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by Desiree Baughman Desiree Baughman on January 14, 2013

The Modern Rules of Marketing Personalization in 2013

January 14, 2013

Marketing PersonalizationIf you’ve read a few of our blogs or downloaded a few of our free ebooks, then you know just how much we value marketing personalization in marketing as well as the direction it's heading.  In our ebook “The Fast Track To Powerful Emails”, we talk a lot about how it’s important to personalize the emails that you send out in order to get a great response rate.

But sometimes it’s better to hold off on sending out personalized messages before you’re ready.

After a while, it can be easy to lose sight of what marketing is meant to be for in the first place.  We get wrapped up in delving into our leads’ behaviors and sometimes even want to brag and boast about how wonderful we are for knowing what pages they visited or what town they live in.

But having that information doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re ready to send out personalized messages to that lead.  Sometimes we all have to sit back and remind ourselves that the whole reason why we’re getting this information is so that we’re able to…

Keep The Customer’s Needs In Mind

The whole reason to be marketing to anyone is to cater to your customer’s needs.  So when you start looking at how you can improve your marketing strategy, think about how and what aspects of personalization can improve their experience.

For example, does it matter where that individual is located?  Is mentioning in an email or in a pop up on your website that they live in New Jersey going to benefit them in any way?  If not, then you shouldn’t include that information in any personalized messages that you send out (as a matter of fact, stuff like that can scare your leads off!).  Their name or company name, however, is likely something that you can use and can be beneficial.

Safeguarding Your Personalization Strategy

“Hi %FirstName%” won’t get your business any love and respect from a lead.  Nor will blindly guessing what they may be interested in based on the fact that they visited your homepage and filled out a basic “contact us” form that really gave you nothing more than their email address and their first name.  Before you send out the messages, you’ve got to make sure that you’ve got the data to justify contacting that person.  Here are some quick tips to make sure that you get the most out of your messaging:

  • Invest in a quality marketing automation tool that allows you to set defaults for when there are gaps in data (i.e. if you don’t know the name of the person, use a default setting that says “Hi There” so that you don’t end up with embarrassing “Hi %FirstName%” emails)
  • Really think about your form fields.  Every page on your site, and every offer, should be matched to where a lead is in the sales funnel.  You need to determine what information you need from the lead and at what point of the sales funnel so that you get the information you need to nurture them further.  After all, if the lead is taking the time to fill out a form, you’re already leaps and bounds towards being able to nurture them into a customer.
  • Check your database on a regular basis and make sure that missing or invalid information won’t interrupt your otherwise awesome inbound marketing campaign

Avoid Over Personalization

The whole point to personalization is to cater to the needs of your leads, right?  Over personalization, however, can have the opposite effect on your leads.

As a recent Pew Internet & American Life Project study revealed, 65% of 2000 respondents in the study said that they didn’t like personalized search.  Why?  Because personalized search can limit the information that you receive when searching online.  Over personalizing can restrict your leads from exploring other options that you may offer that they didn’t otherwise know about, which can result in a loss in sales for your company.

So how can you avoid this pitfall?  Don’t assume things about your leads too quickly.  Tools like HubSpots “Smart Lists” makes it incredibly easy to segment your leads based on a number of different criteria, but make sure that you don’t set the criteria so that it’s overly restrictive.

For example, a new lead downloads our ebook, “Ultimate Guide For Creating Profitable Buyer Personas” after hearing from a colleague about how it can really help them kick off their marketing campaign.  Should we assume that all they’re interested in is buyer personas and send out messaging just about that?  Probably not.

Look at the other pages that they’ve visited, their social media activity, and step back and think logically about where they may be in terms of their marketing strategy and what the next step they may need to take for their business is.  Arrange your criteria based on these ideas in your Smart Lists, and you then have a fully automated and evenly personalized marketing campaign all ready to go.

Desiree Baughman

Desiree Baughman

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