Use these 6 steps to create a personalised customer experience

Personalisation is the use of data to customise and add relevance to the way your customers experience your brand. If you’ve received an email with your first name in the subject line, you’ve received a personalised email.

However, a report by Yes Lifecycle Marketing Personalisation Roadmap says, in a world where you can have your coffee drink made to your exact specifications including temperature, marketers have to make more of an effort to provide a personalised experience that meets the expectation of today’s email audience.

Personalisation is a valuable asset to your business; it makes your customers feel special. It lets them know that you understand them and cater specifically to them. In a market where customers can pick from endless options, the idea that your brand “gets” them is a strong differentiator that can set you apart from others.

And the more you reinforce the fact that you understand your customers, the stronger the relationship becomes. The ultimate goal is the customer’s long-term loyalty and repeated patronage.

But how to build a personalisation roadmap? Yes Lifecycle Marketing gives a step-by-step approach that will not only help marketers decide how to make personalisation work for their brand, but also prioritise it.

Step 1: Brainstorm

The first step is to have a brainstorm session to collect all potential personalisation ideas. The objective of the brainstorm is to put personalisation in the context of your brand and identify ways that it could benefit your customers. Do your best to keep all options open; the sky’s the limit.

For the purposes of the brainstorm, don’t worry too much about what data you may be limited to today. Focus on the customer experience. What type of personalisation or customisation will help customers shop, or what will give them that extra nudge to convert? What will entertain, surprise and delight them? What kind of custom content might cause your customer to show their phone to their friend and say, “Check out what I just got from <your brand here>!”

Step 2: Prioritise

The next step is prioritisation. Here are two sample options for how to prioritise: By business goals; and by best concept.

Option A: Prioritise by business goals: Prioritise the ideas based on how they map to your organisation’s business goals. Start with your own email marketing goals for the year, and look for KPIs, which correlate to the personalistion ideas on the list.

Option B: Rank Top 10 Ideas: Select the 10 ideas you and your team like the most. Then, rank them from 1 to 10, where 1 is the best idea. The number does not have to be 10 – this would vary by your organisation’s ability and overall project roadmap, but it’s a good starting point, says the report.

Step 3: Estimate Level of Effort

Once you have the Top 10 personalisations list, it’s time to estimate the level of effort it will take to implement each one. This is where we get into more detail about how to execute the ideas. The best way to accomplish this is to get input from relevant team members such as those who are knowledgeable about your database, as well as those who oversee enhancements to the site – remember, truly personalised experiences start with email but don’t end after the click, Yes Lifecycle Marketing report said.

Step 4: Plot on a roadmap

The report says the fourth step is to plot all of the personalisation ideas on a Personalisation Roadmap. The goal is to create a high level document that maps your plans for the next 12-18 months in quarterly increments.

Use the prioritisation you set in Step 2 and the implementation timelines from Step 3 to gauge where something should be on the roadmap. Plot the prioritised ideas based on what you believe to be realistic, it adds.

Step 5: Socialise

Now it’s time to share the Personalisation Roadmap with everyone, the report continues. Circle back with the relevant teams who helped you throughout the process and carefully review the feasibility of executing on the mapped items. Be ready to make adjustments based on their feedback it says.

Step 6: Testing for effectiveness

Incorporating a name merge is one thing, segmenting by time zone may be another. When making any enhancements or changes to the way you personalise your email campaigns, it’s best to test them out over a number of deployments to work out all the kinks, the report adds.