New technologies are radically changing the way businesses interact with customers. As a result, customer expectations are constantly changing. Businesses should innovate and evolve in order to meet those expectations and build relationships that customers value.
To do this, businesses should rethink their approach to customer experiences and engagement.
84% of consumers consider the experiences provided by a company as important as the products and services offered. In fact, a memorable experience with one company has most customers expecting the same from other companies.
Providing exceptional customer experiences can help you stand out from the competition.
How can small businesses create an above average and memorable experience?
Automation and personalization can help marketers attract attention and create memorable experiences. It also allows consumers to advance on their buying journey at their own pace. Personalized experiences through various marketing platforms can increase engagement.
In the process, businesses can build loyal relationships with customers.
What is Marketing Automation?
According to Salesforce, marketing automation tools can help companies manage various marketing processes. They leverage technology to automate and manage complex marketing campaigns across many channels.
Most marketers use automation to handle repetitive tasks and coordinate activities throughout their sales and marketing teams. However, it is much more powerful than that.
Marketing automation gives your business the opportunity to target the right consumers with the right messages. You can target them across different channels, including social media, email, and text. You can also build different messaging variations of the same ad to engage different audiences.
Automation workflows send messages to customers after they perform specific tasks to streamline sales and marketing.
For example, you can pretty much automate the whole process of lead generation, lead scoring, lead nurturing, and measuring campaign ROI. It helps you identify audiences, create the right content, and trigger actions based on customer behavior.
Doing this reduces human error and gives employees time to handle high-priority tasks. This can help your company increase operational efficiency, promote customer loyalty, and generate revenue in the process.
What is Personalization in Marketing?
Personalization involves delivering individualized and highly relevant content to consumers. Marketers do this using data collection, analysis, and automated processes. This allows businesses to engage a target customer by communicating with them on an individual level.
You send the consumer relevant messages through the right channel at the right moment to trigger a highly intentional result. This involves using consumer information to deliver personalized experiences. Their behavior, interests, and demographics help you determine the right channel, time, place, and person.
Personalization helps you reach consumers with creative and interesting messages that are relevant to their needs. You understand each consumer and can develop exceptional experiences in a personal and meaningful way.
Personalization and Automation in Marketing
When customers have great experiences, they buy more and share their experiences with friends. As a result, brands get more purchases and increased revenue.
75% of businesses currently use automation tools, and 98% of them also agree that personalization advances customer relationships.
For personalization and automation to work, start by mapping out the customer journey. Defining this customer journey involves outlining steps in the buying process.
This allows you to figure out where and how to implement automation and personalization.
The steps of the buying journey include:
- Awareness: Consumers discover they have a problem and need help finding a solution.
- Consideration: The consumer is trying to pick a product or company that can solve the problem.
- Decision: The consumer converts into a customer either through subscribing or purchasing.
- Advocacy: The customer becomes a reviewer based on their experience with your product.
The customer journey gives you stages to consider when tailoring content to individual consumers. It helps you identify the consumer’s needs and provide a solution that relates to their challenge.
Pro tip: Using a heatmap software like Crazy Egg can help you understand what content resonates with your customers.
Personalization and automation allow you to meet the consumer’s desire for instant communication. But it will require you to adopt automation where it makes the most sense or where it leads to the biggest ROI.
Start by understanding where your resources and staff are having a hard time keeping up with the demand. It could also be where a data-driven approach will provide great experiences to consumers.
Identify the problem, then find solutions that fit your needs and those of the customer.
Some of the areas you can implement automation and personalization include:
- Personalized website content depending on the consumer’s location or buying behavior
- Automated emails based on consumer shopping and browsing behavior
- Automated social media responses through social media monitoring
There are many more areas to incorporate automation and personalization, but keep your main business goals in mind.
Automation and personalization can help optimize the customer experience you’re delivering and make your business processes more effective.
Optimizing the customer journey can help brands turn customers into loyal brand ambassadors.
However, marketers must balance their automation and personalization efforts. It’s possible to take personalization too far, where it becomes spammy or creepy. Balance your marketing efforts between offering customers great experiences and building trust. Provide them with only relevant information and in a concise manner.
Consumers find personalization tactics helpful, especially if they make their brand experiences better. They want brands to understand them better, but also know when to leave them alone. Brands must identify customer needs and execute personalization in a meaningful way.
According to a Privacy and Personalization report by SmarterHQ, 63% of consumers will stop buying from a brand after poor personalization. 68% will tell their family and friends, 41% will leave a bad review, and 33% will talk about it on social media.
Consumers find it creepy and frustrating when brands make incorrect assumptions about their interests and likes.
PwC found that customers define great experiences as convenience, speed, consistency, and friendliness. They also need a human touch. They want brands to use technology to make the experience feel more human.
The second something goes wrong; there should be a human to talk to the consumer. 59% of consumers in the PwC study feel that marketers have lost the human element of the customer experience.
Too much automation, and consumers feel that your brand is inauthentic and detached. The consumer will lose interest when they start receiving campaigns not tailored to their needs. Too much personalization also feels intrusive, creepy, and overwhelming.
To find a balance, remember that technology is there to ease and improve the customer experience. It’s not there to remove human interactions completely.
If you assign an issue to a bot that fails to understand the consumer, they may take their business to your competition.
Personalization also requires paying attention to your target customers. How does your recommendation make them feel? If you received the same message, would you feel isolated or helped?
Always put your customer needs first and logically approach automation and personalization.
Using Personalization and Automation for Business Growth
Today’s consumer appreciates and demands that marketers know who they are. They want businesses to understand their priorities and needs.
RedPoint Global found that 63% of consumers consider personalization a part of the services. 61% assume companies have relevant data on them. Another 53% expect brands to know their preferences and buying habits. They should also anticipate their needs.
Balancing automation and personalization allows you to meet customer needs and expectations. You can interact with customers on a personal level and offer exceptional experiences. It also increases conversions and leads to business growth.
The following are some ways you can use automation and personalization for business growth:
1: Provide Target Customers with Valuable Content
Create content that speaks to the consumer on each communication channel. Sending personalized content results in a higher ROI.
Segment your audience depending on their levels of engagement with your brand and then send targeted content. For example, send simple reminders of a big sale or a promotion that’s coming up. You can also send abandoned cart emails to get consumers to complete their order.
Use dynamic content to customize your emails, depending on subscriber data. For example, are they male or female? What is their location? What demographic information do you have about them?
Offering valuable content requires that you know what message type resonates best with your audience. Are your target customers into podcasts, blog articles, images, or videos?
Luckily, there are content automation tools you can use to drive people to seek out your content. These tools use consumer histories, behaviors, and industry to identify content that resonates with audiences.
Cortex, for instance, predicts how your target customers react to various aspects of content. What kind of images should your content have? What version of your content will resonate better with your target audience?
Cortex ensures you create content that inspires your target customer to act.
With automation and personalization, you can produce purposeful content. You will be able to meet customer needs while still delivering on your business’ monetary needs.
2: Enhance Customer Experience
Bad customer experiences drive consumers away. PwC found that 59% of U.S. consumers will walk away from a company they love if they’ve had several bad experiences.
Use automation and personalization to improve customer experiences. Become available to customers across channels and at each stage of the sales funnel. Automation allows you to monitor, listen, and improve interactions.
You gain access to social media posts, mentions, survey responses, and reviews in real time. You can then reach out to them immediately to provide a resolution. Customers can also actively engage with your brand.
Customizing experiences to customer needs makes them feel valued. Offer customers a seamless journey by using analytics and data to anticipate their needs. Then you can use those insights to make informed decisions.
This personalization then increased conversions and loyalty. A Genesys CX report found that customers value customized and personalized experiences. It encourages them to repeat business with the brand and recommend it to friends and family.
3: Increase Productivity
When used efficiently, automation tools can boost productivity. Then your sales and marketing teams will not have to spend time nurturing unqualified leads. They use email automation to segment customers so that only the sales-ready leads are passed on to the sales team.
The sales and marketing teams work together to define a sales-ready lead. They then set parameters based on customer activities using the automation tool. The parameters qualify a lead based on how closely they fit your ideal buyer profile.
Once qualified, the marketing team transfers them to the sales team to follow up. The sales team then nurtures them with targeted content and campaigns that drive conversions. Automation combines data and technology to engage and communicate with customers better.
The team controls all aspects of a marketing strategy with real-time data. The insights help them improve and change their strategies. The teams can also access information from all platforms in one location. It makes collaboration easy, boosts efficiency, and improves sales.
4: Cross-Sell and Up-Sell
Automation allows your business to collect information about:
- Pages a customer visited
- Items they considered
- Categories browsed
- Past purchases
Once the customer returns to your site, you can recommend products they may want to buy. Recommending products based on data collected makes the customer feel connected.
You can use predictive analytics to predict customer buying behavior based on purchases from similar customers.
For example, a pet store can recommend a litter box to a person who buys cat food, based on purchases by other cat owners. This predictive method allows you to up-sell or cross-sell while boosting personalization.
Do not take the recommendations too far, however. You don’t want your customers finding your marketing strategy creepy.
5: Track and Measure
Collect information whenever a customer buys something, downloads content, or interacts with your ad. Continuously collecting personal information ensures you offer consistent personalization.
As the customer information comes in, use it to build customer personas. The personas help you visualize your ideal customer and improve your marketing strategy.
Automation helps you analyze and recognize patterns in the data. Continuously testing your marketing efforts ensures you learn from the data collected. Marketing analytics maximize results by telling you what you need to improve.
Run tests on your content across all channels to find out which message type works better with which audience. Crazy Egg is a great tool to help you accomplish this.
Track engagement across channels to analyze performance. You can then provide a more personalized experience, engage customers more effectively, and grow your business.
Personalization will help you interact with customers better. Automation offers you insights that can help you improve your marketing strategies.
The two work together to help you understand customer needs and personalize their experiences.
However, you must remember that automation is only a tool that helps you market better. Your customers will still need a human touch. It offers you technical solutions while your team builds lasting relationships with clients.
By using personalization and automation, you can improve experiences leading to increased conversions. The strong relationships you build become the foundation of your company’s growth.
These strong relationships then lead to you getting additional purchases from good recommendations and reviews, which leads to your brand becoming trusted.
How have your personalization and automation efforts impacted your growth?