Stay Off Prospects’ Naughty List by Sending them Relevant Content

Your great aunt Dorothy, the one you haven’t talked to (much less seen) in 15 years, hands you a flat box, decked out in green-and-red gift wrapping. She smiles, eagerly awaiting an elated cheer as you open it. Your smile is more of the nervous variety as you carefully unwrap the gift. It’s a sweater; three sizes too big, two colors too garish and one step away from going in the attic where you’ll never see it again. You turn to her and thank her with a fake smile creeping across your face.

It’s a holiday nightmare we’ve all experienced. In fact, a survey conducted by Consumer Reports last year suggests that as many as 31 percent of adults expect to return gifts they don’t like after Christmas, while 39 percent will store them out of sight in an attic or garage. That’s a whopping 70 percent of people getting a gift that they don’t want or intend to use.

Marketing campaigns can fall into the same trap when brands blast prospects and existing customers with completely irrelevant messages. Much like gift giving, the intent is good – provide prospects with information about a solution or product that could benefit them. It’s the execution that’s suspect.

Much like an ill-fitting ugly sweater, impersonal and irrelevant marketing content shows that your business or brand doesn’t actually know anything about the customer. If you did, you would have engaged them by specifying collateral to their precise business needs or operational pain points. You would have given them the perfect sweater that fits well and looks fantastic.

Similarly, just as you wouldn’t give the same gift to everyone in your family (unless you’re a grandma with that world-renowned homemade cookie recipe), businesses shouldn’t be sending the same exact marketing collateral to every one of their leads. Once again, it shows that you don’t really know your customers because you aren’t making relevant content that actually speaks to their personal needs. This time, instead of coming off as being clueless, you look lazy because the content is so impersonal.

Have you ever bought a gift for someone and known it was perfect for them? How did you decide to purchase this present? You probably took a broad look at your relationship and history with that person and used that knowledge to decide on the most fitting gift. Maybe you knew your mother was having back pains so you got her that deep-tissue massage tool. Or you knew your sister loved music, so you got her the latest version of the iPod.

Marketing campaigns should work the same way. Using data and analytics, take a deep look at what you know about customers. Have they been opening specific emails or clicking on certain social media links? This information will help you plan and design marketing materials that are made for individual leads.

The goal is to deliver the perfect marketing bundle and show prospects and customers that you understand where they are coming from and what challenges they need to overcome to succeed. By reaching them through the right channel at the right time in a way that is specific to them, you will be one step closer to securing the sale. So next time you’re about to launch a marketing campaign, make sure you’re using all the tools and info you have to give them the perfect gift.