According to Forbes, 2020 is going to be the year of personalized marketing. The current opinion is that we are all so bombarded with advertising and emails that we now tune out anything that isn’t specifically relevant to us. When Ad Age asked executives the one thing anyone could do to impact their marketing in the future, a full third of them answered “personalization.” And Conversant Media noted 94% of customer insights and marketing professionals they surveyed listed personalization as either “important,” “very important,” or “extremely important” for meeting their current marketing objectives.
Back in the 1990’s when the internet and data tracking was young, there was a public outcry concerning privacy and personalization. Individuals were nervous about the newly formed “cookie” technology and didn’t like being tracked online and were suspicious about loyalty cards being scanned at checkout in stores. But now, we take it for granted that when you leave something in a cart you’re going to see an ad for it the next time you log in to Facebook, and we don’t feel creeped out when we buy kitty litter at the grocery store and we get a coupon for cat food along with our receipt.
Personalization is everywhere and we’re used to it and we like it – which makes the blanket, non-personalized communications all the more blatantly lazy and unappealing. According to an online Epsilon survey of 1,000 consumers ages 18-64, the appeal for personalization is high, with 80% of respondents indicating they are more likely to do business with a company if it offers personalized experiences, and 90% indicating that they find personalization appealing.
And, personalization does work. In multiple studies, personalized ads and emails are perceived as more engaging, educational, time-saving, and memorable than mass advertising or emails. Experian reports personalized emails deliver 6x higher transaction rates. And, with new affordable tools, there really isn’t an excuse for mass marketing anymore.
What this means is that we can no longer rely on mass, generic email blasts to our customers and expect the returns we did in the past. Our buyers are now empowered, and their expectations are high in the messaging and advertising they receive. In the Age of the Customer, we need to be smarter about how we communicate.
The good thing is, this doesn’t require us to restructure our entire marketing plan. Here are three simple things we can do today to improve the way we interact with our customers on a more personal level:
EMAIL LIST SEGMENTATION
List segmentation is the quickest way to personalize messages to customers. It can be as simple as creating an email for recent visitors to your tasting room or website purchasers. Sending these customers, a thank you email 30-days after their visit or purchase is a great way to personalize and engage with a follow-up offer. You can add a deeper level of personalization if your email provider gives you the ability to insert the customer’s first name in the body copy.
Additionally, each email can be more personal by modifying the subject line with the purchase location, “Thank you for visiting our tasting room,” or “Thank you or your online purchase.” Although this may require two email sends, it refines the touchpoint and serves as a reminder of the customer experience.
Start Crawling: Set up some automatic emails like “abandon cart” and “thank you for visiting."
Learn to walk: Take your email list segmentation beyond Wine Club and Non-Club into purchase history. To do this, divide your list into first-time buyers, repeat buyers, and non-buyers/prospects. Then, for every campaign, tailor the message for each. For first-time purchasers give them easy second purchase options similar to their first, for repeat buyers offer them volume or shipping discounts, and for prospects, tell them a little more about yourself and offer a trial package.
Learn to run: Combine the two. First, set up ongoing automated campaigns (called “drip” campaigns) that remind people they’ve left items in their cart, or that they haven’t logged in to rate or buy a product, or to thank them for an order. Then, take a look at your campaigns in 2020 and brainstorm how you can segment them by purchase or other behavior.
CUSTOMIZED LANDING PAGES
Sending personalized communications to customers that include a call to action should take them to a page on your website that corresponds to the offer in your email. Keeping the customer journey with our brands consistent is a key component in lowering attrition and increasing sales.
This requires creating a page template within your website that can be easily duplicated and modified by changing the title, image, or copy to match your outbound communication. This enforces the personalized offer and brand consistency with your customers, while providing a clear path to purchase.
Brand consistency is the pattern of expression that affects what people think about your company. The more consistent your messaging, the more consistent your branding — whether via words, design, offerings, or perspective. Your brand should build awareness and develop trust and loyalty with customers.
Start Crawling: For those emails discussing several wines, rather than dumping the clicks at the top of the store page, set up a customized landing page and only include the wines in the email with a header and the offer.
Learn to walk: For your social campaigns, try a separate landing page with introductory copy about your winery and why they should sign up for your mailing list or like/follow your winery.
Learn to run: In addition to emails and social media, consider custom landing pages for most initiatives such as pouring events, coupon redemption, Google Ads, and print.
GET TO KNOW YOUR LOYAL CUSTOMERS
A loyal customer is one that makes repeat purchases rather than switching to a competitor. A loyal customer will be more likely to purchase additional products and recommend your brand.
Without digging too deeply into your data, a few key metrics can help identify your most loyal customers. High average order value, buying frequency, and last purchase date is what you will need to start. These metrics can all be found in the customer purchase history of your database. When vetting your data, don’t assume that your best customers are also wine club members. However, if they are not, you may have a missed opportunity.
After identifying your most loyal customers be sure to nurture the relationship, they are your best buyers for a reason. Knowing what they purchase, how often they purchase, and how much they spend per order will help guide you on when to reach out and with what offers.
The communication and touches to these customers should be as a personal friend and offers should be presented as gifts. Offering a specially selected “pre-sale” wine or early event access will build continued loyalty.
Start Crawling: A handwritten note of thanks for attending an event or a customer referral is an easy way to start and goes a long way to keep your best customers.
Learn to walk: Identify your top customers and find them on social media. Set up alerts for their posts and like and comment on them as your brand. They’ll be thrilled you care enough about their lives to get to know them.
Learn to run: Look at your campaigns and give first dibs to your best buyers. Either offer them a pre-order capability or maybe access to the pick-up part a half hour in advance. Realize that discounts aren’t always what they’re after – they want a relationship and time with you.
The true end result will look like taking your linear annual campaign calendar and splintering it into multiple, smaller, targeted communications that run simultaneously. It takes more work, but it’s worth it.
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