Personalized marketing automation can make a huge different in your marketing and sales results. Even when 1:1 personal messaging platforms have become mainstream, email marketing is still the most effective way to engage customers and prospects. Today, I’ll help you create a 30-days plan to create B2B emails for your account-based marketing and sales strategy using personalization and automation to scale the process to certain degree.
Just to give you some context, there are over 5.6 billion active email accounts, of which 3.9 billion are checked by their owner every day.
Personalized marketing is also known as one-to-one marketing (1: 1, one-to-one). It consists of creating strategies, content and follow-ups focused on individuals, regardless of the size of the audience.
What Is Personalized Marketing Automation And Why You Should Use It
Personalized marketing allows organizations to have better conversions in their marketing and sales efforts. The reason for this is quite simple. Consumers prefer messages that are 100% relevant to their context. This happens in both sides of the equation, for B2B and B2C market segments.
Generally, personalized marketing relies on marketing automation, email marketing and CRM technologies to make processes scalable. This is what you would call personalized marketing automation.
With this, you (more or less) make the same effort if you want to target three people within one organization or if you want to target thousands of individuals across a variety of businesses.
Back in the days, this was quite expensive but nowadays, any business can afford decent marketing automation tools and sales engagement softwares.
Personalized marketing goes hand in hand with automated marketing. Automated marketing consists of the use of software and strategies to carry out marketing actions in an automated and scalable way. This allows organizations to be much more efficient, helping them to serve a variable number of prospects, leads or customers dynamically, even when each individual needs it.
The goal of this guide is to help you get started with personalized email marketing as an integral part of your sales and marketing strategy. This detailed guide will help you achieve better marketing and business results, especially when interacting with leads and customers at scale.
I’ve divided the guide in four weeks. I do understand that as marketers and business development people, sometimes we simply don’t have time to stop, plan and execute. But, trust on this, it doesn’t matter if you are a ninja account-based marketer or if you are just starting, there are steps that is better to not skip.
Fair enough, there are steps you can accelerate based on your experience, time, and resources.
Steps To Create A Personalized Marketing Automation Strategy And Game Plan
Week 1: Define Your Commercial Goals
To create a personalized and automated marketing strategy, the most important step is to start with your business objectives.
Clearly define what your goals are. For this, you will probably have to be aligned with other departments or people in your organization, since in many cases there will be parallel objectives.
The following video will help you define these business goals, specially if you are also thinking about personalized video marketing:
For example, perhaps the sales team wants to increase the percentage of qualified leads by 10%, as well as decrease the closing of sale to one month and increase the number of closings by 5%.
In turn, the customer experience team may want to increase the average customer retention from one year to a minimum of two years, and LTV by $200.
This will determine every detail from here. Personalized marketing and its automation is not about luck, but about strategy.
During this first week, talk to the different stakeholders in your organization regarding this project. Understand what their processes, needs, interests and objections are with respect to the current state of the strategy in place or previous strategies.
This will help you in later phases to choose the necessary tools to achieve the objectives. Likewise, if there is a need to make an investment in tools, advertising or the like, it will be easier to get the necessary resources if they are shared between several departments.
For example, if this strategy is used as part of your Christmas video marketing strategy, you may want to share save some budget by sharing goals with other departments. This is a smart way of saving money from your own department’s budget.
Week 2: Analyze Your Customer Base
Study your database of current, past and potential clients. The goal is to find patterns that help you determine who and how your customers are, and from that point to reach your ideal customer for the personalized and automated communications that you will send.
There are several ways to do this study:
- If you have a CRM or similar tool, this task is likely to be easier. Analyze the information based on said tool.
- You can also use spreadsheets. It is very common for sales teams to use spreadsheets. The more standardized the information structure, the easier the task of pattern analysis will be. This exercise is likely to help you organize your information better and even update your segmentation criteria.
- Speak directly with different people on the sales team. Ask them questions that lead you to understand what prospects, leads, and customers really are like. Look for patterns regarding their concerns, purchase motivations, and objections.
- Conduct customer surveys, interviews and/or quizzes to help you get to know your target audience better.
- Analyze customer support conversations and/or speak with the agents who hold them.
Here is a video I recommend regarding audience segmentation:
With this starting information, create a specific segment that you will target. Extract patterns to outline the ideal buyer persona or client and focus on the identified characteristics.
Week 3: Personalized Messages And Hyper-personalization
In the first half of this week, select the information that you can use to create personalized and hyper-personalized messages.
The more contextualized these messages are, the better.
So, just sort all data column headers or titles you can use in a list or spreadsheet.
Especially at the beginning, it will be much easier if you only choose the data that you mostly have. That is, ignore the data that is generally poor because it is not present in the database of the audience you have chosen.
This other video will help you think creatively when selecting the personalized fields you will use later:
In the following list I mark in bold the data that we hypothetically have, and in gray the data that we mostly do not have:
- name Company name
- Date of last contact
- Name of the product or service purchased
- Name of the product or service on which you requested information
- Agent who talked with the lead
- Reason for not buying
Taking into account the above list, we would only use the data in black. It is likely that not all the contacts in your chosen database have this information, however do not worry, since we will see later how to do it in those cases.
With this information you can create a synthesized version of buyer persona. The buyer persona is an archetype of the ideal client of your service or product, down to earth, based on real knowledge about current or past clients.
At first glance, it sounds like science fiction, but remember that you have been researching for more than two weeks by now.
The buyer persona takes into account specific sociodemographic data and information on aspects such as their online, personal, professional behavior, as well as their relationship with your company and its products or services.
Personalized Message Distribution: From Email to Personal Messaging
During the second half of the week, you will focus on choosing the appropriate distribution channel based on your targeted audience.
Focus on the distribution channel that you consider the most successful with respect to past initiatives towards the same audience.
Naturally, you must have the appropriate contact information.
In later phases, you will be able to customize the distribution channel, but at the beginning I recommend that you focus on one channel.
In B2B environments it is very common to use email. In B2C environments, the use of email is also very common, however in recent years channels such as Facebook Messenger, Twitter or WhatsApp have become very important.
I recommend that you start by emailing your target audience, since there are more tools available on the market to send personalized emails at scale.
However, you can also use SMS, chatbots, and even display ads.
Regardless of the distribution channel you choose, I have good news for you: any type of content can be personalized in your marketing and sales communications.
This means that you can customize the texts, images, videos, audios and files such as PDF. In fact, you can even send letters by post.
Choose The Right Tools For Your Personalized Marketing Campaign
Once you’ve chosen your distribution channel, it’s time to talk about tools.
There are many tools you can use to create personalized email content and campaigns. The choice of one or the other will depend on several factors such as:
- Needs of your team and organization.
- Budget assigned
- If it will be a continuous or one-off use
- Size of the database
- Other functionalities required within the same tool to avoid duplication (analytics, CRM, sending SMS, chatbots, etc.)
- Connection with other business tools
- Level of dedication and knowledge of the tool by the person who will execute the strategies
- And more.
These are some simple tools that I recommend for sending automated emails. These tools are valid in a wide range of uses and business typologies with small and medium audiences in mind:
Week 4: Create Personal Messages At Scale And A/B Test
It is probably the most fun week. At last, it’s time to create, experiment and try again.
Create the personalized email scripts, or any other type of message that you have chosen, taking into account all the dynamic data that you will use.
Remember that any type of content can be personalized. For example, personalized videos are very effective in increasing success rates related to clicks, email opens, and sales. With the right strategy in place, ppersonalized videos with personalized calls-to-action are about 200% more effective.
Taking into account the list of data that I mentioned above, below I will create an example for a fictitious person, B2B.
- Name: John
- Surname: Doe
- Company name: Loving Insurance Brokers
- Position: Human Resources Manager
- Country: Mexico
- Industry: Insurance
- Date of last contact
- Name of the product or service purchased: HR Portal
- Name of the product or service you requested information: integration with Sage 50
- Agent who talked with the lead: Ramiro
- Reason for not buying
From this information, you can create an email structure, which will form a personalized email template that, once optimized, you can use in other campaigns.
Here is an example of an email template with dynamic fields:
How are you doing today? I understand that these weeks are being crazy in [Country]. We have many clients there.
The reason I am writing to you is because [Agent who talked with lead] told me that you are interested in knowing more about [Name of the product or service on which he requested information].
In your case, as you are already a customer of [Name of product or service purchased], I have good news for you.
I understand that in [Industry] it is vital to have this upgrade for better management of human resources in an agile way. Especially now that many work from home.
Therefore, you have the option to enjoy [Name of the product or service on which you requested information] with just one click. It is an addon in your user panel, for a one-time payment of 599 USD.
I’d love to help you with this. Are you available for a call tomorrow 10 AM your time or Wednesday 4PM? If you prefer, here is my calendar: URL.
Looking forward to hearing from you.
I recommend sending follow-up emails based on the user’s interaction with the personalized email. For example, if the email has not been opened in 3 days, you may want to send another email automatically. Or if the email was opened but the person did not reply, you may want to call the person on the phone.
Usually you will schedule two to three more emails, sent over the course of two weeks. This is something you should A/B test.
Once you’ve written your ideal message, select a percentage of your target audience to A/B test all personalized messages.
Based on the total size, I generally recommend 10% of the total, which in turn you can divide into subgroups.
The goal is that you don’t “burn” your database the first time, but that most people receive an already optimized message.
In the case of email, the most important step at the beginning is to optimize the title and the first line of content of email, since it is what many will use as a reference to say whether to open it or not.
A/B Testing Your Personalized Marketing Automation Campaigns
At this point, it’s time to make your first A/B tests. When you have done this, wait around a week to assess the results.
You should pay attention mainly to:
- Opening rates
- Percentage of emails
- Percentage of response
- Percentage of clicks (if there is a link in the message)
- Percentage of bounces (“bounce)
- Percentage of unsubscribes
Once you have these results, you should assess what data to focus on to make improvements in your conversion for further testing or for scaling up the strategy. Generally, email opening data is the most important and easier to retrieve.