You probably receive direct marketing in the form of personalized ads that you don't think about at all.
Ads that remind you that it's time to reorder your prescription, an invitation to purchase the attachments that go along with your new vacuum, or even a reminder to order coffee because your grocery delivery service knows you haven’t ordered in a few weeks.
As consumers, we think little of these nudges to purchase from our favorite retailers, but marketers know, much thought and strategy goes into these purchase prompts to ensure they reach the customer at the right moment.
Starting a 1:1 marketing strategy takes planning, preparation, and most importantly, DATA.
Get to Know Your Customers
Before you can start creating relationship-based marketing, you have to have a way to identify your customers. Here are a few examples of ways to get the data you need:
1. Entice customers with engaging content that requires first registering to view or download
2. Offer a small discount or free gift to register on your ecommerce site
3. Use e-Receipts in your physical store as a means to capture email addresses
4. Offer a rewards or loyalty program for cashback and price discounts
Sync Data Across Channels
Understanding how your customers directly interact with your brand across all channels will help you understand them more holistically.
This process is more advanced and often takes technical support and software, but if used to its full potential, this can provide powerful insights.
Other customers may be convenience shoppers that buy and run.
Mining your interaction analytics and transactional data is key to understanding what makes your customers tick.
This can be done with advanced data visualization tools such as Tableau or done quite simply with a Google sheet.
Once you’ve identified your customers, you can start to segment based on similar behaviors.
We recommend creating segments based on purchase behavior or lack thereof. For example, bucketing customers based on annual transaction frequency, category of purchase, and time of year is a great start. Each of these segments deserve their own campaign.
The customers with high transaction volume may receive a high value offer to purchase something outside of their usual category, where fringe customers may need an offer inside of their category to continue buying from you.
Watch for habits like looking at a certain product multiple times but never buying.
This could be an opportunity for a cart abandonment campaign to ensure your prices are competitive and not holding back customers from choosing to do business with you.
Create your personalized interactions
You know your customers and their habits, so now you can create meaningful interactions with them. Your company’s specific personalized interactions have to be different than others. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to tailoring content.
It teamed up with Foursquare to create location-based campaigns that recommend drinks based on the user’s preferences and type of drinking establishment they are visiting. Foursquare said, “They pivoted their approach from a location check-in engine to a location intelligence engine.”
For your company, the campaign may not be as elaborate or take a partnership with a company like Foursquare.
Companies like service stations for oil changes can use 1:1 direct marketing.
You know the type of car your customer drives and you know how long it’s been since their last visit. Send an email saying the manufacturer of the customer’s car model recommends oil changes every so many miles and then insert information about when the last oil change took place and a coupon to drive them back to you.
It’s simple, includes data you already collect, and repeats on specific intervals to make automation easy.
Keep It Simple
If you’re a small company and reading this thinking these ideas are great, but could never work with your limited resources, just remember to start small.
Personalized experiences can be as simple as providing sidebar content on certain website pages that lead to additional relevant content or products based off what your customer is currently viewing.
Maybe your emails can’t recommend a specific product based off purchasing behaviors just yet, but every email marketing program offers insights into open rates and click through rates.
Use this to your advantage to create drip campaigns to users who have clicked a product or service in your email campaign to learn more.
While you only know a small bit of information about this user, you can set up a follow-up email go out a few days or a week later that provides more details about that product you featured last week only to customers who showed interest.
There is always risk involved with personalizing a customer’s experience.
Amazon recently experienced a glitch that sent many customers who had never set up a baby registry a notification saying that a gift had been purchased for them. The company acted swiftly to inform recipients of the error, but it’s an example that proves the importance of care and deliberation when it comes to personalized campaigns.
Whether you’re a billion-dollar company or just starting out, personalization through direct marketing strategies will have a lasting impact on your customers going from one-time purchases to regular, repeat patronization.
The time it takes to invest in strategy and analyzing up front is worth it in the long-term returns.
About The Author
Justin Baynton is a digital marketing thought leader and industry innovator. Justin has successfully led digital strategy and implementation for many large enterprise organizations. Justin is a board member for AXO Digital and is writing this on their behalf. AXO Digital is an internet marketing company with deep experience in all digital marketing services.