Personalization: 7 best practices to inform your strategy

    Last updated: May 13, 2024

    Personalization can even deliver up to 8x return on investment, according to Deloitte research.  

    While there’s a lot of upside to personalization, success or failure really comes down to execution. Addressing someone by their first name isn’t enough to move the needle (and if they haven’t given you their first name, it’s even worse). You need a quick way to identify each individual customer’s needs, then translate those insights to compelling campaigns.

    You have to replicate that across thousands or millions of customers…. and you have to do it without creeping your audience out. Easy, right?

    Streamline your tech stack: Boost efficiency, unify data & retain talent! Get expert tips now:

    Personalization is more involved than just plugging a token into an email — but it’s worth the effort. With the right tech and strategy, you can personalize your marketing and resonate with your audience — without excess time or effort. Here’s how to do it:  

    How can I personalize my marketing?  

    Ten years ago, addressing someone by their first name in a subject line — or giving them a birthday discount — was enough to make them feel loved. Not so much these days. Marketing technology has gotten a lot more advanced since then, and expectations have increased in kind. Now, customers expect companies to proactively give them offers, content and communications that are suited to their individual needs — and to do so across all channels.  

    What does that look like? Below are some ways to personalize your marketing across channels:  

    1. Trigger-based emails: When someone interacts with your brand (downloads a whitepaper, registers for an event, signs up for your newsletter) in a specific way, they receive a specific email encouraging them to engage.  
    2. Dynamic content: Even within narrow marketing segments, there’s a lot of individual variation. Dynamic content serves different images and content to email recipients based on their individual interactions with your brand, allowing you to personalize at the individual level.  
    3. Content recommendations: These are on-page widgets that provide links to related articles based on someone’s past viewing and purchase history. (On Omeda, they can appear on the sidebar of the page or within the page’s HTML.)  
    4. Pop-up modals: These are on-page messages that serve sponsored ads or recommend subscriptions based on someone’s past viewing and purchase history. On Omeda, they can appear as exit-intent pop-ups, scroll trigger pop-ups or within the styling of the page itself.

    7 tips to personalize your marketing

    Start with clean customer data   

    Customer data is the lifeblood of personalization: The more accurate your customer data, the more precise and effective your targeting will be.  

    So if your customer data is scattered across 10+ marketing solutions, you won’t have a complete view of each customer — and your personalization won’t be as effective.   

    Before pouring too much time into personalization, ensure that all your audience data is being stored and managed in one place. Consider investing in a CDP, which collects first-party data from every marketing touchpoint, then cleans, standardizes and manages that data via automated workflows.  

    Omeda’s CDP collects first-party audience data from every marketing touchpoint — from emails and events to print, ads, website tracking and more — and collects it into one database. Then the data is standardized and cleared of duplicates according to automated workflows. This ensures that each of your customer profiles contain that person’s full engagement history with your brand. And with one glance, you can see exactly what’ll resonate with each one.   

    Don’t collect data you don’t expect to use  

    Let’s state the obvious first: Don’t collect audience data — or use it for personalization — without your audience’s consent. (Note: With Omeda, you can segment your audience based on consent so you don’t accidentally personalize messaging to someone who’s opted out of data collection.) 

    And with cybercrime hitting an all-time high, we recommend collecting only the amount of data you need to execute your campaign. While it’s tempting to ask for as much information as possible, and hold onto it until you need it, this makes you more vulnerable to data breaches and legal action down the road. Because if the data you’re collecting contains personally identifiable information, you could face serious fines and lawsuits if they end up getting leaked.   

    Upsell and cross-promote based on audience data  

    Besides maximizing your revenue potential, upselling and cross-promoting also introduces your customers to new products/content they’re already likely to enjoy. So as long as your audience data is accurate, and your messaging isn’t too pushy, everybody wins.  

    Try these upsells and cross-promotions on for size:   

    • Cross-promote and upsell based on someone’s past purchase history and content downloads.  
    • Or you could create a loyalty program / tier and target it to your most valuable customers.  
    • Use someone’s website browsing activity to identify their interests, then promote related newsletters, content and/or publications to them. (Note: Omeda’s CDP includes a website tracking solution for this exact reason.) 

    Personalize your outreach early 

    Personalization doesn’t just grab your audience’s attention. Customizing your messaging early in the customer journey signals that you’re tuned in to their particular needs and interests. And if your audience knows that your future offers/communications are going to be relevant for them, they’re more likely to give it another look.  

    Integrate personalization across platforms   

    We live in an onmi-channel world — and with that comes omni-channel customer journeys. Customers switch seamlessly between platforms and they expect to hear the same, integrated message from your company regardless of where they’re finding it.   

    So in addition to personalizing your emails, consider using on-page content recommendations, pop-up modals and cross-promotions to tailor your website content to each visitor’s preferences. (On Omeda, you can create different personalizations based on someone’s previous purchase and/or content viewing history, as well as demographic information, so you can really optimize this experience.)   

    Also create omni-channel marketing automation campaigns rather than one-platform drip campaigns, so that you can target email recipients on Google Ads, display ads, etc., as well. 

    Get the details right  

    When was the last time someone you know addressed you by your full name? Never? We thought so.  

    Before sending a personalized email, make sure that your personalization tokens are pulling in the right customer information and the message sounds human. For instance, make sure that you’re addressing the customer by their first name only, not first and last. And if you’re referring to someone’s company name, make sure you remove any business identifiers and suffixes from the message (I.e., Google v. Google LLC). 

    Those little details go a long way toward making your communications more personal and natural — which really is the endgame of your personalization efforts.  

    Monitor your performance over time  

    Personalization earns your audience’s trust when done well, but if it comes off as creepy or cheap, it can turn them off for good. So if you’re experimenting with new personalization tactics, stay on top of your metrics to identify any negative trends and reverse course if necessary.   

    On Omeda, you can track impressions, clicks and link performance for each personalization message or content recommendation that appears on your website.  Impression and click numbers are also split by known and anonymous visitors, so you can see how effective your personalizations are with repeat and new website visitors, respectively. 

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