As marketing technology becomes more sophisticated and powerful, customers are increasingly demanding. Cookie-cutter outreach is no longer sufficient. The people who buy from your business want personalized communication, recommendations, and responses.

Fortunately, small and midsize businesses (SMBs) are responding to the call. A February 2019 survey by digital information site Clickz predicted personalization as one of its top five trends, with nearly one in three (31 percent) respondents naming it a priority for the year. A range of multifaceted digital marketing tools can help them easily create and automate customized experiences for their audiences. This is important for time-strapped business owners, says Brandon Steiger, founder of 2120 Creative, a full-service marketing agency.

It's a strategy that has worked for Saratoga Springs, New York-based  Death Wish Coffee, purveyors of the eponymous "world's strongest coffee." After a rocky start--and almost losing his life savings--owner Michael Brown began selling coffee online. He tested various forms of personalized outreach, which helped him grow his business into an international brand. SMB owners who want to harness the power of personalized outreach can also do so in a number of ways.

Make on-target recommendations

When it's done right, personalized marketing can help SMB marketers deliver more leads, supplying the business development team with meaningful data showing what is important to the buyer, ultimately shortening the sales cycle, Steiger says.

Death Wish tracks customer sales through their accounts, awarding loyalty points that can be used for discounts on future purchases. Brown has also created a subscription program through his company's ecommerce platform so customers can easily automate repeat orders.

Robust marketing solutions like Mailchimp also offer SMBs the ability to suggest products based on your store's data. Mailchimp has third-party integrations like ShopSync and Zapier that allow you to put your sales data to work for you and rank up to 10 suggestions for customers. Mailchimp data indicates that including product recommendations can increase sales.

Deliver the right outreach

From Facebook and Instagram ads to landing pages and effective, attractive email campaigns, your business needs a uniform, cohesive look, message, and approach to its branding and promotion. Marketing platforms like Mailchimp allow SMBs to easily create attractive ads and elements--with no design experience needed.

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Email marketing generates more revenue for Death Wish than any other digital tactic. From the beginning, Brown focused on building his list, capturing names after high-profile media appearances--including a Super Bowl spot the company won in a contest. Death Wish's email marketing works so well because, no matter how big the list gets--topping 400,000 now--the company uses Mailchimp's powerful segmenting tools to ensure they are delivering messages that reflect individual preferences.

"If someone only buys ground coffee, we don't send a promotion for whole bean, because they probably don't have a grinder," he says. The company switched to Mailchimp four years ago to take advantage of its automation, segmentation and targeting capabilities, and features.

Enhance sales with automation

For busy SMB owners, tools that help them sell without any manual effort can be invaluable. One clever way to create automated, customized outreach is through order notifications. For example, once a customer has placed an order, Mailchimp allows the seller to brand and automate an outreach email that includes useful--and profit-building--information like tracking numbers, additional order suggestions, and answers to frequently asked questions.

For many ecommerce businesses, abandoned carts are a common issue. Death Wish uses Mailchimp's automated abandon cart emails to recapture some of lost sales. When a customer fails to complete an order, the platform automatically sends a reminder to complete the sale. He will also occasionally send out great deals to customers who haven't purchased in a while. These emails can re-engage the customer and boost sales.

Death Wish's 36 team members now occupy a 30,000-square-foot warehouse and office. But, no matter how big the company gets, Brown is committed to delivering that personal touch. "Keep that one-on-one relationship. If you can find tools that help you create that or make it feel that way, it is powerful," he says.