Studies by organizations like Forbes and the American Marketing Association have found that the average consumer sees between 5,000 and 10,000 brand messages per day. B2B decision-makers likely see even more, with hundreds of emails pouring in offering consultations, downloads, and recent blog posts or webinars.
The deluge of messages can be overwhelming to the point that many people start tuning them out completely. For any business trying to attract customers, breaking through that much competition for attention can be incredibly difficult even with a quality product or service offering. This is why it is so important to personalize your messaging to your target audience as much as possible.
If you and your competitors use similar language and tout similar value propositions, the messaging can blend together, making it that much more difficult to get through to your target market. But with a personalized message that speaks to the actual pain points your prospects are facing, you can stand out in a way that actually captures their attention and encourages engagement in a way that few digital marketing campaigns are able to. The goal is to have customers seek you out, rather than you trying to drag them away from competitors. Let’s look at three ways to achieve this.
- Respond to your customer’s needs
- Build a persona-driven marketing and sales funnel
When we think of personalization, we often think of the emails that include first names or company names, added with an email automation tool. This can be an effective tactic, but it’s also an easy one — something everyone does. In short, it doesn’t help you to stand out. And if you configure the email tool incorrectly, you can even hurt your cause.
So how do you stand out?
By customizing the experience for your target audience. This means several things, but mostly it is presenting as much relevant information as possible based on what you know about the customer.
For example, if someone is visiting your site for the first time, they might see a phone number in the header and a call to action to schedule a consultation. But if you know them already — they’ve filled out a form, or better yet, they are a known customer — you can replace that phone number with a link to your support center so they can submit a ticket. You’re anticipating the needs of the visitor based on their life cycle stage and the engagement will be higher as a result.
Customers want to see customer-related information. Prospects want to see educational information. Current sales leads want to see relevant supplemental information. Your website should reflect these preferences based on what you know about your visitors.
The goal of personalization is to speak to someone about the problems they are having while they are searching for the solution. This is difficult to do with a single, static message on your website. Too many websites offer similar generic language for their service offerings and customer service.
Instead, take the time to build a funnel based on an understanding of the needs of the prospects and leads who visit your site. This funnel will guide them from their first contact with your brand through to their final transition to a paying customer. These stages are known as Awareness, Evaluation, and Conversion. Here’s how to build your sales funnel:
- Define your personas – Who are the individuals who visit your website? What are their personal and professional situations, and what are their motivations? What are their goals and pain points? Are the administrators, business owners, technology contacts, or influencers performing research? You are creating your ideal customers, so you need to know your audience and know what they expect to find. You can create your personas based on your existing customers and by researching your aspirational customers.
- Map your content – Create a content funnel that identifies what your personas are looking for at each stage. At the top of the funnel, you are educating people about the questions they have. Use little or no sales language at this stage — just help them solve their problems based on what they are searching for in Google. Do this with blog articles and other high-value educational content.
In the middle of the funnel, you are helping them to understand your business and why it is their best option. Do this with buying guides, checklists, and comparison sheets that outline your value proposition.
At the bottom of the funnel, get them on the phone with a member of your sales team. Do this by offering consultation, assessment, or on-site discussion.
- Create content for each step – If you can identify personas for each stage of the funnel that are a good fit for your business, make sure you have relevant content for each of them. Some of this content will already exist. Other pieces will need to be created.
The goal here is to build catered experiences for individual audiences.
If your website can provide value to visitors at each stage of the buyer’s journey, you are well on your way to providing a personalized experience. But there’s more you can do.
This is where you can start personalizing the actual marketing materials people see based on a number of factors you’re able to measure.
- Customized landing pages – Build custom landing pages not only for your persona types but also for the situation in which they might search for or interact with your business. For example, if you provide IT services, you know that someone researching new data backup technology is in a very different state of mind from someone who suspects they may be experiencing a cybersecurity attack, even if it’s the same persona.
- Email segmentation – Create carefully segmented lists by tagging your contacts based on activity, persona, content interaction, lead stage, and anything else you can think of. Your emails will be more effective when crafted for specific situations rather than using the same generic boilerplate content loaded with merge tags.
- Matching ad groups to relevant content – When you run an ad campaign, create custom landing pages based on the ad group (in Google Ads) or audience type (on social media) you are targeting. Make sure the language in your ads is consistent with and references the landing page copy to provide a more relevant and impactful experience.
The goal of personalization is not to simulate a live conversation, but to ensure relevance in your marketing activities. You want people to feel like they’ve discovered a solution that’s designed specifically for them. If you can do that, your ads and marketing campaigns will break through all the noise people are faced with each day, and your click-through rates, conversion rates, and close rates will all increase. We hope that these three ways to personalize your Digital Marketing Campaigns help to steer you in the right direction.