Individualization with less effort – integrate user data directly into messages
Published on 11 February 2020 | Author Sebastian Pieper0
Thinking about individualization, many marketers have the implemetation of a 360° customer view, the analysis of user-related data, and the personalized customization of selected offers on the basis of the analysis results in mind. This process is bound to an enormous effort that bind ressources and is just not (yet) realizeable in many companies. For that reason, companies should focus on a simple individualisation for the beginning. Through the integration of of user data into a message like scores or the user’s location (i.e. a newsletter), even after a short time good results can be achieved with only little effort.
The easiest way to individualize messages in digital dialogue marketing is to integrate user-related data into the message. This is not only limited to the user’s addressing which is – at least in email marketing – standard for a long time now. If Mr Smith is being addressed in the salutation of a newsletter but the rest of the message is obviously generic, this has nothing to do with individualization.
We have collected a few examples for the direct integration of user data into messages:
- Loyalty data: Many companies offer their customers loyalty programs. In most cases, customers can collect points, the number of which depends on the amount of sales made. Some loyalty programs (especially in the catering industry) are also simpler and count only the orders, for example. “Every tenth coffee is on the house!” If you use loyalty programs, you integrate the current score of a customer into your sent messages. Don’t just communicate the score, show the customer how many points they are still missing to achieve a certain status or to take advantage of a certain offer. “Only 120 points more until you reach our gold status” or “Only 43 points more until you’ll get your bonus!” Combine this information with the possibility of obtaining these points directly, e.g. through a call-to-action button that leads directly to the shop. If the points balance is already sufficient, the customer should also be able to redeem the points directly. Blur the line between transactional messages and promotional messages. Many sellers communicate the current points balance only in sober transactional messages. However, in their newsletters or campaigns, i.e. where they advertise their offers, the points scores are missing. Nevertheless, the scores can be the final trigger before a customer purchases a product. There are different possibilities to illustrate the scores or the loyalty progress respectively. From simple counters and status bars to emotionalising graphics such as smilies that become more and more cheerful as the score increases. Test what works best for your customers
- Location data: Do you have branch offices or other offline locations? Are you able to determine the location of your customers (e.g. via an app)? Then you should integrate this location information into your messages or use the location of a customer as a trigger for sending a message. “Hey, are you in XY street right now? Have you already seen the new collection of your favourite brand in our branch at XY square? If you show this message, you will get a 10% discount!” Use location information to point out your stores or other offline offers (e.g. temporary promotional events). If necessary, you can also name the current location of the customer in the message. However, some customers may have privacy concerns (“How do they know where I am?”). Also, this only works if you are using dynamic content that updates in real time when the message is opened. Otherwise, if the customer opens the message later, they may see a wrong location. You can also display the customer’s location and your locations on a map in the message. Give the customer the option of navigating to your location (for example, by linking to Google Maps). If the customer should not or cannot come directly to you (for example, because an appointment is required or the customer does not have time at the moment), give him or her the option of setting a later time. For example, integrate a link to call directly to make an appointment or an option to select products in the online shop and have them put back in the store for a fitting. A very simple way to use location information is also to integrate “city graphics”. For example, if a user is in Cologne, show him or her a header graphic with the Cologne skyline or a picture of Cologne Cathedral.
- Further contextual data: The location is just of many information about the usage context of your customers, which you can integrate into their messages. More examples? If you know the location, it is easy to find out the weather at the location. “Are you warm too? Time for a refreshment in our new branch at XY square!” You know the terminal? Offer your customer accessories for the end device or your app for the end device. You know which digital services the customer is currently using (e.g. your online shop)? Refer to it. “You are interested in our new car model? Interested in a test drive?” Important: Always handle context data sensitively. Some customers might see it as an intrusion into their privacy if you show them that you can “see” their current online usage behaviour, for example.
- Transactional data: Refer to a customer’s past transactions. Show the customer what they have already bought to offer suitable cross and upsells. Or show them how long ago their last purchase was, to motivate them to buy again. The length of the customer relationship can also be interesting information and serve as a reason to thank the customer for their loyalty.
- B2B data: In B2B communication, usually information like the (prospective) user’s company, position, or industry are known. Those information can be used in order to individually design the message’s addresseing. “I see, you are the Head of Sales of XY Corp. Here you can find some special offers for the XY industry. However, there are numerous pitfalls to be considered when integrating B2B data. For example, if data is incorrect, this can be very embarrassing, even if the customer has entered the data himself. In this case, “We have some new offers, especially for marketing managers!” can i.e. become the same like “We have some new special offers, but this is just not of your business!”. High data quality is therefore essential. You should also take various eventualities into account when formulating texts.
Use direct integration of user data to individualize your messages. These types of individualisations are easy to implement and achieve results faster than complex individualisations for which you first have to build a 360° customer view and/or set up a recommendation engine. Just try it out and see what works best for you.
Checklist: 21 tips for more and better data
In addition to the e-mail address, how do you obtain other important data about the user, e.g. his telephone number or a more far-reaching opt-in for the personal measurement of reactions? How do you ensure that the user also provides his correct data? How do you separate real users from spambots?
Improve your success in email marketing with our 21 tips for more and better data.