Transforming your one-time buyers into lifetime customers
We continue with the content management, which we discussed in detail last week. Today, we will concentrate on another important aspect of content management – personalized content.
Personalized content means that you create content specific to the person reading it. In the old days, this technique was referred to as a mail merge, where you would print ‘Dear Lionel’ at the top of a letter written to Lionel. Nowadays, you can do that with email and web pages.
You can even put totally customized pages (known as personalized URLs or PURLs) together based on what you know about the reader. More targeted personalization in your marketing has a direct, positive impact on converting your leads into paying customers.
People listen when they feel someone is speaking directly to them. When you personalize content, you make people feel as though you care enough to make something just for them. It’s like hearing a story that was made just for you; you listen when you feel someone is speaking directly to you.
Personalizing content always brings up privacy considerations, as some people may not want you to know everything about their preferences and characteristics, so be sensitive to your market and how you’re personalizing the information you’re communicating.
When people engage with your personalized content, your customer relationship management (CRM) measures how they interact with you. Your salespeople then have access to information they need to have meaningful, direct conversations, stages toward the final conversion should be measured, if at all possible.
This way, you can set up automation around people advancing to the next stage and measure your success in driving people toward the conversion at the bottom of your sales funnel. We will discuss about setting up an automation process in a coming week.
Your CRM should give you the ability to track conversions, along with the paths people take to get there. You need to know where weak links are in your conversion process and why they occur and have ways to easily address your messaging and methods of improving conversion rates.
Decisions made entirely by instinct are inherently riskier. A good CRM provides you with a lot of information and the platform should help compile that data in a way that’s actionable. You must make it compulsory for your consultants and employees to show you the numbers that back up their recommendations. While experience is a good teacher, it can also lead you astray in a world of changing market forces and technologies.
Being data-driven is as much a mindset as it is part of an organisation’s culture. The more everyone relies on data to justify decisions, the more accountable and rational those decisions are. In the coming weeks, we will extract for more information about how to measure your CRM data.
Big data means that people have accessibility to more data now than a few years ago; oftentimes it’s unstructured, massive and hard to understand. You can accumulate all kinds of data if you want to – demographic data about your contacts, website clicks, email opens and clicks, social media and video, for example. But if you can’t make any sense of them and they are not actionable, they are useless.
Understanding what to do with all the data you gather is much more important than simply accumulating mountains of data you can’t use. Conversely, not enough data may lead you in the wrong direction, too.
Your CRM, because it collects data from all the channels you use for sales, marketing and operations, generates a lot of data. Make sure the platform you select makes it easy to sift through all that data, so you can be efficient in making strategic and tactical decisions about your business.
Your CRM gives you all the data you can handle through reports and charts. We will cover in later articles how to capture and track data and how the data has an impact on your business.
Customer segmentation is simply a way of arranging your customers into smaller groups according to type. These distinct sub-groups or segments should be characterised by particular attributes. Now you can target specific, relevant marketing messages at each group.
And it’s not just about what you say. How you communicate is also vital and customer segmentation often requires a carefully structured marketing mix. That’s because some customers may prefer the direct approach, such as telephone marketing, while others respond better to a local advertising campaign.
How to segment your customers
Customer segmentation doesn’t have to be complex. The philosophy is to always start with the simple question: who do we want to talk to? Segmentation principles can then add several layers of intelligence, based on key factors such as: spending patterns, gender, where they live, age, socio-economic group, etc.
What is important is not surface differences but those differences that actually affect buying behaviour.
If you run one hairdressing salon or a chain, for example, the type of offers you might make to customer groups would certainly differ on gender and age lines. If you sell products online, you might be better off analysing customer buying patterns and creating customer segments based on how much they spend, how often they buy or what products they are most interested in.
By increasing your understanding of what your customers are buying, you can also maximise opportunities for cross-selling or up-selling. For those who are not aware of, up-selling is the practice of encouraging customers to purchase a comparable higher-end product than the one in question, while cross-selling invites customers to buy related or complementary items.
Though often used interchangeably, both offer distinct benefits and can be effective in tandem. I’m reminded of a known builder’s merchant who sells some tons of bricks but doesn’t cross-sell by selling the sand and cement.
By grouping together all the customers who regularly buy certain products, you can target them with relevant offers encouraging them to increase their spending power. Not only is a relevant marketing message more effective as a sales tool, it is also about good customer service.
A piece of communication that acknowledges what you bought and when, is much more impactful than a one-size-fits-all message. What’s more, if you are a regular customer, a targeted message shows that you are appreciated and valued.
A buyer persona is a characterization of a particular market segment. If you’re targeting middle-aged housewives, you could create Kanthi, a 42-year-old mother of two teenagers and who lives in the suburbs driving a minivan. If you’re targeting tall people who might want to buy the pants you’re importing, you could create Vishva, a 25- year-old, single professional who plays basketball on the weekends.
This generalized, stereotypical person is meant to help put context around how customers would use your product or service. If you think about how Kanthi would react to your marketing message, it’s easier to put yourself in her shoes when you can picture an actual person responding to you.
Buyer personas are useful in helping you set up your market segments and personalize messages sent through your CRM.
Figure shows a simple template to set up a buyer persona. Your sales and marketing teams can think about how to divide their efforts and resources to sell to the personas you create. We will be covering later how to create buyer personas in your CRM.
(Lionel Wijesiri is a retired company director with over 30 years’ experience in senior business management.
Presently he is a freelance journalist and could be contacted at email@example.com)