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Personalization from a Distance: Crafting an Online Service Approach

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As online and digital marketing strategies become the most popular ways to reach a broad audience, it’s becoming increasingly necessary to tailor content to a specific audience or group. Throughout their daily lives, people are faced with a barrage of information, much of it attempting to sell them something or inform them of a service. To stand out from the crowds, companies have had to get creative.

One of the best ways to gain the attention of potential customers or clients is through personalization. However, digital advertisement and marketing preclude face-to-face interactions and many businesses have gone completely online, even further removing themselves from traditional personalization tactics.

Creating a marketing approach that lends itself towards personalization can give your business a massive boost, whether you’re selling a product or providing a service. Here are some ways you can start implementing these approaches in your current marketing strategy.

Get Informed

The internet offers up users an incredible amount of information, and this is no different for businesses. Whether you’re using a tool to help you gather and sort this information or you’re conducting surveys on your own, the more information you can get, the better.

Many businesses, particularly online stores, are beginning to use product surveys to learn more about their customers. This can help them build a profile that suggests items the customer may like based on their answers. Others look at their customer’s demographics, from age to location to interests, and build personalized campaigns based on the different groups this information presents.

In order to get a comprehensive look at your customer base, we recommend trying out a couple different approaches. Customer surveys are a good way to present an interested front to your customers — you wouldn’t be asking questions if you didn’t care about their interests and opinions! More behind the scenes options provide demographic-based information that can be used to create different targeted groups.

Create Personas

Once you’ve established the interests and divisions within your customer base, creating personas can further help your personalization goal. These personas are based off ‘ideal’ customers that represent groups of traits and interests. They should include information based on age groups, socioeconomic status, main interests, education level, and other demographic information that can create a complete picture.

If you have invested in market research, you can further flesh out the personas with specific and useful information. Knowing what websites they visit most and how that corresponds to interests can further help pinpoint what sort of marketing approach will work for the associated specific client group.

According to Lindsay Kolowich of HubSpot, personas can make a business’s website two to five times more effective and easier to use for customers thanks to their targeted approach. Once you have your personas, you can group your existing or potential customers into these groups and then create personalized strategies based on the personas. This is useful as it allows a level of personalization without attempting to create an approach for every individual customer.

Design Landing Pages

Landing pages are like an alternative homepage in the sense that they’re the first page customers will see when they navigate to your site. They’re accessed via individualized URL codes which are often distributed through email campaigns, which should also be individualized. Individualized email campaigns can drive 18 times more revenue than broadcast emails, according to Dan Hughes of Digital Marketing Institute.

Often times, these pages are used to give extra information about a specific promotion. Based on the client persona group, these links can be distributed to customers who would be interested in the promotion or product. This gives customers a sense that the business is paying attention to their wants and interests and can help drive sales.

These landing pages should be organized in a way that they tell a story via graphics and interactive media in order to draw customer interest — it isn’t enough just to have a pretty page. Careful design can re-emphasize personalization. If your designer uses images or design aspects that fit the interests of the targeted persona, it can lead to higher levels of interest and thus higher conversion rates.

Establish Translucency

Translucency is almost demanded in today’s social media-heavy environment. Businesses are expected to have social media accounts, often times crossing over several platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Translucency is very important for a personalized approach and, while it’s a little different from the previously discussed tactics, it’s just as effective.

Instead of giving stock responses to social media inquiries, having a dedicated social media team, even if it’s only one or two people, can massively improve relations with customers and create a hyper-personalized experience. Responding in a personable and translucent fashion helps to build brand relationships and establish trust.

Combine Online and Offline

Image via Flickr by Sole Treadmill

While still developing, a combination of online information and brick-and-mortar stores is making massive stirs in the marketing community. These technologies allow sales associates to instantly access customer information, like previous purchases and connected social media information that demonstrates their interests and other information. By giving associates this information, they’re able to create a personalized in-store experience.

This approach also crosses over online. In-store purchases can create online shopping profiles and, if the client navigates to the site, can help further create a personalized experience that brings products or services to the forefront that they might be more interested in. Interest profiles can also be further augmented by the market research and persona grouping previously established.

By combining both in-person and online information, brands are able to create more detailed personas and therefore more specifically tailor their marketing tactics towards personalization. This approach does require account creation on the part of the customer and driving towards that end can help make this tactic more effective.

Personalization can help brands and businesses create more meaningful interactions with their customers and establish both confidence and trust. It’s more effective than sweeping general ad schemes. According to Dan Tynan of AdWeek“more than three-quarters of online shoppers expect personalization”, and these tools can help you deliver and therefore stand out more in the crowded online market.

About the author

Megan Tilley