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Five Actionable Steps to Use Personalization to Boost Sales Personalized user experiences have never been easier to implement and here is how.

By Ademola Adekunbi

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Since the early days of marketing, even before the internet, personalization has been a priority for sales people trying to convince prospects to make a purchase. From personalized letters in the mailbox to the dependable e-mail merge feature in autoresponders, the goal of giving each prospect a custom, perfectly-tailored experience has always been present.

That has not been easier to achieve ever before. However, with today's big data and AI applications becoming more accessible, businesses of every size and in every industry can implement personalization to great effect.

So why don't they? In the Econsultancy & Adobe study "Why Marketing Should Be Personal', majority of respondents agreed that personalization is fundamental to sales, but only 5% said they were using it extensively. The reasons varied from lack of technical knowledge to cost. Ultimately though, the lesson is that you have an opportunity to stand out from the competition, engage customer loyalty and boost sales by providing customized experiences because personalized user experiences have never been easier to implement. Here are five ways you can do it effectively:

Chatbots have become very popular in recent times, and for a good reason. They allow businesses to deliver a high level of customer service that was previously unattainable without immense amounts of manpower and infrastructure. Chatbots satisfy the needs of today's customers for instant gratification. All their enquiries can be answered quickly and without waiting. According to Abhinav Girdhar, CEO of Appy Pie. To personalize a customer's experience, your chatbot can draw information from their profile, location or cookies. With that information, your chatbot will be able to provide personalized support, provide recommendations, take orders, qualify your leads and even provide stimulating conversation on social media.

There are no limits to what your chatbot can do, apart from what you choose to program it to and the information you feed to it.

Advanced email segmentation
Despite all the alarmist headlines about how social media is taking over, email marketing has consistently delivered the highest ROI to businesses in various industries. The key to maximizing the effectiveness of your email strategy is to understand that although all your subscribers have some level of interest in your brand, it doesn't equate to them having the same needs. To personalize your email marketing and the experience your prospects get when they interact with your messages, you'll need to segment your list to the most granular level possible. You should decide on the parameters to use (purchases and products added to cart, links clicked on, etc.) and then create smaller, more targeted lists. When you send emails to those lists, your customers will get information that is highly relevant to them, not a general email which will probably annoy them and even get you marked as spam.

Geo-targeted websites
Your website is often the first and most significant contact prospects have with your business. If they like what they see, they'll likely engage further, see what you have to offer and make purchases. If they don't, they'll be on to the next website in no time at all. So, it makes sense to optimize your website and make it as attractive as possible, right? But since your customers come from different places and have different interests, optimizing it for one audience might alienate another. Therefore, what you should do is to implement a geo-targeting on your website to display a tailored interface for different countries/regions. If you run an e-commerce website, for instance, you'd be able to mark national holidays and run promotions without interfering with the experience other countries get. Depending on your business model, you can even implement this on a more targeted level to customize experiences within a single country.

Split test everything
Once you've begun implementing personalized user experiences on your website, you'll begin seeing some results. They may be good or not-so-good, but the key to making the most out of your efforts is to iterate and switch things up wherever necessary. You can find what needs switching by executing A/B and multivariate tests to determine what aspects of your personalization strategy are working well and which ones are not. Make changes carefully over a period of time to be sure that you can identify which factor is causing specific changes. When measuring changes though, make sure to focus on the metrics that really matter. Views and clicks are important, but the ultimate goal is to get more conversions.

Maintain high quality
As much as there are immense benefits to personalization, there's a flip side to it– wrong personalization. Just as you would be frustrated if you got an email with someone's name in the salutation, your customers wouldn't be happy to get shown recommendations which are completely different from their interests. According to Rafal Szymanski, CEO of GTM Plus, the first and most crucial step is to get competent, experienced software engineers on board. Nowadays, you can cut down costs significantly by outsourcing instead of hiring full time staff. As long as you get the right person, make sure that they are aligned with your goals and monitor their work properly,which will make you, your customers and bank account very happy.

Related: Five Strategies To Scale Your Service Business Profitably

Ademola Adekunbi

CEO, Regal Inks Content Marketing

Ademola Adekunbi is a writer, entrepreneur, and CEO of Regal Inks Content Marketing. He works with companies to boost their search engine positions, and ensure an increase in customer engagement and revenue. 

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