In an age of automated everything, is it possible to put a personal touch to your marketing? Of course--even though customers are used to sites like Amazon and Pandora where they can get everything they need easily without ever talking to a person. Fortunately, businesses evolve right along with consumer demands. As the head of a marketing department, it's your job to research and adopt the right technology to make your company as effective as possible. Marketing automation isn't going anywhere, but that doesn't mean your entire marketing approach has to be robotic.
No matter what, customers want to feel like they matter, like they're heard, and like there's a real person on the other end of that transaction. Recently, Help Scout, which is also a really cool customer service tool, released a report on the "personalization" of marketing. It reveals that 70 percent of final purchases are dictated by how a person feels they're being treated as a customer.
In 2014, 67 percent of people admitted to hanging up on a "customer automation" system because they couldn't talk to a live person. In fact, this has led to 59 percent of people saying they'd happily check out a new company if they thought they'd get a better customer service experience.
You're Just Human (Right?)
Fostering the humanity of your business is crucial, even as you move towards adopting more and better technology. When you consider marketing tools, ask yourself if they can help you make things more personal. A great tool is one that makes your job easier, but also treats your customers like royalty. The days of customers putting up with subpar service are over.
Remember that Gary Vaynerchuk, the author of "The Thank You Economy," says: "You have to be no less than a customer concierge, doing everything you can to make every one of your customers feel acknowledged, appreciated and heard."
If you're not making them feel special, someone else will. Are your tools treating your customers right? Here are a few that are guaranteed winners:
The guy who built Nimble, also built the most successful CRM tool of the 80's and 90's, Goldmine CRM. Jon Ferarra has pushed the needle further than ever before possible with Nimble CRM. It's the most dynamic social interaction tool out there. You just connected with someone on Twitter, well fire up the Nimble browser extension, and it will find all of the other social networks that person is also on. It then pulls all of those feeds into the CRM record of that person. You can pull in your calendar, as well, and it helps you manage each meeting.
LinkedIn took away some of the functionality from many CRM tools a few months ago, but Nimble overcomes all of that. If you are in sales or relationship building, you should use Nimble. This is a tool that I use daily to help with building and growing out my social relationships.
Don't have time to craft cards by hand--or have horrible handwriting? This service, MailLift, hand-writes letters and cards for you. It's an app, so you just select templates and recipients, and then customize to your heart's content. In the end, a real person handwrites for you. Then the company takes care of addressing and mailing.
This is good because my handwriting skills have atrophied so badly that my 8 year-old daughter makes fun of me.
This shows you who's using your services while making it simple to connect with them. Using behavior-based emails and messages, you can easily reach out to your customers instantly. Intercom is the best, fastest way to make sure you're delivering the services and goods your clients want, complete with a human touch.
Want to build relationships with top people in your industry? Socedo is the go-to tool to allow this to occur. You can literally type in a few words that you want in your potential followers bio and choose a few words that you want them to be tweeting and Socedo will cast a wide net and find you the ideal people to connect with. Then when they follow you back, you can send them additional messaging and even forward them an invite via LinkedIn.
With Socedo, you can literally have 6 "authentic" interactions with someone before you actually first talk with them. Are they really authentic, if they're automated, though? Either way, I love this tool and live in it daily.
Basically Gmail's CRM function, Streak CRM is great for connecting with people who are likely to take an interest in your content. Automate emails, but still you'll be encouraged to address each recipient personally. This tool also sends out emails one at a time instead of in bulk, further personalizing efforts and avoiding spam filters.
This is a large enterprise marketing tool, but since we are talking about personalization, I haven't seen any company be able to do it better than Ensighten. Their claim to fame came with their tag management tool, but they've been busy adding to their arsenal of solutions. Now, you can collect all of your customer data across multiple silos, own that data, and then act on that data across every advertising and marketing channel with the same unified data profile. 1:1 personalized marketing optimization at it's finest.
Lots of Fortune 500 companies use the Ensighten solution. I've worked with the tool since my Symantec days and highly recommend it. BONUS, they just launched their new website, and it's one of the coolest scrolling CSS3 designs that I've seen in awhile.
From Tech to Touch
Of course, your actual strategies are just as important. Make a vow never to use "no reply" emails and instead ensure all emails are sent from a real person. When you get a new client, send them a handwritten note (MailLift is perfectly acceptable here). However, also keep an eye on how people are responding via your social analytics, since this is where many people go to connect.
Your goal should be problem-solving with every client. This requires transparency. If your customers feel comfortable reaching out to you in the avenue of their choosing, they'll do it more often. The real secret to a personal approach? Simply keeping the "person" in it.