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Personalizing Your Customer Communications

A little technology can go a long way toward enhancing your customers' experience by personalizing your marketing materials.
March 22, 2004

In a competitive marketplace, effective marketing is essential to a business' success. But marketing that makes an impact means more than just advertising your company name and service: It's about meeting the needs and expectations of your customers through targeted, personalized communications. By leveraging technology to help you do that, you can make the most out of a tight marketing budget while still creating highly-effective marketing materials.

Personalization in marketing efforts is a trend any small business can easily adopt. Ensuring that your customers feel their personal preferences and needs are being taken into account creates an effective approach that's hard to beat. Technology is one way of gaining greater access to and knowledge of your customers. In fact, various software, such as publishing tools, exist to help you create inexpensive, personalized and professional marketing materials with the ability to create a consistent company image on your own.

Trevor Thirsk, a top real estate agent in Washington with John L. Scott Real Estate, uses Microsoft Office Publisher 2003 to quickly and easily create marketing materials such as property fliers and customer postcards. Thirsk can also create a document once and publish it multiple times, saving him the time and effort of creating the same or similar materials from scratch.

"I use the predesigned templates for my marketing materials, so there's a consistent, professional look," Thirsk says. "I save $100 to $200 per month doing it myself. I can now create a street-box flier with photos, graphics and text, e-mail it to my new client, and get approval without having to interrupt their dinner or waste time getting linked up. It's a simple thing, but it's less hassle for the client and saves me one to two hours."

The following tips and examples will help you improve your customer communications:

Nigel Burton is the general manager of the U.S. Small and Midmarket Solutions & Partners group at Microsoft and is responsible for developing the strategy and programs that drive Microsoft's marketing efforts to small- and midsized businesses.