This translated quote from Blaise Pascal reveals a couple of interesting things about the author. First he is familiar enough with the reader to know that the letter contains information irrelevant to him/her. Second, the author considers his time more valuable than that of the reader’s. Rather than re-draft a more concise and relevant letter, the author chooses to put the onus on the reader to pick out the meaningful bits.
The relationship between business and customer is not so different than that of author to reader. There is an inherent interdependence that has always existed, though not always appropriately valued.
When businesses communicate impersonally, it reflects a lack of value they have for their customers.
In our increasingly connected world, consumers are inundated with advertising, news, and various other forms of digital distraction. As a result, the attention span of a customer has dwindled to a few precious seconds spent glancing at an email subject line and 15 seconds or less scanning a website for useful information.
Every second a customer spends on a website hunting for a reason to stay brings them a second closer to leaving – abandoning your message, your site, or worse, your business altogether.
On the flip side, this connectedness means that we know so much more about our consumers than we ever have. When faced with the exceedingly challenging task of grabbing a consumers attention in an immediate gratification society, there’s hope!
Personalization can help us write a shorter letter.
Consumers value personalization. At Simple Energy, by simply promising a more personal experience in a recent subject line, we saw a 20% increase in email open rates. By introducing new individualized energy usage stats to our weekly communications, we provided better context for why the consumer should care about the featured content. As a result, we saw a jump of 23% in click-through rates.
These are just a few examples highlighting email communications. To get the full benefit, making good on the promise of personalization requires application throughout the entire customer experience.
At each touchpoint, we should answer the following:
Who is the audience?
What characteristics or behaviors best describe the customer(s)?
What do we want them to do/think/feel?
What result or action do you want your message to instigate?
Why will they care?
Why will this information will be valuable to the customers? Are there specific segments of customers that align to those value propositions?
How will they interact?
In what format or channel is this information most useful? At what time is it useful?
And don’t forget — admitting that not every message or experience will benefit every customer is half the battle.
Sometimes less…is a whole lot more.