Personalization marketing and personalized marketing have become the baseline expectation of most consumers (that means your chamber members, too).
If you use technology on a regular basis, chances are you’ve become a little spoiled. Most of us want things quick and easy. Because of that, we find it frustrating when we have to wade through things we don’t want to see and that have no bearing on what we are interested in. We may even decide to get off the site or phone or stop using the technology altogether.
For example, this morning my Alexa played music she thought I would enjoy.
She was wrong but it wasn’t her fault my music taste results had been tainted by my children adding their songs to my library, thus skewing what Alexa interprets as “my” musical taste. It annoyed me and I found myself telling it that I never wanted to hear another song by that artist again.
Alexa, of course, ignored me.
It’s likely your members have become spoiled like me. They are so used to personalization and their technology knowing something about them that when the technology doesn’t bring them what they expected, they get frustrated. This expectation has made a marketer’s job more difficult.
Still, because of this expectation, you need to keep up with personalization marketing trends. While you may not be able to do the same types of marketing campaigns that a Fortune 100 company can, there are some areas that you should be personalizing.
What is Personalization Marketing?
We first talked about personalization marketing on this blog in 2016. Since then, the technology and the use of it in other areas of your members’ lives have exploded. It’s an expectation, not just a nice thing to have. Since it’s an expectation, if you don’t get on the trend your members and potential members may feel like you’re not keeping up with best practices in business.
That’s not good.
Personalization takes on many forms and some of them have been around for a while. For instance, mail merges where you address someone by name have been around for as long as word processing software has been. Running events use personalized bibs to instill a sense of urgency for signups.
While that is one component of rudimentary personalization, it goes beyond that and can affect many things such as the timing, content, next steps, website pages, and more.
So let’s get into how chambers can use personalization marketing in the most effective way to get and retain members.
Emails: Form Fields and Content
In order to provide the most value and obtain the most conversions, you need to personalize your emails. At the most basic level that means personalizing who you address them to. Never address an email to “member.” Take the time to add their first name to the email.
If you have email marketing software, there are likely many form fields you can personalize. You should do as many of those as make sense for the type of email you’re sending out.
However, beware that your database may be missing those fields for several members. When that happens, some email software will simply insert the name of the field. For instance, if you are missing the first name of one of your members, some software will simply insert “first name” in the empty spot. This looks very amateurish. So before you start getting fancy with your email marketing and use of form fields, make sure they’re populated.
Another way to personalize emails is through activity history and interaction-based sends. This is how nurture campaigns work. In a potential member marketing campaign, you would send out emails to people who have been in touch with you, provided you with contact information, and agreed to receive communications from you in the future. When you send out these emails, recipients will do one of two things. Either they will open them or they won’t.
You can personalize action and future messages received by the interaction they have with your communications. In this instance, people who open the email would receive one set of future communications, while people who didn’t, would receive another. The people who opened might then be marked as a “warm” lead having shown interest. The people who didn’t may be considered a cold one. No action on their behalf would keep them at the same level of the membership sales funnel they’ve been in, instead of advancing to the next level.
In fact, email nurturing and marketing campaigns are becoming standard practice to the point that even inexpensive marketing software like MailChimp is offering these features now.
You can also personalize membership benefits. More chambers are moving toward tiered membership dues. One of the reasons forcing that change is the desire to give members more customized or personalized services.
Some chambers are putting together tiers based around particular services a business may need such as a marketing or social media marketing tier, a public-relations tier, or even a home-based business tier. That type of personalization marketing allows members to get the benefits they want without paying for benefits they won’t use. It has become a very popular way to attract new members.
Get More Details on Personalizing Your Chamber Memberships.
Don’t forget to personalize your sponsorships. Your chamber has a lot of different types of members. From the business that is just starting out to ones that have been operating in your town almost as long as your town has been around. You may have Fortune 500 companies as well as Mom and Pop or solopreneur members. These member businesses have different needs and are able to invest in different ways.
Before approaching any of them for a sponsorship, personalize your approach to what they most need from the chamber. That could be something like more customers or improving their reputation. Offering personalized sponsorships will make these businesses more likely to invest since you are approaching them and offering to help them with a problem or goal they have.
Creating a one-size-fits-all sponsorship program will still bring in some sponsorship dollars but you will be much more successful if you meet your members’ targeted needs.
The time of offering some events just because you’re a chamber of commerce and it’s what people expect are gone. Instead, you want to personalize your event and learning offerings based on what your members need.
For instance, if your member population is comprised of people who are finding it more and more difficult to join you in the middle of the day, you may need to revisit your lunch and learns or personalize them in a way that makes them more appealing. One way to do this is by making them available online so members can watch them from their desks as they eat lunch or on their own schedule.
You also want to personalize the kind of events you’re hosting, as well as topics and content you cover. For instance, if you bring in someone to talk about social media best practices, you want to tailor it to the level of knowledge of your audience. If they’re newbies, and just learning how to do social media for their businesses, the topics you cover will be very different than if they’ve been using social media since it started.
The way you do events should also be personalized to your group. For example, most chambers have a member appreciation event. Some of them host formal galas. Several chambers noticed their attendance numbers dropping on formal events. However, when they toyed with new formats, like making it a family-friendly event, their numbers bounced back up again. You want to tailor the type of event you’re having to what your members need and want.
Bonus: Web Pages/Content
Here’s a bonus idea for you.
If you have a little extra money in the budget, or a little more technological know-how, you can create landing pages and customized content specific to your web visitors’ needs. Remember those cookies we talked about earlier? (Or pixels on Facebook, for that matter?), you can customize what a web visitor sees based on past interaction with you.
For example, if someone visits your website and is identified as a current member it is possible to use the landing pages or customize content to show them information on things members would be interested in such as member perks.
On the other hand, if someone who is identified as a prospective member comes to your page, a “Join Now” pop-up could appear.
These examples of personalization require very little investment outside of time and they can make a big impression on your audience. Personalization also helps cut down on the noise and unwanted content, something your members and potential members will appreciate. And it’s something you’ll appreciate when you begin converting larger percentages by directly targeting what they’re interested in.