How to personalise your customer communications without being creepy

by Nathan Rothfield

Do you remember when receiving an email with your first name felt personalised? I thought not. We use this simple tactic all of the time because marketing personalisation is a powerful tool. A recent report showed that 72% of consumers claim they will only engage with personalised messaging.
This tells us that if your strategy is devoid of marketing personalisation, you are not as effective as you could be.
Marketing automation, however, goes far beyond using a first name in emails. It is a strategy that you can integrate into a range of channels to produce better results. This involves collecting data to help create dynamic content and marketing experiences that will target the kind of customer best suited to your business.
While marketing personalisation is a must-have, there is a gentle balance between knowing your audience and going too far. Let’s delve into the nitty-gritty to help you better understand all of this.


Does marketing personalisation work?

Yes, and I can prove it. If you have a Spotify or Netflix account that you enjoy, you’ve already answered this question! We live in a time of extreme personalisation, to the point where it is expected as a base-level feature by consumers.
Investing in personalisation not only helps you to build relationships, but better experiences for your customers mean more sales for you. If you don’t prioritise this when your competition is, you are at risk of being left behind.
A report run of just over a thousand online shoppers found that 71% of consumers were frustrated by a shopping experience that was impersonal. Another surveyed 8000 shoppers found that 91% of them were more likely to shop with a brand that had offers and recommendations that were personalised and relevant to the individual. This shows that people are getting used to – and expecting – a level of personalisation in their communications from businesses.
Just like your Spotify account making recommendations of new music based on the genres you listen to in an effort to show you something new that you will probably like, marketing personalisation is now a standard and expected feature.


Data is fuel

The key to successful marketing personalisation is data. You need to get to know your audience by collecting relevant information about them. This requires clean data, as dirty data is an issue that can cost a business a significant amount of money.
Cleaning up how you are obtaining customer data and where it lives is a way to avoid this issue, and it is much easier to achieve than it may sound. There are many software solutions for cleaning up data, but some key things to keep in mind to ensure clean data include:

  • The removal of inactive contacts
  • Clearing duplicate identification
  • Setting up alerts for when specific actions take place (e.g. a prompt whenever a duplicate is found)
  • Ensure uniformity

A great way to ensure all of this is with segmentation, which involves the forming groups of customers with common characteristics. You can improve your data, creating more efficiency with these segmentation tips:

  • Improve your data to suit your audience by continually updating elements like contact details and purchase history to stay relevant
  • Distinguish the appropriate segmentation criteria
  • Activate real-time segmentation and understand which device was used, browsing history, geolocation, session duration, etc.
  • Prioritise segments based on value
  • Integrate an omnichannel approach


Understanding the omnichannel approach

I get it, the multiplicity of sales channels can be complicated to track. We are in what is known as the omnichannel era, in which several points of contact must meet to form the best possible customer experience.
This means that consistency between different channels is essential to avoid poor interactions.
Beauty brand Sephora is a great example of a brand with a successful and productive omnichannel customer experience. Their Beauty Insider Rewards program forms strong relationships between the brand and its consumers, allowing members to tap into a “Beauty Bag” via their phone or desktop, providing the business with significant amounts of data.
This strategy allows consumers to shop, see their favourites and past purchases while offering rewards points and the ability to scan items in-store to compare them with different options available online. With over 11 million members, this omnichannel strategy has led to members spending 15 times more money on Sephora’s website when compared with the standard shopper.


How to achieve all of this?

If your mind is starting to boggle a little bit, fear not. When it comes to implementing everything we have discussed above, a quality CRM that provides tracking tools and analytics is a must.
The goal is to ensure that your processes help customers feel like valued individuals while guaranteeing your marketing is efficient and driving better results.
So, how do you work out if your personalisation is getting a bit too “creepy”? Simple, understand your audience. If you are marketing to customers who are already highly engaged with your business, you’ll likely be able to use more personalised messaging with our creeping them out.
As a general rule, avoid becoming too personalised by only using data that your customers know they have given you. This is considered as permission-based marketing which is evident on just about every website you visit in the form of cookie approval messages. Adhering to this helps to establish trust between the consumer and the provider.
When all of this is set up, your last step will be the creation of dynamic content via a library of trigger messages that respond to specific actions and signals. This requires copy produced for a segment, included in a campaign or offers that suit the reader, helping them to feel like they belong.


Need a little help?

By now you are probably realising that marketing personalisation is clearly a desirable strategy, and with the right automation, you can save yourself a significant amount of work. Rothfield Connect can automate the production of your dynamic content while ensuring clean data to increase engagement and provide the right level of personalisation in your strategy.
Trust me, this is the future of marketing, and it leads to improved campaign results. Personalisation is about serving your customer first and considering how your business operates from their perspective. This simple action will immensely improve your marketing strategy and help your business to thrive!

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