With the abundance of technology available to marketers, consumers now expect a certain level of personalization from their online experiences. They want personalized ads, suggestions, services, and interactions with brands. As a result, brands are setting up chatbots that tailor responses based on what the consumer needs. Thankfully, this is now all possible by artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Therefore, businesses of all sizes can personalize their approach to Facebook, Google, and other platforms. However, how can any business expect to personalize across all channels when there’s just so much to do elsewhere? In the past, plenty of businesses have wasted months just trying to personalize the experience for consumers across all platforms. While we admire the commitment, business is about working smarter rather than harder.
In this guide, you’re going to learn all about cross-channel personalization and how you can implement the practice most effectively!
We wouldn’t want to insult the intelligence of experienced marketers, but we also don’t want to leave anyone behind in this guide. Therefore, cross-channel personalization is the idea of creating a seamless experience for all consumers regardless of the platforms they use. Sometimes referred to as omnichannel personalization, the goal is to cater to the needs of users across several platforms all at the same time.
Is cross-channel the same as multi-channel? In the introduction, we were careful to use the phrase ‘across’ rather than ‘on’ all channels, and this was intentional. While multi-channel refers to each individual channel and the personalization on each, cross-channel personalization describes the seamless experience between them all. For example, how a business uses web browser data to target social media. Rather than a segmented approach, you’ll bring them all together to accommodate the individual’s experience.
Before anything, we’re starting with a quick word of caution; you’ll need to show some patience when it comes to cross-channel personalization. It’s not something you’ll achieve overnight so keep plugging away and keep following the tips in this next section.
But this applies to all marketing, right? Yes, but it’s critical to understand customer intent if you’re to personalize and create content that resonates across all platforms. What does the customer actually want to see? Only when you answer this question can you take the first step towards a cross-channel personalization strategy.
At the moment, you may have a buyer persona and an idea of your perfect customer. Now, we’re going to take this one step further and segment the audience. The larger the business, the more unrealistic that you can squeeze all customers into the same category. Be willing to segment your audience and start producing tailored content for each.
Use research data and all the data available in the business to segment the audience; from here, you’ll generate a responsible approach to each group. Without this deep understanding of all customers, you won’t personalize properly across AI email, chatbots, and other communication tools.
For each buyer persona or segment, include the following information:
Additionally, you could include their preferred device and other information that differs between segments to make personalization that little bit easier later in the process.
Up until now, you’ve probably been running all channels independently. In other words, they have no impact on one another. Now, it’s time to bring them all under the same umbrella and create a cohesive connection between them all. Each channel should contribute to the story presented by your brand - this isn’t to say that they all offer the same experience for customers. Instead, allow each channel to contribute its own section of the story.
Ensure that all social media pages are linked, that there’s a link to your blog on all channels, and that consumers can move easily between them. Equally, your website and online store should contain links to social media. For some, they treat social media channels as an extension of their website. Therefore, they aim to keep navigation simple across all channels.
Every year, thousands of businesses start their journey towards a cross-channel approach and realize that, until now, everything was operating independently. Although they had social media channels, e-commerce stores, and search strategies, they weren’t working together. With no coordination, you can’t highlight the behavior of consumers and get accurate reports back. Everything centers around the product and brand rather than the customer…cross-channel personalization changes this mentality.
If you aren’t already, you should always communicate with customers as much as possible. With clear lines of communication, customers receive important information, and they feel connected to the brand. Especially in the current market, where the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting businesses all over the country, communication is key. With one eye on personalization, make sure that each segment of your audience understands everything they need to continue enjoying the experience with the company.
If you’ve had to close physical locations, personalized communication could inform them that their membership fee is frozen until the location opens again. With a cross-channel strategy, this communication occurs across Facebook, Instagram, the website, YouTube, Twitter, and other core channels.
We’ve spoken about the front end, and now we’re going to the back end. You can make the whole marketing team’s life much easier by centralizing all customer data. With an advanced online tool, integrate all channels and bring all data into this one location rather than accessing customer data through the individual channels.
You may need to pay for a tool to achieve this, but the investment is returned (and then some) just in the time you save not having to log into each channel and glean information from the data. In addition to compiling data in one place, tools of this nature also identify trends, spot gaps in the market, and suggest actionable insights.
With all data in one place, it’s easier to make strategy-wide decisions (and you spend more time acting rather than reflecting).
Bringing everything together, the goal of your marketing team is to tell your story and personalize all content. With centralized data, you understand what customers from the different segments seek from brand interactions. Using functional data, many brands use email campaigns to add some storytelling to the strategy. With a cross-channel approach, you should experience a boost to your loyalty program too.
By telling a story and personalizing content, you enjoy two benefits:
Finally, we wouldn’t be doing our job if we didn’t recommend retargeting as part of a cross-channel personalization strategy. With the right strategy, you’ll put everything we’ve discussed in this guide together to retarget those who have performed a specific action on the website, social media platform, or another location. For example, target those who have liked a social media channel, engaged with a post, or left an abandoned cart on the website.
Don’t give up on a customer after just one interaction; sometimes, it takes a few shots to transform a lead into a customer. With retargeting, you remind the customer of your presence and this may lead to a sale. As expected, you’ll need to personalize the message based on customer data. If they’re searching from a different device or their needs have changed, a cross-channel personalization strategy helps to offer the right information at the right time regardless.
Learn from what worked and didn’t work in the past to connect with your audience a second time and, hopefully, convert this time.
Can you take personalization lightly? No, and this is because nine in every ten customers prefer brands with tailored recommendations and offers. With these tips, you can finally introduce a successful strategy and adhere to the demands of the modern-day customer. Cross-channel personalization helps you improve the customer experience and boost both engagement and loyalty.
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