Nowadays, it’s all about all things personal.
Ever since we started making miniature computers and calling them “smartphones,” the world has been on the hunt for the ultimate personal experience. We even have Intelligent Personal Assistants – responding to names such as Siri and Alexa – that will answer any question or satisfy any request at the drop of a hat.
In a society where “personal” is the norm and anything less is disregarded, how is it possible for small business owners keep up?
What Is Personalized Marketing?
You don’t have to be a marketing expert to have experience in personalization. Have you ever performed a search for a new shirt or a gardening tool, only to find an ad for that same shirt or tool pop up as a banner on the next website you visit? This is called personalized marketing, or “personalization.”
Wikipedia defines the term as “a marketing strategy by which companies leverage data analysis and digital technology to deliver individualized messages and product offerings to current or prospective customers.” Essentially, it is the art of knowing what your customers want, and delivering it to them in a way that seems to speak directly to them.
It’s quite common in e-commerce (like the example I mentioned above); unfortunately, a personalized experience as specific as this is difficult to achieve outside of the e-commerce industry.
What is a small business owner to do?
Social media has changed the world. It’s an incredibly powerful tool available to everyone – so why not use it to your advantage?
Facebook’s Live Video is rapidly growing in popularity, and now you can even create a post that will allow followers to add a reminder to tune in to an upcoming live broadcast.
Instagram has created a “Swipe Up” capability on their Stories feature which allows users to view a link without ever leaving the app.
In a recent survey, more than a quarter of business owners (28%) stated that they had experienced “major uplifts in conversion rates since implementing personalization of social media.” With so many new, incredibly customizable features, it’s important that you as a business owner stay on top of all that is available to you.
With a bit of experimenting and a lot of research into your prospective client base, you could become an expert in social media personalization!
Here are a few steps you can follow to make social media personalization work for you:
1. Pick A Platform
Let’s start with Rule #1: pick a platform and stick with it (for now).
Each social network is different; avid LinkedIn users might be searching for a very different experience than those who frequent Pinterest. What works for one platform, might totally flop on another. When you’re first starting out, it’s best to choose one platform and perfect it before moving on to another.
To choose which social media platform you’ll start out with, you must take a look at your target audience. What are they more likely to be using? Practically everyone is on Facebook, but some older social media users might not even know what Snapchat is.
Think of who you’re trying to reach, and where they’re spending the majority of their free time online. Now you can focus on perfecting your personalization strategy.
2. Start Your Research
Once you’ve chosen your social media platform, it’s time for the real research to begin. What is your target audience doing? What are they reading, searching for, watching, following? Are they using any common hashtags? Is there a time of day when they are more likely to be found online?
As you collect your data, log it in a CRM platform or spreadsheet. Be as specific as possible. Find a list of celebrities that are using goods or services similar to yours, and see who is following them. Take a look at your competitors – find out what they’re posting, how they’re sharing their message, and what mediums are getting the most likes/views/comments/shares.
By diligently tracking this information, you can identify your prospective clients’ pain points. This will help you determine how to build your own posts, landing pages, and overall interactions with your target audience.
3. Build Your Content
One of the most important things to remember during the personalization process is that people want to feel like you identify directly with them. In order to achieve this, you must make your company feel as personable as possible.
Share live videos (streamed at a time when you know your audience will be online.) Post video testimonials featuring past clients who match your target demographic.
No detail is too minute or specific. In fact, it’s these little details and attention to the client’s pain points that truly make a personalized experience.
One of my favorite examples of true social media personalization came from an umbrella company. They tracked the weather in regions where they had brick and mortar shops. As soon as it began raining in an area, they published an ad on Facebook for umbrellas. How original…and how convenient if you were one of the unfortunate individuals who happened to leave their umbrella at home that day!
4. Close The Deal
Imagine you’re scrolling through Facebook and you see a link to a page that is selling blue shoes. You’ve been dying for a pair of blue shoes, so you click on the link and are taken to the owner’s Business page. At the top of their timeline you see an incredible video of people walking around in blue shoes. You simply MUST have a pair of these amazing shoes, so you click on the link in the video description, pulling out your credit card as you do.
Suddenly, a page loads for a shoe company…and the only images you see are of red high heels.
If you’re like pretty much everyone else, you won’t waste your time hunting for those blue shoes! Your disappointment is so great that you simply leave the page, giving up on your dream of owning a pair of blue shoes and silently cursing that business for leading you on.
It’s important to keep every step of your sales funnel uniform. Whether you’re advertising blue shoes or car insurance, everything needs to look the same at every phase in the buying process.
Create specific landing pages for each of your campaigns. Make sure all images are the same. If you used a video in your Facebook ad, you might even want to include that video at the top of your landing page.
If your ads are broken down into specific demographics like age (and they should be!) create landing pages targeted toward each demographic. This may seem like a lot of work, but it’s as simple as creating a template and swapping out a few images, videos, and words here and there to make it all feel identifiable to your viewers. Plus, isn’t a bit of extra work worth the conversion and new happy customer at the end of the day?
5. Keep Them Coming Back For More
Your sales pitch doesn’t end when the first transaction does. Even if you offer a service that can really only be used once, you’ll want a good reference and that five star rating to help bring in new clients!
Create a separate CRM log or spreadsheet for past or existing customers. Log their birthdays (if you have them), the date they became a customer, the day their transaction ended, and any other details you can think to collect.
Then, send them a quick note! Ask how their new installation is working for them. See if they’re still enjoying the product they purchased from you. Wish them a happy birthday. Check in on the anniversary of the transaction to see if they need any further assistance.
This is also an excellent way to gain a few references from happy customers!
At the end of the day, your focus needs to shift away from what you think your potential clients want, and toward discovering what they actually want. It will take a bit of work, but you’ll be so glad you invested the time and energy into making it happen. Not only will your business thrive, but your business will soon be known as the #1 brand for a truly personal experience!
If all of this seems too daunting a task, we can help. Sweet Rose Studios can help create personalized marketing campaigns across all platforms, making your brand the talk of the town and driving conversions to your business.