Why you should be (hyper) personalising your marketing

Take your marketing beyond the obvious by creating unique, tailored experiences for your buyer personas with hyper personalisation.

Personalised marketing is expected: it’s actually more memorable (but not delightful) to get an email without your name than the other way round today, and that’s why hyper personalised marketing is the next step to not only delight, but also to quickly convert interested parties.

Hyper-personalization_GraphImage source: WebEngage

Did you know that 35% of Amazon’s conversions come from their hyper personalised recommendations? By creating highly contextual conversion emails, they’re able to drive user behaviour dramatically.

There is no doubt that that hyper personalisation is the ultimate inbound marketing and sales: it’s about the right message at the right time in the right place and the right format to the right persona.

Hyper personalisation can delight

Let’s face it - the times have changed! It’s 2020 - people know they’re being tracked online (especially with GDPR legislation - how many cookies have you accepted online in the past year?), and they expect you to use the data you’re collecting to improve their online experience.

It is up to us to take users from a ‘nice’ online experience to a truly personal and delightful one by tailoring the articles, CTAs, the imagery and even the next steps on a page designed to their needs and interests, making every website interaction memorable.

As HubSpot explains, personalised content does 178% better than generic content and calls to action.

“People are not static. They access your content from multiple devices. They come at it from a number of different channels. And, perhaps most importantly, as their experience with your company grows, their needs and interests change.”

Hyper personalisation strategy

Study after study highlights the effectiveness of a hyper personalised strategy, but implementing this tactic incorrectly has a high risk of turning people off your brand completely. Says Gartner in a recent report, “The price of getting personalisation wrong is steep. In a survey of more than 2 500 customers, more than half report they will unsubscribe from a company’s communications and 38 percent will stop doing business with a company if they find personalisation efforts to be ‘creepy.”

Because of the “high risk, high reward” element of hyper personalisation, don’t dive into this tactic without a proper strategy.

We also know that implementing personalisation can feel overwhelming, so we’re going to recommend some easy-to-implement approaches to get you started.

Start your strategy small

Like eating an elephant, take it one bite at a time and focus on your quick wins.

There are three ways to start off your strategy:

  • Personalise by referral source
    An easy strategy to start with is personalising by referral source. A prospect that came from social media tends to be very different to those that arrived from organic traffic, which is again different from PPC. Depending on the source, they are at different stages of their journey, and will have different contexts to how they view your content. Once you have the source, you can, for example, personalise further based on industry or job title.

  • What data do you have?

    A hyper personalisation strategy is 100% dependent on the data you have available. It is essential that personalisation is seen as more than merely adding in a first name, it is about creating a personal experience. Some data that we use in our personalisation strategy includes first and last name, job title, previous purchases, purchase history, country, language, email activity and content engagement. 

    In addition to this it highlights the importance of keeping your data clean - invest some time in database hygiene regularly to ensure you don’t go wrong with your personalisation.

  • What data do you need to collect?
    Once you start working with the data you have, you realise the data gaps and the opportunities you have for further personalisation. The next stage of your strategy should be focused on gathering the clean data you need for your next round of personalisation.

There are many data points you can use to personalise your marketing. Some examples:

You can personalise in your online and social media based on…

  • Job title
  • Buyer persona
  • Biggest challenge
  • Industry
  • Location 
  • History of web page visits
  • Interests
  • Demographics
  • Device
  • Lifecycle stage

How HubSpot can help you hyper personalise

HubSpot has many tools that can help you create a unified, cross platform personalisation tactic.

  • Lists
    Personalisation vs hyper personalisation: the short answer lies in the size of your lists. The more lists the better - shorter, niche lists are the way to do it! The size of your lists and the criteria in your lists are crucial. Emailing blog subscribers is one thing, but the more criteria you have, the more details you focus on and the more segmented you can be, and the more you can tailor your messaging. If we know your motivation and interests we can tailor everything to you.

  • Paid social
    You can apply this same principle to paid social media. You can get granular with interests, and target people that have visited selected website pages. HubSpot lets you align your social media with your other marketing and sales efforts.

  • Smart content
    This HubSpot specialised feature is a must-have for effective hyper personalisation. They explain, “With smart content, a module can display different versions of your content based on certain viewer criteria. In addition to creating smart CTAs and smart forms, you can use rich text modules or global custom modules to add smart content to your website pages, landing pages, and emails.”

    We highly recommend using Smart CTAs. They can be tailored to the previous actions, and to what content your audience has downloaded, and can show you different things on mobile vs desktop. Smart content makes for a better user experience. When you know what data points you’re focusing on, you can start to tailor your messaging. For example, if you decide to tailor your communication per industry, this impacts the message that is relevant - when crafting it, you know that industry is the differentiator. Within that you can go deeper, which will affect your chosen imagery and text, and from there you can do A/B tests to get more accurate data.

How hyper personalisation can go very, very wrong

Even though people are aware they’re being tracked, and that websites are gathering their data, being too intrusive with your marketing can blur the line between “helpful because they know me” and “that’s creepy, how do they know that?”.

The rule of thumb here is: only respond to data they have willingly and consciously shared.

Here are some common hyper personalisation mistakes:

  • Being creepy: If someone didn’t tell you something, don’t comment on it. That can definitely push your personalisation from helpful into the uncomfortable zone where people feel like they’re in Big Brother.

  • Getting it wrong: Getting your first name wrong, or really anything wrong, is incredibly frustrating for your customers. Be careful not to put them into the wrong lists and send on the wrong information.

  • Making assumptions: Don’t take only one data point and assume from there. Only work on concrete facts, not guesses.

  • Responding to simplistic data like demographics alone: Most women have experienced targeted pregnancy test ads based simply on the fact that they’re women and are past 25. Almost invariably this triggers a negative sentiment.

  • Aggressive targeting based on little data: Visiting a site to do research and then being chased around the web with targeted ads is very off putting.

  • Outdated systems and information gaps:  Which is true, which is more recent and are you messages clashing? Ads and emails might be showing different ads based on different data and the different lists you might be on. One tip here is to use exclusion lists and refine your filters in lists. The exclusion criteria you choose for a list or workflow is equally as important as the trigger or inclusion criteria you choose.

As we’ve highlighted here, you need a good strategy to employ hyper-personalisation effectively, and to avoid getting accidentally invasive. Don’t do hyper-personalised marketing just for the sake of doing it, strategic and targeted hyper-personalisation is incredibly effective.

Not sure if your HubSpot account is set up to enable hyper-personalisation? We can do a HubSpot portal audit to see where your opportunities and gaps are.

Get a Portal Health Check