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Strategy

Winning At Real-Time Personalization

You'll be surprised how easy it can be to enhance trust and build better and more profitable relationships with your customers, with these quick 5 tips

Shane Barker
February 04 2019

Real-time personalized marketing focuses on customers’ behaviors, interests, and real-time needs, resulting in a 15-20% increase in total sales.

Maybe you’ve already begun implementing personalization to improve customer experiences, but if you’re not adhering to these basic guidelines, you might not be maximizing its potential. Let’s take a look at five best practices to win customers over with real-time personalization.

#1: Personalize Every Touch Point

Many companies have adopted some aspects of real-time personalization. Perhaps you’re providing real-time content recommendations based on the visitor’s reading history. Or maybe you’re giving visitors product recommendations personalized according to their interests.

If this describes your organization, it’s a good idea to consider taking it up a notch and extending your efforts to every touch point on every channel. The goal is to ensure that your customers can seamlessly access the information they need or continue with their purchases wherever they are and whichever channel they’re using.

Consider upgrades in how you collect customer data and ensure that you have accurate, up-to date information on your customer’s previous interactions with your business. Every department can leverage this information to personalize future interactions.

Salesforce’s Fourth Annual State of Marketing Report found that high-performing marketing leaders are 4.5 times more likely than underperformers to personalize the customer’s journey across all units and channels.

#2: Add Countdown Timers to Time-Sensitive Emails

Urgency is one of the most effective real-time persuasion techniques out there, often leading to quick sales and higher conversions. A countdown timer sparks excitement and helps email recipients track how much time they have to perform an action.

This type of time-sensitive dynamic email content compels shoppers to grab offers before they run out. It can also improve customer experience because it ensures your customers don’t miss out on your best offers.

One case study found that adding a countdown timer to Black Friday emails resulted in a conversion increase of 400%. For their Black Friday sale, The Diamond Store sent out emails with a live countdown timer and saw their click-to-open rate increase 171%.

#3: Send Out Push Notifications Based on Location

Take push notifications a step further by basing messages on physical location. Notify customers about their remaining store credits or provide them with personalized offers when they’re close to your store location.

You could send out push notifications asking about the experience of people who have visited your store or attended your event. Send out deals and offers to upcoming events at a city your customers are visiting. Or, while your customers are actually in-store, send the most relevant and irresistible deals available.

Priceline.com increased their average open rate and average one-day conversion rate after discovering that a quarter of their same-day car rental bookings happened while the user was at an airport. By revolving their strategy around users’ real-time actions and locations, they knew which notifications would yield the best results.

#4: Use Predictive Learning to Make Relevant Content Recommendations

Your content plays an important role in your conversions. How well you present your solutions and expertise to potential customers largely determines the conversion rate. And with the right content recommendations, you can gradually guide site visitors through the customer journey.

Successful real-time personalization involves relevant content recommendations based on the visitor’s previous content consumption and site behavior. Use predictive analytics tools to automate the process of behavior tracking, then present the right content at the right time.

Panorama Necto used this tactic to gain a better understanding of individual customer journeys, generating valuable leads. They analyzed how their blog posts played a role in achieving business goals and the impact of each post on various goals.

They then matched different posts to specific visitors during ideal timeslots.

Reading a few posts about the basics of centralized business intelligence would result in a recommendation about how certain companies have benefited from centralized BI, for example.

They then placed these content recommendations at the end of each blog post, which achieved a 9% click-through rate. Overall, leads generated through content increased by an impressive 37%.

#5: Maintain Transparency to Win Customers’ Trust

While the above best practices help improve customer experiences and drive more sales, nothing’s more important than winning customers’ trust. Personalizing your content and recommendations may be a great method of guiding customers through the purchase journey, but too much hyper-targeting can cause customers to grow suspicious of just how much information you have on them.

One study reported that consumers expect overt personalization where companies are transparent about how they acquire and use their data. When relying on real-time personalization, maintain transparency. Give visitors the option to make a few choices before you provide them with a recommendation. Or make recommendations based on past purchases.

You could even take a cue from Evergage, which gives content recommendations based on visitors’ actions with a widget that says “Personalized for You.” Readers can hover their cursor over the widget to see how Evergage chose that topic for them.

Conclusion

As data-based personalization technology continues to mature, companies owe it to themselves to take advantage of new opportunities for better engagement with new and existing customers. Care can and should be taken to strike a proper balance between anticipating your customers’ interests and needs, and maintaining transparency as a data-utilizing company – enhancing trust and building better and more profitable relationships.

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Shane Barker

Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant for 15 years with an emphasis on Influencer Marketing in the last 5 years. He is specialized in sales funnels, targeted traffic and website conversions. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, Influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.

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