There are many buzzwords surrounding brands’ presence on LinkedIn that get your strategy nowhere. “Personalisation” isn’t one of them. Creating a tailor-made customer experience has become a viable trend over the years. It can directly impact your ROI, as the users expect that brands offer something more than a one-size-fits-all approach.
It’s not only tied to social media – from contact centre communication with users to discount coupons based on earlier purchases you sent via email, customisation efforts are appreciated, but there are many benefits you can gain by putting in the work to make personalised CX on an essential platform such as LinkedIn.
We know it may sound like a lot. Still, by taking time to analyse and prepare a proper strategy, you may see a sharp increase in customer retention and better audience loyalty, strengthening your brand image overall.
Let’s take it one step at a time and build up a proper personalised experience for your customers and the users that are yet to become a part of that group. An appropriate place to start is with your audience itself.
Understand your audience and their journey
Everybody thinks they know their customers, but in reality, many brands can’t really define the specifics of their audience. You need to take a step back and start over to get the right picture essential in the long run.
Before you even tackle the customer experience, the first part of getting to know them involves defining the type of users, segmenting them into groups and categorizing them to apply the right approach. Sorting the specific audiences allows for a more detailed approach to each user.
If you’re unsure of where to start, you can first split them by their current relationship with your brand:
- Qualified leads/prospects
- Formed relationships
- Returning customers
- Brand ambassadors
Of course, depending on the type of your brand, you can introduce other categories. For example, should your communication be more geared towards B2B or B2C targets if you’re offering online courses? It’s all about matching the right type of content with the appropriate audience group.
Always strive to go into more detail – the more detailed you get and the more data you acquire, it will be easier to tailor your communication later on. Some of the ways to achieve this are using existing resources, such as mailing or remarketing lists, and information from CRM tools or social listening platforms.
Multiple other aspects can help you later on in understanding their path and predict the important patterns. By crafting buyer personas, you will start seeing the ways to improve your communication. There are some important questions to ask here:
- What is their motivation?
- What are their pain points?
- What are their buying biases?
Map customers’ paths
After you’ve got hold of who your customers truly are, it’s time to focus on the phases of their journey. The base you’ve built will help you adapt to the ways their engagement changes along the way.
This usually corresponds with your typical sales funnel, but the key is not to focus on your perspective but rather to put yourself in their shoes and visualise the path they’re going to take.
Customer journeys are always changing, and it can be tricky to pin down the exact steps. Your aim here is to map your audience’s average journey while also understanding other points that may occur. The easiest way to track this is by observing the most important stages:
This will be the foundation to assess the current state of the journey. This knowledge should also come from their perspective. Note that this is where you are still analysing the roadmap (we will come to the ways to act on that soon).
Only by understanding everything they will encounter along the way can you figure out what needs to be added so you can start improving and offering a truly personal experience.
Now you should look at all of the checkpoints that can benefit from a personalised approach and think about strategic steps that will make the process go smoother.
This, once again, can become much simpler by asking the right questions. Assuming the customers’ point of view here can make the difference. The questions should provide you with actionable answers for the next steps:
- Is there any personalisation already present, and at which phases?
- Is there any additional room for custom communication?
- Which steps slow down the process?
- Can you simplify the journey?
- What points allow for the promotion of conversions?
You probably see by now that personalisation is never just about addressing the individual but also about answering their specific issues with the experience. For example, if you’re promoting something specifically for small businesses, such as a payroll service, you may recognise that many prospects are dropping out early as they’re unsure about what they gain from this. This is where you can come in and create an explanation for this group of customers.
After you look at the journey in this way and have a better understanding of the phases your customers go through, you can set small goals that need to be achieved along the way to make each phase as personalised as possible.
Adapt your communication to become more efficient
When your roadmap is complete, it’s time to put things in motion. Take your time introducing changes that will make creating custom communication simpler and find the right platforms that can help you be more efficient.
One of the first improvements you should consider is the implementation of LinkedIn automation tools. These can help you and your team with productivity while also opening some additional possibilities for customising you didn’t use before.
CRMS, welcome emails and chatbots are some of the first associations when talking about this side of automation. By choosing the right tool, you can take everything a step further and communicate your messages in a tailor-made way that suits each predefined group. This allows for committing to one-on-one relationships more, as it’s far easier to manage them all at once with some automated help at your disposal.
The best thing about this is that you can do it in real-time. For example, you can create a message relevant for a specific user by name and other specific details that could be beneficial for the interaction. When you’ve tracked all of the specifics of your audience, the possibilities for variation are virtually endless.
LinkedIn tools can also help you go in more depth with your analytics. You can use the gathered data to decide where to focus more of your efforts and try something different. With the adequate tools, there are even options for automated learning that will further help you with your audience’s segmentation and create dedicated lists for all of the groups that may be relevant.
These are great ways to improve productivity and leave space for prioritising tasks that are better left to your supervision. Not only that this saves time across your team, but that’s the time you spend truly committing to creating custom content.
The improvements don’t only involve the funnel – the overall shift of focus to this kind of approach includes personalisation in writing the content that you publish, crafting explanations that touch upon your buyer personas’ pain points and having a more mindful perspective on communication.
This also means that when you automate, when you decide on the perfect moment to step in yourself, you’ll have more space to decide on a perfect tactic to make the transition happen and use it to your advantage. It could be as simple as personally following up a video targeted to senior employees or resharing a piece of content that did especially well among your audience on other channels or in your newsletter, for example.
A personalised business way of work should be made from the ground up. This means that it reaches far more than just LinkedIn into touchpoints that it may lead to.
Make sure your landing pages are optimised and in line with the communication that led the users there. Making everyone end up in the same place no matter the journey can lessen your effort.
Follow-ups in a newsletter and similar platforms should also feed into previous communication, especially when talking about nurturing relationships and retaining customers with tailor-made offers.
As you’ve surely noticed by now, this is a strategic decision, so all touchpoints should be shifted accordingly. Of course, this is a process, but you should be ready to make any needed adjustments along the way.
Experiment and learn along the way
The path that leads to completely personalised customer service is seldom straightforward. You must build a habit of testing and applying the lessons if you’re truly determined to succeed and stand out from the crowd in the long run.
The most effective way to do this is A/B testing. The automated tools we talked about can help you track everything and get the most relevant information, including your users, their behaviour and interaction with your content.
Pick an audience group and try out different ways and levels of personalisation. For example, one could be based on addressing single users as if you’re handling a one-on-one conversation, while the other could be more group-focused. Hold that approach through the phases of their journey and take note of the results.
You can create dashboards or documents containing conclusions, so you can cross-reference them later on and combine the things that worked the best. When you notice the results are stagnating or dropping in any phase, look at the changes you tracked and try moving elements around until you come upon a new template that works in the specific case.
Keep in mind that you’re not only competing with your direct competitors, but you’re also battling short attention spans caused by a saturated digital-first market. That’s why no matter your brand type, only by tweaking and reacting to the results can you achieve your goals.
It’s not just about adapting your approach to customers, too – you should also be on the lookout for your industry trends, business insights and the ways you can include new technology advancements to get on top of the market and stay ahead.
Piecing it all together
Deciding on personalising your communication efforts and approaching customer experience in a tailor-made way is all about the human connection complemented by the right tools and continuous experimenting.
The example of RingCentral vs Vonage tool for customer support can give you an idea of how overall personalisation is an important topic if you’re not convinced by now, so you should take that into account when thinking about if some step of the way is too in-depth for you to implement on LinkedIn, as there is a large number of customers that will (hopefully) come from this channel.
As you’re moving forward, start by reassessing your audience. Make sure you understand them well – think about their reasoning and needs. This will lead you to a better understanding of their journey and help you map out the path they’ll take in engaging with your brand and product.
After you have a strong grip on these important topics, you should move into setting goals and steps you need to reach them. Consider introducing technological help to make things smoother. Make sure that your whole business is on the same page – as we discussed, this isn’t a single-channel approach.
Keep evolving and stay persistent. By investing time and resources to build meaningful relationships and dedicate more attention to your audience, you will see benefits in the long run, both to your measurable results through KPIs and brand image strength across the board.
Originally published Jun 10, 2021, updated Jan 17, 2023