We all know that ‘people buy from people’ so adding a personal touch to your business can go a long way to making you stand out from the crowd.

According to Michel Roux Jr, great service matters more than great food, which is an interesting approach from a celebrity chef. But we know what he means. If you go out for a meal and the food is ok but the service is excellent you are far more likely to give it a second chance than if the food is excellent and the service is just ok.

In the age of huge competition and limited disposable income, it’s essential to both attract and retain customers if you are to be successful but so many companies, including the biggest names around, seem to forget the latter.

personal touch

How many great offers do you see followed by the caveat that they are only available to new customers? But what about those trusted customers who pay their bills every month or buy from you regularly, don’t they deserve rewarding for their custom?

After years of constantly chasing new subscribers, increased competition has meant that Sky has finally realised that retaining their current customers is just as important if not more so than attracting new ones, so they have launched their personalised My Sky Rewards programme.

American author Ed Fuller believes “the deeper the bond between a customer and service or product provider, the harder it is to break, and over time the more satisfying the relationship becomes for both parties.”

But how can you personalise your business so that you can attract new customers, grow brand loyalty and keep everyone happy?

personal touch

Photos

How many websites have you been on and seen the generic stock images of an office team? And when you see one you’ve seen somewhere else you’re unlikely to feel a bond with the business.

It’s always nice to be able to put a face to the name and know who you might be talking to if you call or e-mail so make sure your about us section of the website includes real photographs of your team as a minimum and that’s before you even look at individual staff profiles.

Behind the scenes, images on social media can also help you grow your brand, by growing your tribe. We all like to know a bit more about a brand, like what makes them tick, what the offices look like and what the people get up to. If we can resonate with the images we’re far more likely to forge a long-lasting bond.

Personalised communication

According to research by Marketingland, nearly 54% of a consumer’s inbox were promotional. While Smart Insights found that the average for SME e-mail campaigns had an opening rate of 24.79% but there are ways you can help improve that number.

By personalising your communication customers will feel special and feel like you’re speaking to just them but we’re not just talking about adding the recipient’s name in a mailshot, although that does seem to work for some.

77% of online shoppers say they’re more likely to buy from a retailer when e-mails are personal (Harris Interactive), while Adobe found that using personalisation resulted in conversation rates 1.7 times higher than just generic content.

If that’s not convincing enough for you, Hubspot found that during a 12-month study that calls to action that were targeted to the user had a 42% higher view to submission rate.

Personalisation is not only important to customers though it is also proving profitable for retailers, with Gartner predicting that companies who incorporate it into their eCommerce will see their revenues increase up to 15% by 2018.

But how can you personalise e-mails?

  • Birthday offers are a way of making customers feel special, after all, who doesn’t like a fuss on their birthday?
  • E-mails telling shoppers of reductions/offers on things they’ve previously bought
  • Using incomplete orders or discarded baskets to see if you can help complete the sale – like providing a 10% off incentive.
  • Content including loyalty points values to make customers think you are only e-mailing them
  • Segmented e-mail lists let you break down the personalisation even further, to levels such as location, age, interests and product usage. Receiving irrelevant and unwanted content, even once, can leave people searching for that unsubscribe button.

To make sure you personalise your communications correctly it’s essential you harvest the right information. The more you know about your customer the more can offer them.

So, who are they?

Gender
Identity
Age and birthday
Family
Affluence
Segment

You also need to know how they have previously engaged with you.  Have they bought from you, are they current clients or have they just signed up to your newsletter?  By understanding where they are on the customer journey you can plan what you need to do next.

personal touch

What you need to know

Content usage

Behaviour

Preferences

Channel or device usage

Stage in lifecycle/journey

Transactional history

Active customer

Purchase volume

Don’t be anonymous

Just as you use the recipient’s name in mail shots you should consider using a sender’s name too, rather than just a generic business/team sign off.

That way if people click on reply they will think they know who they might be talking to.

Adding names to social media accounts can also help add a personal touch. Some businesses even include names of their social media/customer service teams in their bio’s so people know who they are communicating with from the outset, not just in direct messages.

Be specific

When you are targeting specific people your calls to action and the conversion pages have to be relevant. There is nothing worse than clicking a link to look at something, that has caught your eye, only to arrive on the wrong page, or even worse on a generic home page, leaving you searching for the relevant content.

To avoid people giving up and going elsewhere make sure you use a specific landing page for each individual campaign to encourage a quick and simple conversion and don’t forget that the look and feel of the pages are essential too, so use a web designer, when you can.

Conclusion

“One customer well taken care of could be more valuable than $10,000 worth of advertising” – Jim Rohn

If you treat your customers right then the chances are they will keep on coming back for as long as they need you. So, keep them engaged, keep them connected and keep them happy.

Here at Webthinking we really care about our customers and helping them make their business boom. Our work does not finish as soon as a job is done, instead, we keep in regular contact to see how business is going, make suggestions of how to drive appropriate traffic and essentially help the business continue to grow.