Customers are demanding more personalized experiences. More than 53 percent of consumers want a fully personalized experience online, in part because they’ve been willing to part with so much data. Through cookies, app tracking, surveys, and other means of data collection, businesses have more information on their customers than ever before. And thanks to new technologies, it’s possible to deliver more customized experiences based on that data.
So why are so few businesses actually delivering those personalized experiences? Part of the problem is a lack of understanding of how to develop personalized experiences; many businesses want more customization in their models, but aren’t sure how to develop it. While many personalization technologies are still in their infancy, there are a handful of reliable strategies you can use to introduce more personalization into your customer experiences.
Why Customers Want Personalization
First, let’s take a look at why customers want more personalization in the first place. This will direct us to the types of personalization that may serve us best:
- Competition. Every day, we’re exposed to somewhere around 5,000 advertisements (in one form or another). That’s a lot of competition for consumer attention. There are thousands of companies recycling the same messages and using the same formulas to try and give their customers an assembly-line-style experience, and to consumers, it all seems the same. Unique experiences are truly memorable and capable of attracting more customers.
- Humanization. Companies and consumers have also become more disconnected in recent years. Consumers see big corporations as faceless entities that don’t care about their consumers. Personalized experience at least gives the illusion of personal care and humanizes an otherwise cold corporate brand.
- Instant gratification. Let’s face it: we’re spoiled. We’re living in a culture that increasingly demands instant gratification, in no small part thanks to the ubiquity of the internet. Custom experiences give customers faster, more precise results.
Strategies to Introduce Personalized Experiences
So how can businesses introduce more personalization into their customer experiences?
1. Intelligent Search Solutions
For a time, many businesses built their offerings on volume; the more they offered customers, the more valuable they were deemed to be. However, now that data, connections, and many resources are plentiful, customers want more relevant and targeted offers (rather than strictly higher-volume offers). That’s why many search engines are starting to refine their results to become insights engines, giving users highly customized and personalized results rather than a giant list of potential matches that happen to feature a given keyword.
2. Targeted Content
Content marketing has become popular, but too many businesses focus on broad, generalized topics that have a wide potential appeal, but ultimately fail to generate much interest because they aren’t very relevant to the people they’re trying to target. Hyper-focused, highly specific content topics tend to perform much better. They target a much smaller potential population, but are much more relevant, and therefore more “custom-made” to make readers happy.
3. Better Market Research and Product Development
You can also provide more targeted, customized customer experiences by digging deeper into your market research and using those insights to make better, more customized products and services. For example, don’t spend too much time focusing on broad patterns in the bulk of your audience. Instead, zero in on individual sectors and hidden niches that constitute segments of the overall group. What are their needs? How are they different from everyone else? How can you develop products that serve them specifically?
4. One-on-one Interactions
Though much of the business world is headed toward automation and self-service, it’s still valuable to have one-on-one interactions with some of your clients. Even though technology has come a long way, there’s nothing more personal than a personal conversation. This is especially important for long-term client relationships; get to know your customers, and deliver a personal, custom experience that meets their specific needs, rather than the one-size-fits-all approach.
5. Interactive Content
Interactive content, which gives readers and users the chance to engage with their material (and possibly adapt it), is rising in popularity. Consider creating more interactive pieces of content for your blog and customer service areas, including calculators and quizzes that provide different results based on user inputs, or custom web experiences that cater to each individual user’s past behavior and preferences.
These are just some of the introductory ways that businesses can give their customers a more personalized experience. As our AI systems and other technologies grow more sophisticated, this list is going to grow and diversify. The most successful companies of the next decade will be the ones capable of offering the most unique, customized services and experiences — so don’t let your business fall behind the competition. It’s only going to get more cutthroat from here.
Online Shopper Photo via Shutterstock
This article, “Creating Personalized Experiences Doesn’t Have to be Hard: See These 5 Strategies” was first published on Small Business Trends