How to use personalization to increase sales

6 min read
Raubi Marie Perilli

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

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

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 brand. The brand considers the customer’s habits, actions and interests and then, changes the branded 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. They may select to only see new women’s clothing and shoes on their homepage.

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.
  • Reminding a customer to make a purchase if they have abandoned their cart.

Why does personalization matter?

Personalization prevents audiences from seeing and receiving content that is irrelevant to them. Customers will only see messages they find useful, interesting or engaging, which is great for both shoppers and brands.

Personalization leads to more conversions and sales

Personalized messages get customers to act. Research from Hubspot showed that personalized calls to action (CTAs) can convert up to 202% better than default CTAs. Harvard Business Review reported that, “personalization can deliver five to eight times the return to investments on marketing spend and can lift sales by 10% or more.”

Customers like and expect personalization

Most customers like to receive personalized marketing messages. A Salesforce study found that, “59 percent of customers say tailored engagement based on past interactions is very important to winning their business.”

Personalization isn’t just a sales driver; it’s a customer experience enhancer. If you’re not providing personalized experiences, customers will look for brands 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 it’s used to improve their brand experience and it’s done in a transparent, ethical way.

Make sure you gather data for personalization in a way that complies with relevant data protection laws.

How to use personalization

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

You’ll need to collect 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 and lawful.

Prompt users to create accounts during their online checkout

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

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 engaging with your brand, buying new items, and joining your program.

However, you’ll need to give them the opportunity to opt out from having their data used for marketing purposes.

Segment your audience

Although you want to communicate with each customer as if 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.

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.

Choose how you want to personalize your content

Although 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 content by:

  • Target your audience with content specific to their location.
  • Purchasing behaviour. 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 the audience has bought from you. For example, present customer service messaging to existing customers instead “buy now” messaging.
  • Content engagement. Suggest new content and products based on the pages the audience has viewed on your website. For example, use a related articles widget to showcase content similar to the article the audience is reading.

Don’t personalize 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 go over the top

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 personalization to creep out your customers.

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 copy 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 ignore, 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.