As a seasoned marketer, you’re well-aware of the need to ‘reach the right audiences at the right time with the right message.’ You’ve heard this expression over and over — so we won’t belabor the point.
You already know why you need to do it. The problem is that you’re part of a small team and that there are only 24 hours in a day. Presumably (read: hopefully), you spend some of that time sleeping and having fun.
You need an arsenal of high-impact tactics — stuff that’s creative, easy to implement, and pilot-tested by others in your field. That’s where this blog post comes in — to give you some quick, ready-to-execute ideas.
Tip #1: Add High-Impact, Human Touch with Great Design
You probably wouldn’t think of graphic design as ‘personalization’ — but it is. Your brand’s look and feel communicates volumes more than words: your personality, values, and story. There are volumes upon volumes of stats explaining why you should include visuals with your marketing. The rationale, however, comes down to one simple concept:
Our brains like visuals.
According to one stat from 3M Corporation and Zabisco, 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual — and visuals are transmitted to the brain 60,000X faster than text.
The problem with design, however, is that it’s expensive and time-consuming. You really can’t take shortcuts, and time-strapped marketers often need to react quickly. As much as we love great design, it isn’t always practical.
But times have changed, and one startup is leading the shoestring-yet-amazing design revolution. The company is called Canva, and their team has developed a platform to help non-designers create beautiful designs in minutes rather than hours.
Just pick a layout that you'd like to customize:
Edit it with your personal touch, and one minute later, you're done.
Tip #2: Ask Customers What They Want
Oftentimes, marketers find themselves wondering what to create — what whitepapers to produce and what types of ad units to run. They’ll immediately cast their net wide and start testing to ‘see what sticks,’ but here’s the problem:
They're wasting time.
Yes, we want to get started as soon as possible. We know how important it is to execute, but it’s very easy to start running and quickly run out of steam (and money). To make an impact, you need to get to know your audience. Wondering how to position your product and messaging to your audience? Trying to figure out what to say in your ad campaign?
Ask your audience by reaching out to them the old fashioned way — 1:1, on the phone.
Here is an email template that you can easily replicate for any product or service, based on an example from an in-person class taught in San Francisco:
Tip #3: Listen to Customer Service Calls
Once upon a time, companies perceived customer service as a money sink. Today? Not so much. This business function is mission-critical for generating repeat revenue and more importantly, learning about your customers’ pain points.
Given that you’re building your company for your customers, your business should take the time learn what customer support is learning. All organizational levels — and teams — can benefit from time listening (read: lurking) on the phone.
Event management platform Eventbrite is an example company that champions this concept. The company’s customer success team has built a ‘show and tell’ process called ‘Voice of the Customer’ that illuminates ‘pain points in action.’
Any and all team members have the option to sit in on customer support calls. They can even take the calls themselves.
All it takes is a 10-minute conversation.
You can read about Eventbrite’s process and methodology here.
Tip #4: Use Tools, Not Spreadsheets
This step isn’t exactly ‘dead easy.’ There’s leg work involved with testing and implementing systems — a lot of legwork. You’ll want tools that help you learn about your audience on a 1:1 level and remember those learnings to adapt your marketing message.
There are tools, however, to make the process of finding tools easier. What you need to start is a precise and focused view of your company’s pain points. What is the length of a typical sales cycle? What path do your prospects take in becoming customers? The process of finding the right solutions starts with knowing what you need, and there are some resources to help you out.
The first is Clarity Answers. Clarity is a marketplace that connects advice seekers -- typically entrepreneurs -- with subject matter experts. This platform lets you ask a question for free. Clarity’s algorithm will then notify experts with your question. The benefit is that you’ll get an answer that’s tailored to you.
If you’re not sure what question to ask — and are in the mood to simply explore — check out question and answer engine Quora. The website is extremely friendly to lurkers and people who would prefer to ask an open ended question.
If you’re reading these tips thinking “this is all common sense” — you’re totally right. It is common sense.
As marketers, we’re often immersed in a flood of opportunities and tools. Sometimes, the highest impact decisions are right in front of us as simple, timeless truths. Personalization is often sophisticated, but it need not be complicated.