There are numerous strategies for converting customers into brand loyalists. Perhaps none is more effective than reaching potential customers on a personal level. However, the catch is that this is one of the hardest forms of marketing to achieve successfully. In addition, if done incorrectly, this form of marketing can really damage a brand’s image and connection to customers.
So what are some successful marketing strategies that boasted personalized appeal, and why did they work so well? To shed some light on reaching customers on a personal level, 13 members of Forbes Communications Council share effective personalized marketing strategies and campaigns that have impressed them.
1. Send Personalized Email Reminders
Six months after I purchased running shoes from JackRabbit, I got an email reminding me that it was time to get a new pair and sharing information about my last purchase. This email was easy to automate on their end but still felt personal and timely, and it offered me valuable information to stay healthy. Thousands of customers can receive the same email, but the timing makes it feel personal. – Mandy Menaker, Shapr
2. Focus On What Resonates With Your Audience
Do not simply equate personalization with “customized content for a specific demo- or psycho-graphic.” It’s also about what resonates with them viscerally—moving from the head down to the heart. Great campaigns don’t always target what we think somebody cares about, but rather the humanity that connects us all. Try to hit on shared base emotions. A personal fave: Honey-Maid’s “Love” campaign. – Omar Garriott, salesforce.com
3. Use Customer Data Effectively
Sephora uses customer data to effectively deliver personalization on a mass scale. For example, their email variations include reminders to repurchase product types (like cologne) timed to typical usage cycles. They share recommendations across their digital marketing tailored to the customer’s preferences. It feels seamless, but it takes a lot of sophisticated coordination and they do it well. – Robert Wallace, Tallwave
4. Extend Personalization To Delivery As Well As Message
Personalization can be in the delivery, not just the message. Domino’s marketing strategy was built with transparency and filled with exceptional digital and customer experiences. They made ordering pizza from any device, app, e-commerce site, web app, social media platform or even IoT (Internet of Things) device easy and fun. Domino’s made ordering available in every customer’s preferred channel. That’s personalization at its best. – Jen Street, PetroChoice – Lubrication Solutions
5. Get The Consumer’s Feedback
Consumers want personalization, and they never said they wouldn’t help to make their experience personalized. Ask engaging questions using tactics like interactive quizzes to understand your consumer on a deeper emotional level, and then use that information to personalize the experience. Look no further than Buzzfeed quizzes to understand how experiences can be tailored to people’s personalities. – Keith Bendes, Float Hybrid
6. Leverage Personalized And Interactive Video
Personalized and interactive video is a spot-on marketing strategy for business marketers to take note of. Companies like Pitney Bowes make this possible by blending the right technology and hyper-personalized data. Personalization and interactive videos drive revenue by leading buyers deeper in their journey to purchase. This is a strategy ripe for use within account-based marketing efforts. – Mike Neumeier, Arketi Group
7. Cater Strategies To Each Specific Audience
Marketing is not one-size-fits-all, so strategies must be tailored to each specific audience. Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign really nailed personalized marketing. The campaign was fun, lighthearted and reached Coke’s core target audience of young Millennials—not to mention it is evergreen. Plus, the personalized name bottles were super shareable and allowed for engagement among peers. – G’Nai Blakemore, Mattress Firm
8. Try To Scale The Personal Touches
Recently, I stayed at a hotel in Sydney and walked into my room to a framed photo of Roger Federer—I am a super fan, as my Twitter bio indicates. That little bit of social reconnaissance brightened my day and my stay. Tapping the personality and social profiles of customers and prospects for individualized outreach takes collaboration and time, but if prioritized can make all the difference. – Andrew Caravella, Sprout Social
9. Listen For The Cues
While working with a marketing company I noticed things kept arriving in the mail that were relevant to our conversations. I mentioned having a baby, and I received a onesie and rattle. I mentioned an upcoming pitch, and I received quirky socks and a good luck note. Listening for cues and then quickly reacting can go a long way. The items sent don’t need to be expensive—just thoughtful, relevant and personal. – Scott Schoeneberger, Bluewater Technologies Group, Inc.
10. Send Communications From The Leadership Team
I like the idea of sending communications from the leadership team, and more specifically, from your company’s CEO. Do a mail merge so the recipient’s name is included, and the email becomes even more personal. Next, craft a message general enough to apply to all consumers but impactful enough to feel like your CEO is speaking directly to a single consumer, delivering practical, value-add advice. – Melissa Kandel, little word studio
11. Enable Personalization Across Channels
After starting a trial with a software company, they sent me an email with a personalized video inviting me to a free breakfast and demo session right down the road. The personalization was the hook, the breakfast close to home was a brilliant move and the demo was exactly what I needed. This is a great example of how personalization can bridge the worlds of marketing and customer service. – Cameron Conaway, Solace
12. Remember Your Customers’ Birthdays
It is so simple, but everyone loves their birthday! A special offer or promotion on someone’s birthday goes a long way. Make sure you capture that data when someone online shops with your brand and then target them with something fun on their birthday. It will definitely pay off! – Sherry Jhawar, Blended Strategy Group
13. Use AI For Emotionally Intelligent Communication
Think of your neighborhood grocer, who knows you, remembers your preferences and always recommends the right products. Now imagine your grocer doing this with thousands or millions of customers. Impossible, right? To do personalization at scale and do it well, we must rely on artificial intelligence to deliver emotionally intelligent communications to our customers at the right time and through preferred channels.