This past summer, Coca-Cola did the unthinkable and it reversed an 11-year decline in soda sales. How? By getting personal. They launched the “Share a Coke” campaign in June 2014 and customers lined up to find a Coke bottle emblazoned with their name. Revolutionary? No. Impactful? Absolutely.
What the marketers at Coca-Cola latched onto was that customers want to feel a personal connection before they buy your product. They want to feel that the product that they are spending their hard-earned money on was made for them and that it will be exactly what they need. What customers bought into with the “Share a Coke” campaign was not just that it’s pretty cool to see your name on a Coke can, but that it felt like a product that was made for them.
Personalization isn’t a new concept, but what is new are the tools we have available to make each and every customer’s experience a uniquely personal one. If you run a business and aren’t doing any form of personalization, you are absolutely leaving money on the table. Here are 6 easy ways you can personalize your customer experience for a more successful business:
1. Use names in your email
This may seem overly simplistic, but using a customers name in either your email subject line or within the content can have a dramatic impact on whether or not someone ultimately makes a purchase. While most customers know that their name is inserted automatically by a machine, there is something kind of magical about seeing your name in an email subject that really catches the eye.
Bottom line: If customers trust you enough to provide their name, use it to create a more personal experience through your email program.
2. Personalize the email content
One sure-fire way to make sure that your email content gets read is to craft a personal message. You’ll need to have some basic data about your customers to do this, but segmenting your email list based on previous purchases or interests can have a dramatic effect on your sales. When you know what your customers have already bought, it’s much easier to know what makes sense to recommend for their next purchase.
This may take some work if you can’t afford the tools that will help you automate the personalized email process, but every business can benefit from some level of email personalization.
3. Create targeted landing pages on your website
Targeted landing pages are a great way to create a personal experience for specific customers and they offer the added benefit of helping boost your search engine results as well. In a nutshell, a targeted landing page is one that has been designed with a specific customer in mind. For example, if you have a landscaping business, you might want to think about creating pages on your website to address a variety of customers. For example:
- Home Landscaping done right by A+ Landscapers
- How A+ Landscaping can help your apartment get more tenants
- Professional Commercial Landscaping with A+ Landscapers
While you are selling the same product or service, when you personalize these landing pages, you are selling your services in very different ways. I’m sure you can imagine how a landing page might look different for home, apartment or commercial landscaping. The content, images and sales pitch can and should be different depending on who you are talking to and changing things up a bit can have a dramatic impact on your sales.
4. Stop automating your social media
It may be tempting to use one of the many services to automate your social media posting. These services certainly make things easy from a time management perspective, but they also take the personal connection out of your social media. Having a real person craft real messages and respond to comments and questions makes your business feel more approachable. Customers who are able to interact with your business on a personal level are much more likely to become brand advocates and will be extremely loyal.
Do yourself a favor – let your social media do what it was intended to do and build those personal connections.
5. Create sales paths that feel personal
No one, and I mean no one, likes a pushy salesperson. When you try to push your customers into certain products or force them down a particular path, 9 times out of 10, it’s not going to end real well. You’ll either end up losing the sale or the customer will go home with a serious case of buyer’s remorse. If you want results that end up with happy customers and a happy business, you’ve got to personalize the process.
In a retail store, that means having your salespeople take the time to listen to the wants and needs of the customer and having them find options that fulfill those wants and needs. Online, that means creating the right content to help the customer feel like they are being heard. You can do this by showcasing your products benefits, offering testimonials and showing them products that your data indicates they would like. There are a million ways to do it, but the important thing is that the sales process feels real and natural.
6. Be real, be human and listen
Last, but absolutely not least, it is vitally important that you don’t try to be something that you are not. When customers are ready to make a purchase, they want to feel like they are dealing with a business who is authentic, because authenticity means that you know who they are and can trust them. To help create a truly personal experience, you need to listen to your customers. Whether that is in a physical location, through surveys or on social media, listen to what your customers are telling you and respond to that feedback. The personal attention will pay off in the end!