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Personalization Is A Key For Customer Engagement

Personalization is a key for customer engagement and is vital to the success of small and medium sized businesses. While people are talking a lot about using personalization in marketing, it seems that what is defined as personalization covers a wide range of options. As a website design company that specializes in creating personalized solutions, we wanted to share our thoughts and insights as to exactly what you should be focusing on if you really want to drive engagement and sales by taking the time to properly connect with customers.

So what is personalization?

The straight definition of the word means to meet customers’ needs more effectively and efficiently. Ideally, you are making interactions easier and quicker which in turn should result in increased customer satisfaction therefore increasing the chance of repeat business.

Notice the first part of the definition – meet customers’ needs.

This is the important part of the equation and the aspect that a lot of people fumble with when thinking about personalization. Many times what people think of as ‘personalization’ is actually more of segmentation, that is targeted contact or marketing that is based on a segment of the entire group of customers.

For example, getting a 20% off coupon for being a valued customer, triggered by the fact that you have made multiple purchases in the past 6 months but none in the past month, is a form of segmentation. There is nothing personal about this contact.

Conversely, a 20% off coupon sent to you on your birthday is a form of personalized marketing. You are getting a special offer because a business knows that it is your birthday and wants to give you something because of it.

This is a very powerful tool to be aware of. As obvious as the birthday email is, that message consistently drives engagement and sales whereas the segmented offer is very hit or miss depending often on if the receiver was planning on a purchase as there is no true personalization taking place which means customers often don’t feel special.

Using personalization as a business

If your business is going to focus on personalization, it needs to be something that is constantly and consistently worked at. It should be a primary goal that is considered in everything you do as by doing, so it will be easier to utilize. Here are some thoughts to help get you started:

  • Always be learning – You should strive to learn as much about customers you can at each and every touch point. This data should be securely stored and categorized so that you have useful information. Pay attention to how customers like to be communicated with, focus on interactions and what you can learn from them, track information and data to not only understand more about your customers, but to also learn about when and where personalization will work best.
  • Provide personalized value – Remember that the definition of personalization includes meeting customers’ needs. So, along with your personalized contact, you need to be providing them some value that meets their needs. For example, the birthday email contact should wish them a happy birthday. It should also provide something targeted specifically at them that they will find valuable. This can be information, discounts, free samples, or anything they will find value in.
  • Focus on customer attention – Personalization efforts at every level from website interactions to marketing should focus on gaining the customer’s attention and then sustaining engagement. Each contact should focus on relevance and value to the customer and help build the relationship between them and your brand, showing that you are truly looking to help them. While it is nice to see what other things people purchased, just because they bought the same thing as me doesn’t mean I share any other commonality with them.
  • Experiment first – One thing about personalization is that there is no perfect strategy out there. In essence, your strategy will develop as you learn more about your customers and develop a connection. From that you can learn what works and from there mold together a strategy.

The bottom line is that personalization is a key for customer engagement, especially for the smaller and mid-sized businesses. One thing that separates big and small businesses is the ability of the smaller business to be more local, to get more connected and to foster more brand loyalty if they take the time to do so. Let the big shops just segment customers while you reap the rewards of getting personal with them.

Be sure to check back every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for great new Lounge Lizard blog articles.

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