diverse people communicate

Every day, we walk and scroll past hundreds — even thousands — of advertisements, emails, text messages, and alerts.

In order to cope with information-overload, we often result to ignoring (or forgetting) them.

These messages don’t resonate with us for any number of reasons. But most likely, they just aren’t relevant to us. We see ads for mattresses when we just bought a new bed, notifications about a new movie when we’re already binge-watching our favorite show, or countless other communications that just don’t catch our attention.

As consumers, these messages may just be a minor inconvenience or annoyance that we automatically tune out. But they can also represent a huge threat for businesses. In fact, interruptive, non-relevant communications can affect a business or brand’s reputation for years to come.

One study found that nearly one-half of all consumers will turn their back on a brand that is showing them messages they feel are irrelevant.

To add to the woes for brands trying to reach consumers, estimates show that as much as $37 billion is wasted on poor communications. A huge portion of that waste is the result of low relevancy, lack of personalization, and inaccurate targeting.

This doesn’t just apply to advertising or marketing messages.

Even appointment reminders can suffer from a lack of relevancy that could be vastly improved with targeted personalization.

All of this points toward an easy solution. To overcome many of the issues that make modern communication difficult and annoying, businesses need to simply invest in personalization.

The reality is that in the digital age, marketers and business owners have access to data and technology that allows them to deliver precision-focused, targeted messaging that is both personalized and relevant.

Not only will this make for better, smarter, and more effective communication, but it also helps humanize the business and meet the needs of individual consumers.

Human desire for personalization

Personalization isn’t just a buzzword that gets tossed around corporate boardrooms and on marketing blogs. People want, respond to, and are more happy about communication that feels personally tailored to them and their needs or interests. It’s a true, scientific fact.

In a study from the University of Texas, researchers identified two key components that drive consumer desire for personalization:

  1. Desire for control.
  2. Information overload.

If we unpack both these conclusions, the findings should ring true to anyone who is also a consumer. First and foremost, we — as humans — like to feel as though we have some control over our lives and the messages being communicated to us. As such, even having some small level of control over those messages (e.g., by our past actions or show of interest) gives us some certainty about what communications we will or won’t receive.

Secondly, we also see that the sense of information overload drives the desire for personalization. In a world where we are constantly bombarded with messages, Tweets, push notifications, and alerts, it makes sense that part of our response — our defense mechanism — is to find shortcuts and simple ways to filter and control those communications. We need a quick and effective way to determine if something is actually worth our time and energy. One great way to parse this out is to look for personalization.

If a message immediately seems to be relevant and personal to me, then it makes sense that it’s likely something I should take the time to understand rather than ignore.

You likely practice this every single day. You receive messages from friends and immediately assume they are personal and relevant to you. But you likely ignore the ones that seem robotic or look like advertisements.

As a business owner, you may feel like you’re on the wrong side of this equation.

But implementing smart personalization strategies will allow your business to feel more human and will make your messages more meaningful and relevant. Whether it’s advertising or appointment reminders, data and technology can help you achieve better results.

Types of personalization

To understand how to use personalization in your business communications, let’s first break down the different types of personalization and how they are applied in various scenarios.

Three main types of personalization are:

  1. Explicit personalization.
  2. Implicit personalization.
  3. Predictive personalization.

Each of these looks a bit different and can be used at different points with customers or clients in order to improve their experience, humanize your brand, and drive business results.

Explicit personalization is using data or information that a consumer has explicitly given you in order to personalize communications, messaging, and other details. This is generally seen as the most basic form of personalization — things like merging a customer’s name into an email or sending them a birthday message.

Even this subtle personalization, which solutions like Apptoto make easy to use, can have a big effect. In fact, until fairly recently, there was not a way to effectively do this at scale. Technology has made it possible.

Implicit personalization goes a step further to take a user’s past behavior to personalize messages to them. We see this all the time, most often in retargeting messages or abandoned cart emails. The user implicitly expressed interest in something by either browsing certain pages on a website, signing up for a product or service, or adding items to a cart (but not purchasing).

This kind of personalization has obvious implications for advertising or marketing messages. But it can also be applied to appointment reminders, pulling in explicit customer or client details to reinforce the value of an upcoming appointment.

Example of an ad retargeting flow.

Predictive personalization is an even more powerful tool that many companies are using to understand user behavior without specific flags or clues. This approach often involves large customer data sets and algorithms that determine which actions are correlated with what future purchases or interests.

For instance, Amazon is able to predict which items a customer is most likely to buy next based on their past purchase history and current browsing patterns.

Each of these approaches has its own benefits and requires differing levels of data, technology, and sophistication.

In general, though, it is fairly simple for businesses to use personalization to drive more business and humanize the experience for customers.

How to implement personalization

To get started with personalization, you don’t need anything other than the right tools.

For instance, any number of strategies in Google Adwords can be tracked and refined to reach the right people with relevant information. General remarketing ads can be used for those that have visited your site before, or you can get even more specific with dynamic advertising based on a certain page people have visited.

When it comes to appointment reminders, Apptoto allows customers to send personalized messages with or without a sophisticated customer database solution. Using the app, customers can record, upload, or generate custom, personalized voice messages and reminders.

The system also allows you to send one-off messages and notifications. These could be related to your business or simply messages aimed at building a relationship with customers or clients.

In each case, the ability to personalize communications allows your business to feel more human to the person receiving the message. It also provides a higher level of service than a simple, generic message.

To implement personalization at scale, Apptoto allows you to store personalized customer data and then automatically use it to personalize messages and reminders.

Using a mail-merge-like feature, you can pull in personalized details about the appointment or individual and use it to deliver targeted, relevant, and important information.

As your personalization strategy matures, you can expand with integrations and use data from multiple sources to understand and predict customer actions and preferences.

Consumers are increasingly demanding a more personalized experience, and your needs for tools and data will likely grow in the future.

So, whether you’re looking to implement an advanced personalization strategy or you just want the flexibility to send personalized messages to individuals, Apptoto allows you to grow your personalization strategy as your needs change.

Start simple with the right tools — then look for opportunities to expand your strategy in the future.