Personalization. While you’ve probably heard this word a few times before, you may not be super familiar with the way it’s known by the marketing world. This buzzword goes way deeper than its usual meaning when it comes to marketing. It’s a tool – and a very good one at that – that can help you meet your current and potential customers’ expectations, and provide them with more enjoyable, personally relevant experiences. Let’s discuss.

What is Personalization?

Personalization – at its base level, is modifying your marketing to particularly target and express understanding of your audience. It’s not solely configuring emails to address your customers by their first name, although that’s a good starting point. It’s much more.

Personalization is changing your marketing to provide an experience – not just materials. It (often) makes your customer feel something, whether that’s acceptance, acknowledgement, understanding, or something else. How? By making your content and materials more useful, relevant, and convenient – aka – Personal. Not sure if personalization really helps? We’ve got the facts. 90% of consumers in the US find the idea of personalization appealing. Yes, 90%.

Here are some good examples of how personalization is used:

• Customized online experiences (personalized information upon website sign-in)

• Personalized products (for example, “Share a Coke”)

• Personalized direct mail (which includes elements like name, address, proximity to your store, personalized deals and URLs, and more)

• Personalized emails (which includes many of the same elements as direct mail)

• Topic-specific newsfeeds or newsletters

The key to any type of personalization is what you offer and how you offer it. A personalized offer could be (and often is) the reason you’re chosen over competitors, or (not as positive), they’re chosen over you. To get more ideas for personalization, check out our blog on best practices.

Why is This an Important Buzzword to Know?

There are a ton of ways to reach your customers, and with so many options and marketing channels, it’s important to focus on standing out among the rest (no matter what channel you choose). Personalization is one proven tactic to get noticed, and even to build customer loyalty.

From a relationship standpoint, personalization’s the best way to show your customers that you care about and understand them. Use it to build trust and bond with them just like you would a close friend – by knowing their needs, wants, and what you can bring to the table (both literally and figuratively).

From an ROI standpoint, personalization is even more important. It’s proven to give you much higher engagement. Why? The better you know your audience, the more likely you are to give them the rewards, offers, and opportunities they need to frequent your shop. Whether it’s through birthday coupons, “welcome to the neighborhood” outreach, deals based on buying habits, or relatable, relevant imagery, meet them at the right time with the right information.

Getting Started

Before getting into any type of personalization, it’s imperative you think over your current audience, your target audience, and possibly new segments you’d like to reach. Do you know them? Their wants? Needs? Pain points? It may take a little time to do your research, but the time spent will benefit you in the long run.

Next, when creating your shop’s personalized marketing, keep in mind that each medium requires slightly different personalization tactics. Don’t just rinse and repeat or fit all of your outreach into the same box. Customers will notice, and it will take away from them feeling seen (the main reason you’re using personalized marketing).

Here are a few more key suggestions to remember when getting started:

Segment your customer database: 77% of returns generated through marketing come from audience segmentation, and targeted, triggered campaigns.

Do more than use first names: Pair different personalization tactics together to gain a much larger impression (for example, send direct mail that includes their name, a personalized URL, combined with an effective CTA).

Be strategic: Don’t be annoying and send out irrelevant information. Send out information and offers when it counts. You want to make a first impression that will last, or recurring communication that they actually look forward to, not throw out or delete.

Don’t make them feel watched: For example, say “We thought you may enjoy some new menu items that were just added this week!” instead of “We noticed you visited our website. Interested in learning more about some of our new menu items?”

Find a qualified partner company: Research companies that specialize in personalization. Personalized marketing can be intimidating, but working with experts that have variable printers, technology, and personnel to help execute your campaigns seamlessly will get you the most ROI.

Not sure your marketing is getting noticed? Try a more personalized approach that shows you understand your customers’ wants and needs, and that you appreciate their (specific and individual) business. To learn more about how your shop can use personalization, reach out to our ZaHub experts.