Personalization is considered table stakes for marketers who want to engage loyal consumers. But personalization means more than the tone and content of a message customers receive; it refers to the complete package, including what channel they are receiving these messages on, when, how often, etc.
Many elements go into creating personalized experiences that marketers may be overlooking. My company has conducted significant research around Americans' expectations and preferences for brand engagement over the past year—specifically on how and when they want brands to message them and the ways they use social media apps to interact.
What we've found is that personalization starts before a brand even begins drafting the content to be sent. For example, 87% of respondents say they now use social media apps to message with brands and it's driving their purchasing decisions. Accordingly, marketers should prioritize deploying an omnichannel messaging approach that includes channels such as chat apps and social media rather than the email blasts they may have relied on in the past. Personalized messages won't matter if no one ever reads them.
Here are three steps modern brand marketers can take to enhance personalization in their customer engagement campaigns.
1. Figure out where to send your messages
One of the first steps to making sure that the overall experience delivered by a brand is personalized is to determine which channel(s) your customers are most engaged on and prioritize those channels.
More customers are using social media as a way to get help and answers from brands over other communications channels: Most (77%) say they've used social media to contact a brand's customer support, and 79% report a positive experience doing so. In fact, more than half (58%) of consumers say they prefer that brands use social media to communicate versus other methods, such as email, call, or text.
Why do customers overwhelmingly enjoy connecting with brands on social media? They enjoy that social media messaging is convenient (72%), fast (61%), and personalized (50%).
Considering such data is critical when determining which channels are part of your omnichannel strategy and which to prioritize. Knowing where to send messages to consumers is one of the most important, if not the most important, step in personalizing an experience that will drive loyalty.
2. Consider when and how often recipients want to receive messages
Once you understand the channels and topics your customers are most interested in, determine when messages should be sent and how often you should be following up based on the personalized experiences recipients want.
This is especially important considering that when asked what might cause them to opt out of texts from a brand, Americans indicated that the top reason was receiving messages too frequently (72%).
Although customers appear frustrated at the volume of messages, they are also picky about timing. Some 42% say they do not want brands sending nonessential texts on weekend mornings. More specifically, the biggest no-no for those age 55+ is weekend evenings, which 52% agreed isn't appropriate for brand messages. The most universally preferred time is weekday afternoons, which 30% of all respondents agreed to.
Marketers must walk the line between being helpful and being aggressive in their messaging campaigns. Avoiding too many messages and refraining from sending them on weekends are two simple ways to drive brand loyalty and increase personalization of campaigns.
3. Last, choose what tone and language is most appropriate
So, once you know the preferred channels and times when customers want messages from brands, the next step is to determine the language and tone that best suits your customers.
We recently asked Americans about this and found that, overall, most (55%) say they prefer a low-pressure approach when brands text them, and 63% of those age 55+ agree.
What does a "low-pressure" approach look like? Fully 42% of Americans say they are OK with brands' using slang, though Millennials are more receptive (48%) than those age 55+, only 29% of whom are OK with slang in brand texts.
Furthermore, depending on industry, certain behaviors from brands are expected more than others. For example, only 15% of Americans say they believe humor is appropriate from healthcare businesses, but that number shoots up to 43% for entertainment brands. However, although 44% of Americans say they welcome trendy behavior from entertainment brands' texts, that number drops to 19% for healthcare and financial services.
Take a step back and assess when, where, and how you are sending messages, and whether you are following the rules of the psychology of messaging.
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Following the three steps in this article can help ensure that marketers are engaging with and earning loyal customers with effective personalization tactics and strategies.
Sending messages consistently to the proper channels in appropriate situations, at the right time and with an acceptable tone, will complete the customer experience package in a way your customers will appreciate and competitors will try to imitate.
More Resources on Personalizing the Customer Experience
You may like these other MarketingProfs articles related to Customer Experience:
- Why VoC and CX Can't Be One Size Fits All
- 10 Ways to Improve Customer Experience [Infographic]
- How B2B Marketers Can Leverage Voice of Customer for Business Growth: Nate Brown on Marketing Smarts [Podcast]
- The Top Challenges to Providing an Exceptional B2B Customer Experience
- Balancing Consumer Trust with Privacy-Safe Targeting: Three Tactics
- How to Spark Customer Delight in Unexpected Places