Two young women discuss a marketing project in an office. One of the women is holding a laptop computer in her right hand. Both women are looking at the computer.
Using a strategy that blends data from your business with artificial intelligence and automation tools can help you create highly personalized marketing campaigns. — Getty Images/Nitat Termmee

Personalization in marketing leads to greater engagement, conversion rates, and revenue. It's also no longer optional. One study showed that over 70% of consumers expect companies to deliver personalized interactions. Moreover, 76% of consumers are frustrated when they receive a marketing communication that isn't personalized.

Today's personalization techniques go well beyond using basic demographic information, such as inserting someone's first name at the start of an email. Small business (SMB) owners can leverage customer data to create unique marketing experiences, offer targeted promotions, and send relevant product or service updates. Here’s how to leverage your data to achieve better marketing results.

Use data from across the organization

Truly personalized marketing campaigns integrate data points from sales, customer service, product development, and other areas of your operations to create holistic profiles of your customers.

"If your business’s departments don't share data, then you're not getting a complete picture of your customer. By integrating platforms and centralising your data management, you can remove barriers and allow information to flow freely," wrote Salesforce.

Breaking down silos between different teams in your business also allows you to create a more consistent experience. For instance, a sales representative can see the details of when a lead last interacted with customer service and use marketing data to make product recommendations.

[Read more: Chipotle Takes Customers on Personalized Food Journeys with CRM]

Improve your customer segmentation

Segmentation makes it possible to send mass communications that still feel personalized and targeted. Segmentation is a process of grouping customers according to data-based insights, such as engagement patterns, purchase history, and loyalty.

"Segmenting allows marketers to break through the noise and connect with customers in a way that's relevant to them. Put another way: when you send the right messages to the right people, it makes your marketing unique and lucrative," wrote Mailchimp.

A customer segmentation strategy is the first step toward creating effective, personalized marketing outreach. Take unified customer data from across the organization to build segments based on meaningful insights. Then, use A/B testing to help hone in on the right messaging for each group.

A/B testing can be performed on landing pages, email campaigns, and content to maximize the impact of your messaging for different customer segments. This data can have a profound impact on conversion rates and customer loyalty.

The more you can make a customer feel personally valued, the more likely they are to become a fan of your business for life.

Leverage artificial intelligence and automation to make personalization easier

It's unlikely that your marketing team has the capacity to send personalized marketing to every individual in your customer relationship management (CRM) software. Fortunately, there are plenty of platforms that can automate this for you.

"Marketing automations let SMBs do more work with less effort, such as sending out an automated welcome email every time a new subscriber joins your mailing list. They enable curated, flexible customer journeys that help you send relevant messaging to your biggest fans," wrote Mailchimp.

Look for tools that integrate predictive analytics to go even deeper into your data for customer insights. Some artificial intelligence (AI) tools can automatically generate customer segments based on their purchasing behavior and email interactions, and then learn from previous campaigns to continually improve your communications.

"AI can also power chatbots to improve the customer experience and be used to make smart, automated marketing buys through programmatic marketing," wrote Salesforce.

[Read more: Creating Customer Loyalty Requires Genuine Employee Fandom and Personalized Marketing, Brand Execs Say]

Apply personalization across the customer journey

Personalization should be applied consistently and regularly for it to have maximum impact. "Hyper-personalization can be applied throughout the customer journey, from attracting customers with personalized webpages and dynamic pricing to providing personalized services after the purchase," wrote Deloitte.

For instance, Amazon uses personalized recommendations following the advertising phase to serve customers the exact product they're looking for. Dynamic pricing, offers based on customer behavior, and real-time product notifications can also provide targeted personalization at key moments throughout the customer journey.

And it doesn't end when someone has completed their purchase. Loyalty programs and reengagement should be tailored to someone's specific history with your brand. The more you can make a customer feel personally valued, the more likely they are to become a fan of your business for life.

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