Dale Carnegie, an American writer and the developer of famous courses in self-improvement, salesmanship and interpersonal skills, is known for saying, “You can make more friends in one month by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”
These wise words were written in his 1936 classic How to Win Friends and Influence People, and yet his teachings are still as useful as ever today.
Carnegie’s timeless advice relates to all types of relationships — including the relationship between a brand and a customer. His core message? Become genuinely interested in people, and personalize each interaction around their interests.
Personalization has changed from novelty to necessity for marketers, and the difference between good and great lies in the details. During the customer journey, every touch of personalization you create for your clients shows them that you are paying attention to these details. By targeting your marketing efforts toward the individual needs and intent of each buyer, you increase the likelihood and size of both immediate and follow-up sales.
We reached out to various business owners and industry experts on how to personalize the customer journey:
1. Use their name.
“If you are utilizing an email marketing campaign to reconnect with your existing customers, an effective and simple tactic is to include the recipient’s name in the subject line or in the opening few words of the email body. Furthermore, if you are offering a discount or specific product in this campaign, try and make the discount code personal to each customer and include copy like ‘just for you’ or ‘as a thank you.’” – Arron, Digital Marketing Executive, High Speed Training
2. Connect with influencers to meet your audience in natural, organic ways.
“Influencers share their thoughts on new products with their audience directly. Partner with those influencers to get into their fans’ awareness and buying cycles.
To do so, identify the leaders who influence your target audience. Decide which stage in the customer journey you want to tackle — awareness, consideration stage, or purchase decision stage. Then, connect with the influencer and offer them to feature your brand or product in the most organic and native way. Give them the creative freedom to create relevant content that will best represent your campaign.
To get the best results, build an ambassadors program and be in touch with your team of influencers constantly. This will ensure that you’re always on their mind, and on their fans’ minds as well.” – Yuval Maoz, Digital Marketer, Klear
“Social media is one of the most used tools amongst consumers for discovering new products and experiences. Consumers also engage most with word of mouth advertising and peer recommendations from trusted social media influencers that they respect and look up to, so integrating influencer marketing into your marketing strategy is essential. The key is to partner with an influencer who best represents your brand and speaks to your target audience rather than only focusing on the influencer with the largest reach. This keeps marketing personal and organic. When an influencer partners with a brand that seamlessly fits into their lifestyle, consumers value that as a trusted recommendation and are significantly more inclined to act.” – Chloe Mitchell, Director of Influencer Relations, The Social Select
3. Track where they came from and tailor your message accordingly.
“The way brands are doing this is through specified content creation based on a user’s previous browsing actions or the way the user came to the website, providing a browsing experience that renders to a user’s device (responsive design), and through tactical and relevant email marketing campaigns that speak to a user’s direct tastes and needs.” – Patrick Delehanty, Digital Marketing Specialist, Marcel Digital
“Not all website visitors will buy the first time they visit your site. However, these visits don’t have to be lost opportunities. Tracking website visitors and segmenting them by what products they are viewing and for how long (or short) they stay on specific pages will help marketers retarget them with offers that are relevant even when they aren’t on your site. By keeping your brand top of mind, you will be able to bring ‘window shoppers’ back to your site when they’re ready to buy.” – Andrea Mocherman, Marketing & Communications Manager, FlowRoute
“One trick for personalizing customer journeys is by including GET parameters in your referral links. When users visit your site and you identify that they’ve come from a particular source, you can customize the content and personalize the experience. Personalizing the customer’s experience through your site is essential. By walking the customer through your offerings and making them feel special, you can substantially boost your sales.” – Neel Somani, Founder, Apptic
4. Create personas then create sub-personas.
“Dig deep, then dig deeper. Personas are a great way of categorizing prospects, but often they are too shallow and fail to identify and flag sub-personas. Drill down as much as possible and make sure you’re identifying even small nuances between categories of individuals; it’s these nuances that can uncover and determine unique pain points and challenges, thus revealing opportunities for your business to provide personalized value to the prospect. Personas are fictionalized representations of your audiences that can help categorize and develop categories of individuals. Along with those identities, you should also assign actual faces — put a face to the actual group. This will help all members of your team — sales, marketing, customer service, etc. — visualize who it is they’re dealing with.” – Brittany Simpson, Digital Marketing Strategist, Site Strategics
5. Offer them useful, relevant content.
“In terms of B2B marketing, the best way to personalize a customer journey is to offer them something that is unique to their business and that can help their business in some way.
For example, offering a free online reputation snapshot that tells a business how visible they are online is completely unique to their business and the information is of great help to them. And if you can offer that for free, you’ll be swimming in leads.” – Rob Swystun, Business Communications Specialist, Rob Swystun Small Business Consulting
6. Communicate with your prospects in real-time.
“Live chats provide an opportunity to immensely personalize the customer experience by offering real-time interaction with an expert from your brand/company that can offer assistance and make suggestions” – Chris Sentz, Co-Founder, F13 Works
7. Create an emotional connection between the customer and the brand.
“In today’s marketing world, the way that brands can differentiate themselves from competitors is by creating an emotional connection between the customer and the brand. This means customization, self-expression and storytelling throughout marketing campaigns. The perfect marketing campaign activates consumers to become brand advocates, telling their story along with the brand’s story. It is important to foster authentic and ongoing relationships between brands and consumers, and that can be as simple as giving consumers a space for self-expression that is personal to them. That is where the brand relationship begins.” – Nicole Molkentin, Marketing and Content Creator, CatalystCreativ
8. Consider the offline experience.
“One of the most effective strategies we’ve found for personalizing the digital customer journey is to consider that of the offline experience. By rethinking these journeys as a holistic trip to conversion, rather than a digital-specific process, we can bring the traditional elements of marketing back into the mix, thus creating a more personalized experience.” – Amy Kilvington, Head of Marketing, Blinds Direct