personalized customer service in your brand voice.

Provide value with tailored content

Segment your customers into persona buckets. If you have personas (tip: you should!), develop marketing automation and workflows that send your customers down a path featuring content that’s relevant to them (and addresses their needs). Doing this sort of customization allows you to address their pain points by providing the solutions that they’ll find helpful.

Be helpful

Use customer data in a way that helps your audience. You could make use of location info to share relevant local content, or even send them productivity reports.

Take, for example, Grammarly. The free online writing and editing tool sends personalized weekly reports to users that include productivity rundowns.

Give leads incentive to engage

If your business and industry are a fit, consider using big data to influence your marketing personalization strategy. Use data about your existing customers to find and target potential customers, and give them a reason to learn more about you.

Take the Point Defiance Zoo in Tacoma, Washington. The zoo’s marketing team used their customer data to determine which zip codes were home to the zoo’s most frequent guests. They used the data for a campaign offering discounted membership rates to other people living in those same areas. The campaign was a success, and they saw a 13% increase in membership in just one quarter.

Find the line between positive personalization experiences and creepiness

Personalizing marketing experiences can be a wonderful way to reach customers and boost your return on investment, but it requires using data about your customers for your customers. That’s why it’s imperative to be thoughtful about how you do it. Make sure you understand your audience and how they might perceive personalization efforts. When personalization is taken too far or when it’s used at an inappropriate time, it can alienate your audience or even cause legal problems.

You must always take care when implementing personalization that your audience may not have knowingly shared with you. For example, if a potential customer named Jane filled out a blog subscribe form on your website and gave you her name, she won’t be too surprised when she gets an email from you that says, “Thanks for subscribing, Jane!” But if you collected information about her location based on her IP address as she browsed your website, then sent her an email with location-specific details, Jane might feel uncomfortable.

To ensure that marketing personalization supports your efforts rather than causes problems, keep these two things in mind:
  1. Only use information that you have obtained legally
  2. Understand your audience and what they want

Your marketing personalization strategy should begin and end with what your audience wants. Regardless of legality, the success of personalized marketing lies in your audience’s perception.

If you’re unsure about how to implement personalized marketing tactics with your audience, keep in mind that it’s always best to wait until lead or customer has chosen to start engaging with you before you start personalizing content.

When done right, the best personalized marketing experiences will make a difference to both your business and your customer.

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