There’s a common mistake we make as marketers. We treat a prospect like a number or a faceless part of the general masses. Our failure to show prospects we identify them as valuable individuals costs us their attention more often than not. Think about it. The number of ads we’re exposed to daily is measured in thousands now. If your advertising does not have the power to speak to the individual, it will be lost in a sea of thousands of ads.
So how do you get your advertising to speak to the individual? How do you show them you don’t just want the attention of people like them? You want their attention. The answer? …Personalization.
Personalization combines customer information (i.e. online activity, demographics, behavior, etc.) and automated technology to show a prospect your message was customized specifically for them. This added touch separates an individual from the masses and speaks directly to them.
Take Coca Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign for instance. In 2011, Coca Cola launched a campaign where they placed popular first names on their bottles and cans. Coca Cola saw sales rise for the first time in a decade. Through this campaign, they were able to get their target audience, millennials, to identify with their brand by utilizing the most personal thing to a human being…a name. To hold a coke with your name on it in your hand makes you feel like the coke truly belongs to you.
Showing your prospects that you know them opens up the conversation that allows you to fulfill their needs. Tailoring an advertising experience to a unique individual makes all the difference. Thanks to the advancement of technology and evolution of online marketing, this is not only possible but wise to take advantage of.
So what are some ways you can use personalization to improve a prospects experience with your brand?
1. Smart Content
This goes a few steps further than simply adding a person’s name at the top of an email. Though that’s not a bad touch, the email recipient is likely to recognize it isn’t a customized email. This involves creating content that meets a prospect where they are in the buyer’s journey. This is done by using dynamic content that changes to suit each prospect. For example, a landing page that displays default content, e.g. “welcome,” to a first time visitor at the top of the page, but when a returning visitor comes to the same landing page, personalized content is displayed to them, e.g. “welcome back, Michael.”
How does it work?
Smart lists (built from remarketing audiences) and lifecycle stages (the different stages a prospect goes through in the buyer’s journey) allow you to identify a prospect and where they are in the conversion lifecycle or buyer’s journey. Once they’re identified, you create content relevant to the different groups of prospects, and through automated technologies, display specific content to its corresponding audience.
2. Smart CTAs
It’s very important to make sure your Call-To-Action applies to the prospect viewing it because this is the make-it or break-it point when it comes to conversion. You’re catering to people with varied needs and pain points. So your CTA has to align to their specific need or pain point to get them to click.
For example, a piece of content like a white paper or e-book may be a great CTA for someone being exposed to your brand for the first time. But someone already familiar with your brand who’s further along in the buyer’s journey might be looking for a demo or a consultation. Keep this in mind when building CTAs.
How does it work?
The way this works is similar to Smart Content. It is also powered by smart lists and lifecycle stages and allows you to choose what CTA is displayed to which viewer based on specified criteria.
3. Interest Advertising
Catering to your prospects’ specific interests increases your chances of having them interact with you. It also shows them from the get go their time with you will likely be well-spent.
A good example of advertising based on interests is Amazon. Based on previous purchases or pages a visitor showed interest in, Amazon recommends other related items the visitor may be interested in.
How does it work?
It uses online user data e.g. online activity, sites visited, apps installed, etc. to gather information on a prospects’ interests. With this information, you can tailor your ads to suit different groups of prospects.
This, unfortunately, is not an option one expects to see on a list about personalization, but tailoring your campaign to the devices your prospects are using provides convenience for your prospects and shows them you are thinking of them as individuals. This form of personalization is crucial to advertising, but unfortunately is often ignored. With the constant increase in smartphone usage, including mobile-friendliness in your campaigns is a must.
How does it work?
This part of the process takes place in creative and design and involves building campaign elements (e.g. pages, banners, etc.) specifically for desktop, laptops, and tables and separate elements for mobile.
Adding a personal touch to your marketing can be the difference needed to catch a prospect’s eye. So learn who your prospects are and what their interests and pain points are, and incorporate this information in your campaigns to increase your chances of connecting with prospects.