Before you answer that, stop, because it’s a trick question. Ask yourself what’s wrong with this question? First off, it should be customers, as in plural. You don’t have a single customer, and if you do, contact me for help so we can work on your customer acquisition strategy ASAP! But I digress. So if you have multiple customers, then surely you can’t answer that question, because it implies different, and different means – different needs, wants, personalities, preferences, requests, and so forth. There is no one-size-fits-all approach. And one of the biggest mistakes a company can make is treating its customers as a conglomerate or collective instead of as an individual. Now, as you grow, surely you won’t be able to reach out to every individual customer. But with smart personalization, buyer personas, big data, and today’s technology you can certainly make it appear that way to your customers.
The beauty is in the details. And you obtain those details from this beautiful concept called cookies. When a user has cookies enabled on their browser, with just a bit of code, you can track, measure and analyze their behavior using tools like Google Analytics and other 3rd party CRM applications. These tools can gather an immense amount of data, hence the term “big data”. These tools can tell you for instance, how the customer initially found your website and how they most recently found your website, which can allow you to develop a robust attribution model for your business. Attribution models can be very useful in determining how much of your marketing budget to allocate towards each referral/acquisition channel. To read more about attribution modeling check out this article on Medium or this one on Optimize Smart.
But what I really want to highlight in today’s post is how you can use big data to better understand your customers and provide more personalized suggestions that would interest them. How many times have you received emails that are in no way relevant to your preferences or past purchases? This is a big no-no that brands often make, simply because they don’t
- A) take time to update their mailing list
- B) segment their mailing list
- C) optimize customer profiles
- D) hire or consult with an email marketing specialist to implement or teach them best practices.
For instance, at veterinary hospitals when an animal is laid to rest, they’ll update their database immediately to ensure that a ‘condolences’ email is sent a few days later but also to ensure they no longer send the owner any specials, deals, and promotions related to their deceased pet. Okay, maybe this scenario was a little grim, but it’s a common example (one I’ve personally endured) and a good example to follow. PetSmart, on the other hand, still sends me emails every so often. Perhaps they need a more thorough protocol on keeping their database current. As a suggestion, they could send emails every 180 or 365 days asking their customers to verify their profile information is accurate for them and their furbabies.
Some common segments related directly to user behavior are:
- Visitors, 180 days
- Visitors, 90 days add to cart, no purchase
- Visitors, 30 days add to cart, no purchase
- Subscribers, with purchase
- Subscribers, no purchase
The above examples are quite broad but you can get as granular as needed, for example:
- Users that visited specific page URLs
- Specific products (typically this can be done using product ID or SKU)
- Product categories: i.e. targeting specific subscribers that visited ‘jeans’ category at least 3 times, no purchase
- Product tags: if you’re optimizing your product pages, every product should have tags which can help with internal search queries
- Past purchases: for instance targeting all users that previously purchased a particular product
- Buyer personas: they are essentially fictional character profiles that represent a specific user type
- For example Elizabeth Taylor, The Traditionalist, Mompreneur. These are some style profiles I’ve created in the past for a client. Each segment consisted of users that visited certain product pages that fit within the style aesthetic of each of these profiles.
- Learn more about different buyer personas here.
And lastly, don’t forget to always mention subscribers by a first name basis for a touch of personalization. Adding “You” in the subject line is always a good idea. As in, “You’ll want to see this” or “We thought you might like these” and “Just for You”.
By creating audience segments, buyer personas, and adding personalization to your email marketing efforts, not only will you provide more relevancy to your subscribers but they will feel like you’re a brand that actually understands and pays attention to their needs, wants, and preferences. But don’t just take my word for it, take a look at some stats on the power of email personalization.