Is your personalized marketing strategy cutting it?

Personalization has changed the face of marketing. It targets current and prospective customers by appealing to their preferences and interests, and it increases the odds of engagement and conversions.

Some marketers are still getting personalization wrong, however. Failed attempts at personalization turn off the recipient rather than drawing them into a personal connection with a brand. Are you guilty? Here are some typical personalized marketing mistakes with tips on how you can avoid making them.

1. Personalized Marketing Strategy: Using the Wrong Name

personalized marketing strategyYou may have access to someone’s name, but it doesn’t mean you’re addressing them correctly. Be sure you’re using the name a person will respond to.

For instance, if you have a double opt-in mailing list form on your website, there’s a good chance you’re already getting the correct name from your customer. Let’s call him Mike. If you buy a list that has Mike listed as Michael, however, it may be a red flag to him. See the difference? OK, it’s subtle. Michael may, in fact, be Mike’s given name, but you can create a better personal connection by calling him according to his preferred name, which is Mike.

Here’s a simple but important personalized marketing strategy tip. If you know where your data is coming from before you send mail to someone, you’ll use the correct name that will get their attention and you’ll be more likely to elicit a positive response.

2. One-to-One Marketing Shouldn’t Be Self-Centered

The last thing someone wants to receive is a piece of mail that doesn’t have any relevance for them. If you send a one-to-one marketing message that only talks about your company or the product you’re selling, you’ve already taken a step in the wrong direction. You might even be irritating the customer with your well-intentioned, but obviously self-serving information.

Don’t start a conversation with a potential customer by talking about your company, your product, or your service. That’s a personalized marketing strategy that’s off track. Begin by addressing their unique needs and challenges. Talk about how you can help that customer with your company, your product, or your service. By putting the focus on their needs, you’ve positioned yourself for success. Make sure all aspects of your company put customer satisfaction first.

3. Customized Marketing With Outdated or Inaccurate Data

customized marketingDon’t assume you know what’s going on because a particular point of data was accurate in the past. Maybe a consumer was once in the market for your brand of widgets, but five years later, not so much. In a customer’s life — or anyone’s life for that matter — there are phases.

If you’ve ever had children, you were once shopping around for diapers and strollers. But those kids grow up and don’t need diapers and strollers anymore. In fact, anything you were once shopping for when you had small children is going to change when you stop having kids. The lesson here is to not make inaccurate assumptions.

For a personalized marketing strategy to be effective, update your data whenever possible. Modern-day, customized marketing is all about reaching the right people with the right message at the right time. Customized marketing workflows can help by following your customers on their journey with messaging and offers that evolve with them.

4. Clueless Individual Marketing Hurts Your Brand

Have you ever received an individual marketing message asking you to buy a company’s product again or renew a subscription to their service when you never had any connection with them in the first place? Or maybe you’re already a member. Why would you want to become a member again? This type of messaging causes a lot of confusion and aggravation for consumers and repeated violations only further turn them off to your brand.

How does this mistake happen in the first place? Imagine you’re the customer for a moment. Let’s say you visited a website and provided your email address in exchange for something you deemed valuable at the time. That doesn’t mean you have a connection to that company, though. All it means is you were/are a potential customer. Think about this when you’re creating your personalized marketing strategy and communicating your own brand.

You’ll miss the chance to properly create a relationship with a new customer if you approach them as if you’d already been doing business together for years.

5. Are You Testing Your Personalized Marketing Campaign?

personalized marketingMaintaining an accurate database can be difficult, but it should never stop you from checking your data or running a test before sending out your personalized marketing mail.

Have you ever received an email addressed to FirstName? Ouch. There’s almost no way anyone is going to take that message seriously. Furthermore, with that type of obvious blunder, you’ve likely done enough damage to your brand name that the recipient doesn’t want anything to do with you—now or in the future.

Get to know your customers and what interests them. Then check to make sure your data’s valid before you send your campaign. Remember if you’re using personalization tokens in an email, always create a custom default value. That way if data is missing for something like a first name, your recipient will be greeted by the term you choose. Saying hello to a “rewards member” or “marketing expert” is a lot better than calling someone FirstName.

6. If You Don’t Protect Customer Data, You’ll Lose Trust

Your customers are trusting you with their information. Don’t betray that trust by being manipulative. Be clear about what you’re going to do with their information and you’ll win their respect.

Whether you’re generating email opt-ins on your website, permissions on mobile apps, or social media logins, let your customers know how you’ll use their information. Then protect the data you have.

If you’re going to dig into personalization so you can better serve your customer’s needs (aka hyper-personalization), you’re going to need a data management system that accepts information from a variety of sources. Application Programming Interfaces do just that. API integration allows all your data to be compatible with varied software systems. Remember, your customized marketing efforts are only as strong as your data, so this is a key function in the personalization process.

You can leverage all your contact data to organize targeted lists around your verticals and marketing personas. Then use multiple personalization tokens, layouts, and formats to create collateral that’s unique to each recipient.

Is that easier said than done? Not at all. Embrace the power of targeted marketing with personalized content from BlueSky ETO’s “engineered to order” software solution. It creates customized marketing for your brand’s particular needs, with built-in API integration. Want to know more? Schedule a free consultation today.

7. Sending Solo Email Messages vs. Autoresponders

one-to-one marketingIf you only use personalization for one-off emails, you’re missing a major opportunity. The cornerstone of a personalized marketing strategy and many customized marketing campaigns involves automated emails, or autoresponders. You might know this as a drip campaign. However you choose to label it, marketing automation works.

By creating a set of automated marketing emails based on specific timelines or user actions you define, you’re not only engaging with your audience, you’re also customizing your messages to suit specific segments of your mailing list. And you’re saving yourself a ton of time. The results speak for themselves.

A series of relevant, targeted emails receives a 119% increase in clicks and 18 times more revenue than emails that are not targeted.

So whether you’re nurturing leads, welcoming new customers, trying to rescue the contents from abandoned shopping carts, or getting someone to renew their subscription, plan it out as a strategic series of messages for a better chance at the results you’re looking for.

8. Noreply Email Messages Are Frustrating

A noreply email message is just plain bad for marketing. When you use an email address that isn’t monitored and actually blocks customers from replying to you, you’re creating a frustrated customer. It also decreases your campaign’s deliverability and increases your chances of being flagged as spam. Some network spam filters and many customer’s personal email security settings will automatically direct noreply emails into a junk folder. Naturally, this will decrease your rate of delivery and you’ll have lower conversions as a result.

Swap out the noreply address for an email address that accepts responses. Then be sure to respond in a timely manner.

9. Email Attachments Lead to Spam Folders

personalized marketing mistakesNo business wants their campaign to receive a one-way ticket into a customer’s spam folder. To help prevent it, don’t include any attachments with your message. By adding a photo or file attachment of any kind, it increases your chances of never being seen, let alone opened and read.

If you want to add a photo or graphic to your marketing campaign (which you almost certainly will), use customized marketing software that features templates where you can embed images into your message. There’s never a need to attach anything. You create/design the campaign and the software sends it to your list. If you need to share a pdf or other large document, consider hosting it on your website instead. By providing a link instead of an attachment, you’ll save your message from the spam folder and earn some web traffic at the same time.

10. Not Formatting for All Possible Devices

Your customers will likely be opening your email message on a variety of devices. Desktop, laptop, tablet, smartphone. Be ready to appear perfect on all of them, otherwise you could turn off a potential customer who doesn’t like the look and feel of your message or simply can’t read it correctly.

To avoid this dilemma, be certain your personalization is impeccable, no matter what images you’re using. Then test and optimize your campaign across all devices before you send it. That way you’ll ensure it looks good and that it’s easy for everyone to read. If you’re linking to pages within your email, don’t forget to make sure these pages are optimized for mobile and tablet as well.

A Personalized Marketing Strategy Creates Connections

We live in an online world saturated with spam emails and banner ads. Spam accounts for 45% of all emails sent. That’s 14.5-billion spam messages floating around our inboxes (or junk mail folders) every day. And banner ads appear on almost every website we visit. Web banners will likely become a $27-billion industry by 2021, with mobile devices leading the charge. That’s why any piece of personalized marketing mail—electronic or physical—stands out amongst the digital clutter.

When you want to connect with your customers, having a personalized marketing strategy is the answer. No matter what your marketing goals are, the focus should always be on creating connections. And one of the best ways to create lasting connections with consumers is through targeted, personalized marketing.

By avoiding the personalization mistakes listed above, you’ll be well on your way to creating connections that last a lifetime.

The best way to realize your personalized marketing strategy goals is with powerful, customized software from BlueSky ETO. This innovative marketing software uses multiple personalization tokens to provide highly targeted messaging that’s unique to each recipient. Find out for yourself by taking the live demo for a spin today.

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