1:1 Personalization: what does “good” look like in the post-covid new normal?


In post-covid times your website and online outreach is more important than ever, because right now, digital is one of the only channels you have to really connect with customers and buyers, so let’s look into 1:1 Personalization and how it can help.

So what does “good” look like in the new normal age of digital?

As marketing professionals, we’re all well versed in personalization, after all ANA’s 2019 Marketing Word of the Year was Personalization.

However personalization in 2020 needs to go beyond “Hi {{first_name}}” to delight prospects and create unique customer experiences.

SalesLoft echoes this sentiment with their study of over 200 million emails, and found a direct correlation between the amount of personalization and reply rate.

Similarly Hubspot’s study of over 300,000 websites found a similar correlation between personalization and CTA conversions.

To help Digital Agencies, SaaS and other online businesses, better understand the personalization landscape and explore what “good” looks like in 2020 we surveyed over 1,000 marketing professionals.


Not surprisingly the vast majority of respondents, some 97%, agreed that personalization was key to advancing customer relationships. Whilst almost 80% believe it has a strong or extremely strong impact.

Interestingly, the drivers for using personalization and the channels it was being employed revealed a wide array of opinions and options.

Email was the clear winner when it came to channel, which is no surprise considering it’s longevity in the market. Over half of marketers are now using personalization on their websites.

Considering the widespread belief in pesonalization effectiveness and usage in a wide variety of channels, surprisingly over half of marketing professionals are not satisfied with their current personalization capabilities.

Whilst as marketers we almost unanimously agree that personalization is important, confidence was low in capabilities to implement best case practices.

The Perfect Storm

What the survey shows is that whilst Marketers are clear on the benefits of implementing personalization and are thinking about it in ever more channels, many don’t have all the answers on how to implement.

If you’re a Marketing Agency, this provides a great opportunity to differentiate and show expertise in the area of Hyper-Personalization.

If you’re a SaaS or online business, this is a great way to stand ahead of your competition, steal a march and start to implement proven personalization strategies, that your competitors are struggling to grasp and leverage.

To help with this and provide some inspiration, we’ve compiled insights from leaders in the digital space, that highlight where personalization is working well…

“I would say my clients are average, 5, at implementing personalization on their sites.”

One way to increase lead conversion using personalization is to collect visitor emails and names and use their names in your outreach emails to connect on a first-name basis and inspire a relationship through email outreach.

Stacy Caprio
Founder, Accelerated Growth Marketing

Most of our clients have the technology, but have limited skills, competences, and processes to actually make it work themselves.

We recommend Video content (in a resource center), to be organically found on longtail, or have ads for. And a significant portion of that content semi-gated to get new names. That content should be the same content that answers questions buyers have at different stages of the buyer journey, as leads are not all at the beginning of their journey when they encounter your content (and you want to be able to leverage that content in nurturing and sales processes too!)

Diederik Martens
Founder at Chapman Bright

Personalization is a fast growing field in marketing. The most effective way to leverage personalization at scale is to automate personalization in your email marketing.

The more engaged your potential customers are the more you can both automatically tailor content as well as include simple details like their name in your correspondence.

The personalization in our email campaign means we often see click-through-rates on our email that can be as high as 73% for select campaigns. This method is great for any type of business that relies on customer retention, the more benefits and care you provide to repeat customers, the better of you will be.

If you have an effective personalized email campaign you can really leverage it out to other channels with method like micro-targeting ads. The future of marketing relies on personalization.

Alexander M. Kehoe
Co-Founder & Operations Director – Caveni

The Art of Service has an assessment for Personalization, checking nothing is overlooked. We’ve helped thousands of people progressing, and we release updated and new assessments frequently.

We analyzed hundreds Personalization projects and initiatives, and the data we gathered is uncovered and boiled down in the assessment covering hundreds of criteria. The assessment’s users now know which criteria are relevant, and where, in the maturity of a Personalization initiative or project.

Gerard Blokdyk
The Art of Service

On a scale of 1-10, our clients are roughly 2/10. The majority of our clients are small business owners who know digital marketing is beneficial but don’t have the time to get into the nitty-gritty of optimizing their websites, much less conversion rate optimization. Sure, some clients had tech-related positions before they went into business and could figure it out, but they’re rare.

We always recommend putting as many conversion channels on the website, or landing page, we’re working on. Some people will convert more via phone calls (we highly recommend call tracking), some people prefer forms and await an email back from the business, and others prefer a live chat option. As a digital marketing agency, we recommend testing as many conversion channels as the client allows, and we start A/B split testing the elements on the page that lead to the winning conversion channel.

John Pinedo
Cofounder of Instinct Marketing

There is no denying the critical role that personalization plays making a campaign effective.

“A person’s name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” – Dale Carnegie

Customers have shown us time and time again that this statement, despite its immense cheesiness, holds real value.

We surveyed a large sample of diverse consumers and found that 87% of them said that personally relevant branded content positively influences how they feel about a brand. So of course, we made sure that personalization takes the centerfold in our marketing strategies.

On a scale of 1-10, we find that on an average our clients are somewhere around a 5 when it comes to being equipped to implement personalization. We have also had clients that landed at around 1 or 2, and for them, we added the tools and set the stage from scratch.

According to us, the most effective strategy for lead conversion is an impeccable UI/UX and well-optimized website, which has the power to increase website traffic multifold. We believe that a website is a primary platform that facilitates the encounter between a consumer and the brand– giving the brand a chance to wow the consumer.

An informative and appealing website that successfully communicates your brand value is a major way to increase conversions from website traffic. An example of our success at personalized campaigns to increase conversion rates comes from our client, The Panther Group, which is one of the largest groups of clubs in NSW. Despite having a good turnout at their local clubs, Panther Group was unable to retain its visitors as permanent members.

Our approach to solving this problem consisted of generating personalized emails and messages to the visitors, presenting them with offers they would likely find interesting.

The results were outstanding, as we were able to convert approximately 10 thousand leads into permanent customers within a span of 3 months! For details you can read the case study here.

Our personalized marketing strategies have proven to build customer relationships, increase engagement and conversions while enabling our clients to experience a drastic increase in their ROI.

Mountainise Inc

For a layman, firstly, implementing personalization needs to be understood. It means to cater effectively to the peculiar needs of the customers while engaging them into a meaty conversation. If reports are to be believed, nearly 70 percent of users won’t let go of business if they come to know that the brand is least interested in them.

Personalized marketing is synonymous with a personalized message to a customer or user which, if followed chronologically, generates an increase in user engagement, boost conversions, and builds strong customer relationships.

It is essential to be out there to live up to the expectations of your purchaser. No matter how much we strategize ourselves, we make plans to stand out but what tops all that is the strategy of personalization; one-to-one connection with the buyer.

Think less and remember that value customers want, so that they value you. To foster the bond and to enjoy the abundant trust and adulation from your clientele, try to indulge in a direct conversation with no interference from a third party.

Jennifer Willy
Editor – Etia Travel Community

Digital Gravy, a web design & digital marketing agency in Atlanta, with over 15 years of experience in online marketing with 6, 7, and 8-figure companies both local and national.

On a scale of 1-10, most of our clients are a 2 when it comes to implementing personalization (before they hire us). However, it’s something we put a heavy focus on with as many clients as possible (not all of them “get it,” but most do).

Our main strategy involves helping clients identify the primary customer segments they serve. We then use tools to segment visitors who arrive on the site and then serve them personalized offers. This allows us to dynamically change headlines, testimonials, talking points, and other content based on the segment the visitor identifies with most. This level of personalization dramatically increases conversion rates.

Kevin Geary
CEO at Digital Gravy

Many business owners don’t understand the importance of tailoring their content and offers to the specific needs of their readers. They’re also unaware of the variety of tools available to enhance personalization on their website or they’re confused about how best to implement those tools.

When looking at lead generation, I always suggest starting with something simple like a pop-up. Pop-ups are an easy way to get attention, encourage engagement and gain subscribers.

They’re not only for offering free E-books.

Pop-ups are incredibly versatile. They can be personalized depending on what action your site visitor took before landing on your site, when they first arrived, and while they’re on a particular page.

For example, your visitor may have clicked on a link in your social media and arrived at your homepage. This is the time to make them feel welcome. Use a pop-up here to recognize that they’re new, encourage them to look around, and offer an incentive or offer on a purchase.

Returning customers and visitors will also appreciate a “welcome back.”

Anyone who’s reading one of your blog posts is often searching for information or answers on a certain topic. Don’t let them leave that page empty-handed.

We have many popular blog posts that focus on preparing a particular style of coffee. While we use inline forms on these posts, we also have a pop-up that triggers when someone is leaving the page. We offer a recipe book with 19 coffee recipes, and it’s free to download.

This is a great lead generator and it works for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it’s relevant to their interest – in this case coffee preparation – and, secondly, it’s a valuable resource that increases our brand awareness.

One final way to personalize your content for leads is by using a quiz. People love answering questions and testing their knowledge.

It’s easy to use a quiz pop-up form on any page of your site and just another example of the effectiveness of pop-ups for converting leads.

Alex Azoury
Founder & CEO, Home Grounds

There are 3 levels of personalization when it comes to lead nurturing.

First is account-based personalization, which involves understanding the specific challenges and goals of leads at a given account.

Account-based personalization requires a high-level of intelligence about a company, but those messaging points can be reused with others in different roles at that account.

The second level is role-based personalization, which has to do with nurturing leads with similar responsibilities at different accounts. These types of personalized email marketing cadences usually revolve around solving problems specific to an area of expertise.

The third level is what is known as hyper-personalization, which is done at the personal level and is usually so heavily personalized it defies automation.

“For qualified leads, invest in hyper personalization. For everyone else, stick to account and role-based personalization,” says Eric Schwartzman, a Los Angeles-based digital marketing consultant.

Account-based and role-based personalization can be 100% automated, although combining either of those approaches with some level of hyper personalization is what usually works best.

Eric Schwartzman
Schwartzman & Associates, Inc.

Here are a few lead conversion strategies on a website:

Personalized messages

Personalization and exit-intent technology work hand-in-hand. A quick mention of the customer’s first name can positively affect the way they interact with the popup. But more than that, using their buying history to provide personalized recommendations via the popup is a big plus.

One-time offers or discounts

If your goal is to convert more visitors into your leads, then placing one-time offers or discounts in exit-intent popups is essential. Give customers an offer that they can’t refuse. Make sure that you let customers know that the offers are for a limited time only. Increasing the sense of urgency can make customers buy the items that you sell immediately.

Offer free solutions. If you offer digital assets or services, you can offer them for free for a few months. The idea behind this strategy is to attract a lot of potential leads that would want to pay for your service later down the line.

Focus on visual content. Visual materials like infographics regarding precautions to protect yourself from coronavirus with your brand logo and company name on the visual can not only help customers to learn safety tips but also can boost your brand name and brand searches. Written content is undoubtedly useful but today visual materials such as infographics or videos are outperforming for marketing during this difficult time.

Rameez Ghayas Usmani
Digital Marketing Executive – PureVPN

Generally we try to be as flexible as possible regarding personalization of our client’s websites since it’s often the first time consumers come into contact with that company. We want to make a good first impression but also reflect the personality of the company because that’s ultimately one of the things that’s going to set them apart.

Greg Wise
Director of Website Development at BluShark
BluShark Digital LLC

I would say my clients are at a 6 out of 10 regarding implementing personalization. Most are using persona-based personalization at this time. As a result, there is certainly more opportunity to implement more personalization.

I recommend creating different retargeting audiences for advertising based on engagement. For example, create a “strongly interested” audience of prospects who have viewed three different content webpages in the past 30 days. Such an audience is strongly engaged and should receive their own messaging with a strong call to action to sign up for a free trial in the case of SaaS products.

Bruce Harpham

Our clients are passionate about what they do and how to help potential clients. Typically, this is reflected in Live Chat platforms, thank you newsletters, and custom campaigns that are geared towards their ideal demographic’s needs.

Adding a chatbot and fully personalizing it. Chatbots that are set up correctly can help to get past that initial roadblock of “Thanks, someone will contact you soon!”. The world is hungry for instant gratification – if you have a chatbot that is set up to A) collect their contact information and B) schedule a call through a tool like calendly, this can help the prospect feel more connected to your company.

Ashley Sterling
Director of Operations – The Loop Marketing

We have a personalization strategy that defines what real-time personalization (RTP) means for our brand. We continuously segment and gather analytics data. We’re leveraging existing content and creating customized calls-to-action for each analytics segment.

Finally, we outline which content will be delivered during each stage of the customer journey and engage in web nurturing to draw customers in.

Dotcom Dollar

We often see clients come to us with a blurry idea of their customer journey, so they’re not sure how to personalize their user experience for conversions.

For one of our clients, a CPG brand in the pet supplement category sold in several big box stores, we utilized performance metrics via Google Data Studio.

Our goal was to assess where in the funnel we needed to capture the user, and which “offer cadence” we could personalize for them in order to close the gap to produce a sale. We assessed different touchpoints on the user journey, including email (abandoned cart triggers via Klaviyo) to PPC ads (social and Google), to determine the opportune time of outreach, the best type of offer we could use to create the sale opportunity, and the most successful content (what type of ads and images worked).

Google Data Studio is an incredibly powerful tool when it comes to performance-based marketing and created a 5X return on investment for this particular client.

My best tip is to determine where optimization is needed (top for awareness and all the way to the bottom for conversion), and implement personalization at the area(s) causing the most page drop-off.

Aalap Shah, the founder/CEO
1o8 is a digital agency in Chicago focused on CPG and eCommerce brands.

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