How to Avoid Over-Personalisation in Marketing

Emma Grant

Head of SEO

Results-driven Emma heads up our SEO team. A champion of best-practice SEO strategies for search engine success that lasts and delivers best value, Emma’s work focuses on boosting clients’ online visibility with the ultimate goal of increasing sales. Emma applies her extensive skill and experience to create strategies that pay off quickly for faster results. She knows precisely what to do to reduce clients’ paid ad spends for greater profits, and how to boost organic leads for better long term return on investment. After close of business, when she’s not organising exciting travel adventures, you may hear Emma strumming classical guitar tunes or working on her jazz riffs.

If you read our blog regularly, you’ll know we talk a lot about the importance of personalisation in marketing. About how crucial it is to connect directly with your audience and ensure the communications you present to them are completely relevant and tailored to their needs.

There is no doubting that personalised marketing communications work. The effort you put into gleaning information about your target audiences from the content they read and the places they check-in and the like means you can present targeted offers that stand a far better chance of converting. In many cases, this kind of targeted marketing is welcomed because it is considered helpful.

However, a fine line exists with personalisation. Too little and it’s off the mark. Too much, and it can come across seriously awkward.

Social network concept: hand holding smartphone with Unlike on display. Mobile smart phone on Blue background, 3d renderA recent report by Forrester revealed that as many as 89 per cent of digital businesses are making an investment in personalisation. However, because so many are seeking methods by which to target their audience, a downside has emerged.

Yes, it is helpful to receive reminders about things you were going to book or buy before you got distracted, but if when you start to see adverts or content connected to things you decided you weren’t interested in any more or that are off the mark, it can start to get very irritating.

So what exactly is classed as crossing the line? And when does an audience stop finding your reminders and offers helpful and start considering them creepy and intrusive?

Let’s take a look at how best to use captured data to enhance trust, rather than push people away.

Make it valuable

When you identify a need or an interest, the best thing you can do is provide information that goes the extra mile in explaining how to resolve an issue or provide further insight. So, instead of badgering people with salesy follow-ups, reach out with additional material such as tips, guides, videos and infographics.

Example: A home internet user is watching a video about how to improve the reach of their broadband signal at home. You can therefore assume they are facing issues with dead spots around the house. Instead of a sales pitch, the helpful and value-added route would be to present useful information about options for extending signal range, how it all works and a guide to getting started.

Make it accurate

Different people have different reactions to marketing approaches depending on their individual needs and demographic. Content is consumed in different ways by people of varying ages and from different backgrounds. Some prefer to take in information via written guides or discussion forums, whilst others favour videos or webinars for example. The amount of content consumed will also vary greatly.

This is where your demographic and geographic insights come into play. Pay attention your analytics, and be sure to tailor your approach to the style of content silo that suits your particular audience.

Target Audience

The key message is to ensure you carry out appropriate research in order to make sure you are not invading your potential customers’ space.

Make it appropriate

As we just mentioned, age is an important factor when it comes to how content is consumed. Research has revealed that millennials are more likely to use social media and Google to find out more about the services and products they’re interested in, and that this generation is twice as likely to positively respond to personalised messaging then generation X-ers and baby boomers. So, whilst your personalised marketing is likely to be positively received by millennials, it may be seen as quite the opposite by more mature generations.

The key message is to ensure you carry out appropriate research in order to make sure you are not invading your potential customers’ space.

Test it

The best thing any marketer can ever do is test, test, and test again. To discover how people respond to your personalisation efforts, the only way is to run split tests and request feedback. Whether you include thumbs-up mechanisms in your content or a feedback poll by SMS, the fact remains you need to do SOMETHING to see how you’re doing. Once you have your intelligence, you can go on to further personalise what you do so suit particular audience types.

Ready to get personal?

If you’re ready to get personal with your marketing but are feeling nervous about crossing that fine line, we can help by planning a strategy that fits perfectly around your target audience. To get started, get in touch with the digital marketing agency London.

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