Personalisation and context-aware marketing have been pretty high up on marketers’ to-do lists in recent times. And rightly so: proper personalisation can work wonders for your response rate.
However the fact personalised campaigns are actually very tricky to properly implement means that – as ever – most are falling slightly short of fully realising the vision.
We have enjoyed some really encouraging results in recent months thanks to boosting the level of personalisation present in our marketing communications, and it’s certainly something we’re going to be placing more emphasis on over the coming year.
For anyone looking to dip a toe in the water, here are a few tips to help ensure your investments in personalisation and context are worth the effort.
1: Invest in research
It’s impossible to personalise your campaigns from a position of ignorance. Your personalised campaigns and messaging are supposed to leave prospects with the impression that you understand their position, and that you want to work with them specifically. This necessitates a degree of research and means you need to keep note of the context of your relationships with each prospect. If all your prospects are yet to interact with your brand, it’s less of a challenge. But if previous deals and/or conversations exist, you need to know about them and create messaging appropriately.
2: Create great content
One thing that doesn’t change when you’re running more personalised campaigns is the requirement to create great content, worthy of your prospects’ attention. In fact if you’re going to grab their attention, promising user-specific content, you need to make sure you’re able to deliver something of genuine value. This is where your research comes in. You can definitely get away with having a base piece of content that then gets tweaked for each account. But it is imperative you make sure the content is good enough to begin with and that the personalisation is relevant. Poorly personalised content is worse than not bothering in the first place.
3: Don’t bite off more than you can chew
Depending on the size of your team and its budget, it may not be possible to deliver truly individualised campaigns for all your prospects. If your addressable universe is comprised of thousands of accounts, for example, a small team is going to struggle to make a genuinely unique impact across all accounts. If you’re caught in this situation it’s best to figure out what you can deliver, perhaps by focusing on delivering truly personalised campaigns for the most important 20% of your targets and finding some level of commonality in messaging among the remaining 80%.
4: Find the sweet spot
Similarly, it pays to be sensible when deciding exactly how you’re going to personalise your campaigns. Auto-generating the right name at the start of an email is easy but it’s unlikely to make your prospects feel like they are the centre of your world. For that you need to put in extra effort. But how much effort is required? This is a decision you’re going to have to make, and it will depend on how much you know about your prospects, how much time and resource you have, and on how important each prospect is. You should be trying to pinpoint exactly where extra effort stops garnering improved results. There is little point putting in extra effort if the returns aren’t there.
5: See it through to the end
Half-heartedness is the one sure-fire way to limit the success of your personalised campaigns. It’s important to guard against complacency in all its forms. At its most basic that means ensuring ‘David’ never receives ‘Sarah’s’ version of a campaign. But it also means you are able to deliver on the promise of a one-to-one experience if prospects do get in touch after interacting with your campaign. Obviously a well-maintained CRM system would help here, as would ensuring that sales colleagues and anyone else that might have to deal with prospects are fully up-to-speed on the account prior to any conversation.