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Perform Powerful Personalized Marketing in 4 Easy Steps

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The phrase personalized marketing is everywhere and becoming a popular goal. Whether it’s called omnichannel, targeted or 1-to-1 marketing, it means the same thing: delivering customized and timely offers and content to customers.   

It's no secret why personalization is such a hot trend: Personalization delivers results. Experian's email study based on data from 2013 found "Personalized emails are generating six times higher transaction rates and revenue per email than nonpersonalized emails," according to the company.

While tackling personalized marketing can feel daunting, it shouldn’t. To achieve great results and delight customers, you don’t need to send a customized message to every customer. Here are four simple steps to get started with this quickly and create real value: 

Related: Personalized Marketing Is No Longer a Luxury

1. Focus on results, not just activity.

It’s easy to become activity driven instead of results oriented. Too often, marketers take on too much, leading them to feeling overwhelmed. If marketers first tackle the low-hanging fruit, they can build up to more ambitious campaigns.

If you haven’t started sending personalized greetings via email, start there. Create "welcome back" offers for website visitors who haven’t visited your site recently. Simple, modern tools like those offered by personalization software company Optimizely can deliver results immediately without requiring deep technical skills. Start small and find quick victories. 

2. Act on data. Don't just collect it.  

Marketing data is everywhere, whether it's analytics for a web site or email and social media information. Don’t get caught in the collection-and-reporting dynamic because not all data is easy to take action on and marketers shouldn’t feel like they need to gather, analyze or use all of it.  

Focus instead on how to act on data by taking bite-size chunks of useful data or diving into  a single information source. Or combine data: Start off with customer email data and then combine that with social media data. Consider marketer-friendly email-marketing tools with great APIs, such as MailChimp and Campaign Monitor, that make it easy to share and connect your data from many different sources. 

Related: When Marketing Personalization Fails

3. Get back to basics.

Marketers often feel pressured to adopt new tactics. But email is still preferred by business-to-business sellers, according to eMarketer's "B2B Email Marketing: Benchmarks and Best Practices for 2014." Before jumping into the next cool thing, invest in proven tactics using email or a website to shape a personalized experience.

If you have the itch to try something different, consider combining what’s tried-and-true with the new.

Facebook's Custom Audience lets marketers create lists of people they want to target Facebook ads by using a list of email addresses. Use this tool to target email subscribers who are no longer active, for instance. 

4. Adapt and evolve.

Taking a first step toward a personalized marketing strategy can be intimidating. But even that can provide valuable insights, giving marketers the confidence to take further strides. Before you launch a campaign, list exactly what you want to learn.

For example, did the same creative work-and-offer combination perform better through email, the website or via social-media ads? Marketers who keep learning, experimenting and adapting are the ones who become personalized-marketing masters. 

Achieving a successful personalized-marketing strategy doesn’t have to be complicated and stressful. In marketing, the best paths toward happy customers may be the simplest ones. Start small, stay focused on what’s achievable and be open-minded to realize great gains.

Related: Why the Future of Retail Will Blow Your Mind