Made for You – Customizing Your Content

26 Jul

Give the people what they want

Much of traditional marketing has relied on mass broadcast media, where there was a wide variety of people who would be seeing your message. Necessarily, that message needed to be somewhat generic, where you would explain the features and benefits and then those who were interested would respond.

Internet marketing, and in particular, email marketing has made a whole new level of sophistication and targeting possible. The idea is to build a relationship with the prospect and with the customer so that they like and trust you. But how do you build a relationship with someone online that you have never met before?

The key is data, and using the data you have to customize a message that is relevant to the person receiving it. In the beginning of the relationship, say, when a person opts into your list for the first time, you really don’t know their specific interests. If you have more interactions with them, they may tell you what they are interested in by their behavior, for example, by clicking on a link to a particular offer or product. Then you can send them communications that focus on what they have already shown an interest in as well as complementary and similar products. You can streamline this process using an online email/CRM service like  Infusionsoft. They allow you to set up a series of emails to customers or prospects who fill out a certain form, for example. Then, you keep that information in the person’s record so that you can send them other information relating to the interest he or she has expressed.

Another route is to ask your audience directly once in a while. You can send out an email to your newsletter subscribers along the following lines: We are working to improve our newsletter. Can you help us out by letting us know what subjects you would like to hear more about? Give them a choice of 4 or 5 topics. Capture each person’s response and keep it in your database record. Then create different newsletters focused on those topics to the customers who chose them. Promotions and specials should also be relevant to their expressed interests, which will result in more clicks and more conversions. For example, if you have a travel agency, and someone has responded that she is interested in travel to the Caribbean, you can send her promotional fares to Jamaica and articles about new Caribbean resorts and attractions. There is a much greater likelihood that she will click on one of your offers since you are giving her exactly what she is interested in seeing.

Aside from customized content, there is another important concept to remember when building a relationship with a prospect or customer. Nobody wants to be treated like a “mark,” someone that a company is just trying to extract money from. Prospects and customers want to feel that they are receiving value. The value does not only relate to the quality of the product or service offered, but with the entire experience. In fact, much of the value that a company offers is given before a sale is even made.

One of the best ways to create a solid relationship with a prospect is by giving them valuable educational information relating to your product or service. For example, if you have a business software company, you could send emails to prospects with short articles about how to increase efficiencies in their office. A landscaping company can let prospects know what plants are in season and should be planted now. As a rule of thumb, communications with prospects should be at least 3:1, valuable information vs. sales promotions. If you keep to this ratio, customers will be much more likely to open your emails, read them and respond to your offers because they trust that you want to help them.

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