Is personalization — where you take a prospect’s name or some other piece of information you know about them and use it in a mass-marketing promotion — hokey?
Does it fool anybody into thinking that you’re writing a personal message specifically to them?
Are YOU more likely to respond when some marketer uses this tactic on you… when you know full well that thousands of other people are receiving the exact same message? Please give me your thoughts in the comments box below.
Regardless of what anybody thinks, most of the split tests I’ve run over the years indicate that personalization — when used wisely — does in fact increase conversion.
The reason is simple …
The most important person in the entire known universe is YOU!
Any communication that appears uniquely relevant to that person is bound to get your attention.
Your name is the sweetest and most important word in existence — ten times more powerful in marketing than YOU or FREE combined…
Have you ever had an experience like this?
You’re sitting alone in a noisy, jam-packed bar or restaurant, waiting for your partner to arrive…
All around you, dozens of different conversations swirl together into a cacophony of unintelligible words.
You muse for a moment about what it must have been like to witness the confusion of Babel before receding into the inner world of your own thoughts…
And then suddenly, you hear your name slicing through the thick fog of your divided attention… like a switchblade through butter.
A personalized marketing message has this same power to reach out through the competitive clutter of conflicting marketing messages and grab your attention.
It is a conditioned, spontaneous response…
The Reticular Activation System at the base of your brain stem is on a constant vigil for sensory inputs that it deems potentially relevant to your survival as an organism.
You are, therefore, momentarily defenseless against such efforts to seize your attention.
Quickly however, you become aware that you are on the receiving end of a personalized marketing message. You realize that some marketer has merged your name or some other piece of pertinent personal data into a sales message to create this effect.
Even so, chances are you will be willing to suspend your disbelief and enter into a mental dialog with the person sending the message. It is pure fantasy, and you know it.
But then again, any fantasy with YOU as the central character is practically irresistible. You gotta know what it’s about.
So you keep reading. And of course, THAT is the point.
Like any marketing tactic, the element of surprise magnifies the effect of personalization exponentially.
Here are a couple of interesting applications that I don’t see overused at the moment …
A couple of clients I’ve worked with over the years have used PURLS to great effect. What’s a PURL, you ask?
A PURL is a webpage with your prospect’s personal information embedded in the URL.
So instead of www.SellYourHomeFast.com, the URL you send your customer to click on becomes www.NAME.SellYourHomeFast.com.
Which link do you think you’d be more likely to click on?
It gets even better …
When you click on your personalized link, you land on a personalized page that greets you by name and tells a story that looks unique to you. Pretty cool, huh?
Think of the applications …
What about a postcard campaign? If you’re a real estate agent or investor, you can send a postcard like this:
YOUR NAME from YOUR COMPANY here… with an important message for homeowners on <STREET>.
Property values on <STREET> are on the move, and I’ve prepared a special website just for you with all the facts. As soon as you can, go to: www.CUSTOMERNAME.SellYourHomeFast.com.
Catch you online,
Short, sweet, cost-effective. Virtually any business can do something similar to drive targeted prospects to a web-based sales message.
Here’s another quick application that’s super easy and rarely used …
If you have an autoresponder that’s integrated with your shopping cart, you can easily personalize messages using fields other than the person’s name.
Here’s the first paragraph of an email we sent out recently…
Subject Line: <STATE/PROVINCE> biz owners are desperate for this…
Body Copy: <FIRSTNAME>,
Business owners in the <CITY> area and throughout <STATE/PROVINCE> are starving for copywriters who know how to sell…
Even though, like many online marketers, we do not collect address information at the top of the funnel, we were able to send this personalized message to anyone who has bought anything from us in the past.
I can tell you the results were better than any previous generic message.
And it stands to reason …
If you were to sit down and list the prime human desires, the list is actually pretty short.
- Food and water
- Sexual gratification
- The well-being of our children
- A faith to believe in
- Physical comfort
- Health, and freedom from pain
- Money, and what it can buy
- A sense of importance
Most of these things are available in plentiful supply, except the last.
All of us marketers should be acutely aware of the magic contained in the personal data of our prospects…
When you acknowledge a person’s individuality — even in the make-believe world of mass marketing — you are feeding that person’s need for a feeling of self-importance. None of us can ever get enough.
Please give me your two cents on personalization in the comments box below. I’m interested in hearing your thoughts on the subject from both perspectives — as fish, and as fisherman.
Until next time, Good Selling!