How to use personalization to increase sales

7 min read
Raubi Marie Perilli

This article was first published on 24 September 2018, updated on 16 April 2021 and adapted for the GoDaddy Canada blog on 2 July 2021.

Learning how to use personalization in your marketing can be the difference between you creating ineffective messages that fly right past your target audience or you building high-performing sales campaigns your ideal prospects couldn’t ignore if they wanted to.

Personalization leads to more conversions which leads to more sales.

The rest of this post will look at how to use personalization to make your sales messages more targeted, effective and powerful.

Related: Email design 101 — how to build a beautiful email

What is personalization?

Before we look at how to use personalization, let’s clarify what personalization is. Many marketers and brands confuse the concepts of personalization with customization.

Customization is done by the customer. The customer actively makes choices that change their branded experience.

Personalization is done by the business. In this case, you consider your customer’s habits, actions and interests and then, change the customer experience based on those factors. The customer is passive and does not suggest the changes. The brand does it for them.

Examples of personalization

When you’re considering how to use personalization, think of a customer using an eCommerce website. The customer may use customization to set their preferences for the items they like to buy in the online store.

The customer may select to only see new women’s clothing and shoes on their home page.

Personalization, on the other hand, would be the eCommerce site adjusting the customer’s brand experience based on their activity.

The eCommerce brand could personalize the customer’s experience by:

  • Greeting the customer by name in an email or on the home page of the website.
  • Showing a list of suggested items once a customer makes a purchase or adds an item to their online shopping cart.
  • Sending an email to the customer with a list of items they may be interested in based on their past shopping history.
  • Using email marketing to alert a customer when there is a deal or special on items that are related to their past purchases.
  • Sending an email to a customer to show clothing items that match the weather in their city
  • Providing a discount code to a customer who has abandoned their cart before checking out.

Why does personalization matter?

Young coffeehouse worker smiling at counter

Learning how to use personalization is key because it prevents audiences from seeing and receiving content that is irrelevant to them. It makes it so customers only see messages they will find useful, interesting or engaging — which is great for both shoppers and businesses.

Personalization leads to more conversions and sales

Personalized messages get customers to act. Research from Hubspot showed that personalized call-to-actions (CTAs) can convert up to 200% better than generic CTAs.

Customers like and expect personalization

Most customers like to receive personalized marketing messages.

59% of customers say tailored messaging based on past interactions is very important to winning their business.

Personalization isn’t just a sales driver; it’s a customer experience enhancer. No one wants to wade through an email that’s not relevant to them.

If you’re not providing personalized experiences, customers will look for businesses that are.

Customers are willing to share their data in exchange for personalization

In the past few years, concerns over data privacy have grown, and customers have become more aware of how their data is shared and used.

But even amidst growing awareness of data use, a Formation study found that, “81% of consumers are willing to share basic personal information in exchange for a more personalized experience.” Customers are often okay with sharing their data, as long as it's used to improve their experience and it’s done in a transparent, ethical way.

Personalization in marketing can benefit both a business and its customers, so if you aren’t figuring out how to use personalization in your sales messages, it’s time to start.

How to use personalization

As you start to learn how to use personalization, keep the following tips in mind.

Always be collecting data

To use personalization, you must have data that allows you to match who your audience is and what they need and want. So, collect customer data whenever possible.

Related: Looking for a customer relationship management tool? Read this

Prompt users to create accounts during their online check-out

This process not only helps customers track their purchases, it also allows you to create data profiles for shoppers.

Ask customers for email addresses or phone numbers during their in-store check-out

It’s not as easy to collect data from in-store shoppers, but you can easily create an account for your customers by using their email address or phone number each time they check out. You can use this info to create a customer profile and also have a method for reaching out to them with your personalized messages.

Encourage customers to sign up for rewards programs

Some customers don’t want to pass over their information or data without getting something in return. So give them what they want by creating a loyalty program that rewards them for:

  • Interacting with your business
  • Buying new items
  • Joining your program
Small white statues that resemble women shopping

Segment your audience … then segment them some more

While you want to communicate with each customer as though you are speaking directly to them, it can be difficult to craft personalized messages for each person. So instead, create segmented audiences that have certain characteristics or habits in common.

Don’t be afraid to go deep and wide in your segmentation.

Create a variety of customer segments so you can create campaigns based on small differences. For example, don’t just segment shoppers into those who bought shoes or shirts. Be more specific, and categorize them by those who bought sandal shoes and tank-top shirts. This will make it easier for you to send messages they will be interested in.

Choose how you want to personalize your content

While personalization can be as simple as using a reader's first name in an email, there are a variety of ways to customize content for your audience.

For example, you can personalize messages by:

  • Location. Target your audience with content specific to their city, state, or region. For example, send a newsletter with flight deals to Québec to people living in B.C., not to people already living in Québec.
  • Purchasing behavior. Share products, services, and information that is related to the purchase history of your customer. For example, send an email with a list of bike accessories when someone buys a new bicycle.
  • Customer position in the sales funnel. Change content based on whether or not the audience has bought from you. For example, present customer service messaging to existing customers instead of “buy now” messaging.
  • What they like. Suggest new content and products based on the pages the person has visited on your website. For example, use a related articles widget to showcase content similar to the page the person is reading.

Don’t personalize your email, SMS (text) and web content just because you heard you should. Think about what would help the customer and improve their experience. Then, design personalization strategies around those goals.

Don’t look like a stalker

As you learn how to use personalization to increase sales, keep something in mind. You want to use personalization to connect with your customers. But, you don’t want to use it to creep out your customers.

People are becoming more concerned about their personal data than ever before. So don’t abuse the power of the information you have.

Don’t use personalization campaigns that will leave customers feeling like you’re watching or stalking their every move or interaction. Be helpful and relevant without being overly watchful or intrusive.

Create better messages and more conversions with personalization

Learning how to use personalization can help you improve and uplift your marketing messages so your customers embrace, instead of ignoring, your campaigns and communication. This process can lead to happier, more engaged customers who convert at higher rates. So use the tips in this post to start personalizing your marketing emails and sales copy.