(Guest Blogger: Steve Castrucci)
Today’s business world means everything customer focused. Not only do organizations try to engage with customers on a personal level, but customers actually want communication to be personal and relevant. As such, every customer communication needs to be engaging with a personal message.
Communicating with your customers on an individual and personal level leads to more sales and a better customer experience. Failing to do this and might alienate your customers and reduce the chance they will consider you one of their “Go To” brands.
What can you do to increase your customer personalized messaging? Here are 10 ideas to consider:
Know the Message type and Craft Accordingly
There are three basic messaging types that you may want to send to your customers – sales and offers, customer service or informational awareness. If you know your objective, you can create the proper personalized message for it. Want to sell? Then focus on customer benefits in your messaging. If you are providing information – provide concise directions and information relevant to the customer. Do not overlap your objectives – keep the personalized message clear and to one specific point.
Messaging and formats must be optimized for the channel. For example, a message sent to a mobile device differs in design, content and urgency compared to messaging in a customer statement. The channel and how it is used are key to the message personalization.
There are many different sources of data available on your customers. Some is internal to your organization while others are external. Canvass and use different sources. Then apply analytics to better understand your client groups. This will give you more insight into your customer groups. These insights give you the ammunition to develop messaging that is engaging, relevant and impactful to your customers’ individual case.
Priority makes a Successful Message
You might have many things you want to tell and sell your customer. Messages are most effective if you prioritize them from customer’s perspective. For example, your organization may be promoting a specific offer or event. Based on your data analytics, you know this is not be the right time for an offer to your customer. You may have uncovered that your customer has just purchased a house. Now is not the time to send them a special offer for a mortgage or a real estate person. If you proceeded to present new offer messages to your customers during this period it would only serve to irritate them. In fact it will decrease your effectiveness and hurt your chances for sales and engagement at a later date by bruising your relationship.
Rejected Offer? Present it again BUT to Another Channel!
Few things are more irritating than having the same offer presented to you several times. It becomes a nuisance if that same offer is presented in different formats on different channels. . If it was ineffective the first time, it will not compel – even if dressings are changed. When rejecting a significant offer customers do not want to see it again in a different format. They respect organizations that know that “no means no”. Should your client feel you do not understand this, they might opt out of receiving further messages from you. For these clients, remove them from your email marketing list for that campaign – for example.
Timing = Success
Yes, there is a time and a place for everything. It is no different with client messaging. Messages sent when a customer is distracted by other activities fall on deaf ears. Delivered at an ideal time the same marketing can be a smash success. As an example, when signing up for access to a web site, do not send an offer mid-way through that process. Once the customer completed the signup and feels proud of their small accomplishment, then a complementary offer will be better received.
Partner strategically for Relevancy
You may want to present your message when your customer is on a partner’s web site. For example, TD Bank (and others) offer discounts on Intuit’s Tax Preparation software. This is good synergy. Intuit partners with the banks proposing their software to prospects when the customer is actively thinking about financial transactions and checking their yearly tax slips on their bank’s web site. Engaging strategically on relevant aspects of what a customer is seeking, makes sense.
Customer Data is PRIVATE
Never forget to respect your customer’s privacy! Never provide key data to unauthorized users. It may be tempting to sell customer lists to increase margins. Do NOT do it. Nothing destroys trust faster than passing private information to unwanted third-party organizations. Your customers should be worth more to you than the value of the sale of that list to a third party.
Say NO to SPAM
Spamming leads to opting out. Be sure you have permission to present offers to your customers – if these are generic and from a mailing list. Do this before your campaign, even if you have the most personalized message. If it is not wanted, it will not be well received. Besides that – the last thing you want is an angry customer to reports your firm as violating Canadian CASL code or the US CAN-SPAM Act. A violation can be EXTREMELY costly.
Follow the government regulations
In certain locations, there are laws governing how you can collect and use customer activity and personal data. Understand these rules. Failing to do so means you can be singled out for fines and unwanted publicity by the local authorities. Being marketers – you know that you do not want to direct your next marketing campaigns on unwinding bad publicity!
About the Author
Steve Castrucci is a Toronto-based Senior Product Manager with over 20 years of experience defining and delivering business solutions to organizations. With a strong belief in listening to the market, he understands customer problems and use product management processes to create effective business and technology solutions to solve those problems. Reach Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org.