When I started my freelancing work around ten years ago, I had a client from the US who used to send around one hundred thousand printed letters to his prospective customers—yes, you read it right: one hundred thousand promotional letters printed on paper and mailed to each one of them. The promotional offers were printed but he used to personalize the letters by writing individual names of the customers using a pen. On the envelop too, he used to write the address with the pen. Actually, this was the work that he outsourced to me. The reason he gave for this unusual stuff was that only a few people care to open and read the letter if it’s all printed—they tend to throw it away because they feel that it’s a promotional; but when they see the handwriting, they are curious to open it. Once they open, the chance of their actually reading that letter goes up.
Well, ten years from that point, I don’t think that the strategy will be helpful that much given that it’ll a huge burden on environment and cost involved, but the idea is brilliant. The idea of trying to make every communication with your potential customers personal, and customizing it is something that is practical and applicable even now. In fact, if you don’t do it, your marketing communication stands a limited chance of converting into returns over whatever type of investment you are making—time, money, infrastructure, and resources, etc.
Personalize your marketing communication
Your marketing plan will indefinitely have lots of different elements – from outbound and inbound marketing, offline and online activities, social media, email marketing, events, webinars, etc. You may not be able to customize all these activities and platforms for every visitor or customer that you have, but try doing it whenever you have special outgoing messages to your customers. Be it emails, social media updates, or promotional offers—try targeting individuals, groups, or a certain kind of band of your customer-base. Of course, there would be stuff that will target all of them, but on regular basis, you can do a bit of compartmentalization.
Here are some of the thoughts to customize your communication when it comes to marketing as your objective:
1. Target interest groups
Every customer of your list would not be looking for an individual product that’s totally different from each other. If it’s a service, there’s always a chance that the requirements may vary according to the volume, size, budget, time, etc. The essence of this point is that you can always group certain number of your customers according to their interests or needs. This may require some research on your part, and also sorting the database accordingly. You may also need to get your customers tell you what sort of products or services they are looking for through a form etc. If you have a registration option, this question of interests could be asked in that registration process only.
Once you have these interest groups, you may customize your marketing copy accordingly. You can target specific interest groups with something that will be more suitable for their needs, and may not have a general marketing pitch. For example, if you have an interest group which are looking for books that talk about self-help, you will not like to send them a marketing copy that is trying to sell camera memory cards, given that you are running multi-product online store.
2. Target trends and fashion
Do keep an eye on the market trends and fashions that are getting in vogue. If right now you are not marketing for iPhones and Android-based mobile sets and still concentrating on Blackberry, you are totally missing the ride.
Majority of customers like to go by what’s presently acceptable in the market or society as a trend or fashion; only a few like to make your choice. So, it makes sense to send a marketing copy that lets your customers know how your products or services will help bring them in line with the recent trends and fashion styles.
3. Target buying habits
This is more oriented towards the customer base which has already shopped with you. You will need to figure out their buying habits, and plan accordingly. Some people tend to buy more on weekends, during some festivals or on the special days like birthdays, anniversaries. If you could figure out a way to get this information integrated in your database, you can customize your marketing communication strategy accordingly.
This can also be used to sell complementary products or services, which will be of real value to the customers. If provide plumbing services, you may also like offer them pest control or mold control services given that you do that or you have somebody who would like to do it for you. If you sell furniture and you have a database of customers who bought beautiful dining tables from you, you may pitch them to buy side or lamp tables to make their dining room decorative and more appealing etc. It really is a matter of what you sell and whether you have the required database segregated accordingly.
The importance of customization
Marketing communication solely depends upon how well you are able to connect with your audience. There would be various needs to make it more profitable like good database, and a vibrant social community, etc., but the connection is of greater importance. If you customers are not feeling that you are talking directly to them, you have a bleak chance of making them do something through that communication, which may turn out to be one-sided babble.