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How To Stand Out With Customization And Personalization

I have 19 kids.

Well, not me personally — I teach a customization and personalization class to 19 students at Baruch College in New York City.

Teaching 20 and 21-year-olds about consumer behavior during a one-day-a-week class (that runs for four hours, mind you) is not an easy task, but a necessary one.

Business today is advanced. Savvy.

As your consumers grow ever more educated thanks to the web, it’s your job as a marketer or business to set yourself apart from the crowd.

And how do you do that?

With customized and personalized offers!

Want to stay connected to your loyal customers for less?

This is where you need to be.

Customization And Personalization: They’re Not The Same Thing

Although customization and personalization may seem the same, they’re not.

Here are some differences and examples:

Customization:

  • Is led by YOU; you specify what you want
  • Is usually considered more generic
  • Can be classified as features

Example: On Gmail, I’ve customized my settings in my inbox by choosing my colors, background, and tabs. I led this charge to customize a product that I enjoy using — but I couldn’t have done this if Google didn’t understand the importance of making Gmail feel like my own.

gmail-customization

From the picture posted above, you can see I personalized:

  1. My background
  2. The colors of my labels
  3. The size of my display
  4. How my inbox is set up
  5. Other settings, including my theme

Personalization:

  • Uses your implicit interests tailor content to you
  • Is usually gleaned from what you click on, or buy
  • Is usually classified as content

Example: I shop a LOT on Amazon. Based on my purchases they show me other purchases that I may be interested in buying. They are using my preferences, purchases, and interests to curate hyper-targeted products for me to buy, which may make my experience on Amazon easier and faster.

amazon-personalization

From the picture above, you can see some of the products Amazon recommends based on my previous purchases.

They also allow me to further their personalization by:

  1. Allowing me to see why they’re recommending the product
  2. Furthering the opportunity for personalization by allowing me to click and tell them I don’t like this recommendation, or I already own this recommendation

See the difference?

Why This Is Important For Your Brand

Think about it. We try to customize or personalize most everything we do.

Our meals, the music we listen to, the way we dress …

[bctt tweet=”We, the consumer, are desperate for you to treat us like we’re special. “]

Your prospects are looking for someone to have a conversation with them, and since you can’t physically speak with each person hitting your site, you should use personalized content to ask questions, gain insights, and observe and record the behaviors of your audience or community.

Sometimes we confuse adding a personalized story of ours to a piece of content as a form of personalized storytelling, but that’s not what personalization is at all.

Understanding that customization and personalization are ALL about the consumer is important.

For those of you ready to take your marketing and sales to the next level, you’ll need to develop a way to measure clicks, responses, and behaviors so you can continue to adapt your content to those most ready to buy.

Yes, it takes an experienced and skilled hand to dive deep into the data, but everyone — no matter how small! — can start somewhere.

Customization and Personalization

How To Incorporate Customization And Personalization Into Your Business

While you may not be able to customize your website, like Gmail, for each user landing there, are there ways you can personalize the experience of your customers and prospects?

Here’s a short list of ways you can easily incorporate personalization into your content:

  • Using names in emails or content (rather than sir, friend, or Mr./Mrs.)
  • Using segments or tags from your CRM to send personalized data or content (we do this specifically for those peeps who sign up to have our blog posts delivered to their inbox each week)
  • Using previous purchases to offer highly specialized or targeted offers

Even if you don’t have a CRM or a way to utilize segments or tags, consider these three things:

  1. What data can you track? Examples: Email opens, email clicks, past purchases or purchase history, what pages are most viewed on your website, etc.. Using these things can help you determine places to personalize content.
  2. Moving from owned assets to rented, which content moves your audiences to “like” or share on social sites? What inspires your communities to not only engage (like or retweet) but interact (comment or share)? Where do they spend their time on your website?
  3. Use testing to see which elements are most attractive to your prospects. A/B test your landing pages, ads, newsletters, headlines, etc. to see how to better personalize your future content.

I realize this is pretty advanced, so I’d like to offer a free 30-minute consultation to anyone who wants to learn more.

No strings attached, no obligation. Just one business owner and marketer to another, trying to help you make it through this modern marketing maze.

Are you using personalization or customization to market to your prospects? I’d LOVE to hear about it! Please drop me a line in the comments section below.

 


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Brooke B. Sellas is the in-the-trenches Founder & CEO of @HelloBSquared, an award-winning social media, advertising, and customer care agency. She's also the Co-host of The Marketing Companion podcast with Mark Schaefer, where they discuss jaw-dropping marketing trends. Brooke's marketing mantra is “Think Conversation, Not Campaign” so be sure to give her a shout!
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