5 Tools for Personalizing and Customizing Your Marketing This Holiday Season

opinionThe following is an exclusive guest contributed post from John Thies, CEO & Co-founder of Email on Acid.

Retailers and marketers worth their salt know that an effective marketing campaign is essential for making the most of the Christmas shopping season. If you can’t attract eyes to your brand, then you’re going to seriously miss out on the single most profitable time of the year.

Marketing customized to your brand and personalized to your customers is a must in our modern, online-enabled world. Since it’s about that time to start building your campaigns for the holidays, we’ve put together a short list of online tools you can use to create unique and laser-focused marketing.

  • Google Analytics

Google Analytics is the world’s most popular web analytics suite. (Would you expect anything less from a tool bearing the Google name? It gives you tons of insight into who visits your website, where they come from, and what they do once they get there. This information can help you identify your most profitable customer segments and tailor your marketing to them.

The statistics suite operates on a freemium model, which makes it a solid choice for businesses both small and large. One tier of the software even includes analytics and an SDK for investigating how your mobile app performs with customers. And if app analytics are a priority for you, there are a ton of other options to choose from.

  • Salesforce Marketing Cloud

Salesforce is a ubiquitous name in the marketing world for good reason. The Marketing Cloud provides tools for managing your email marketing, sending mobile alerts through SMS and push notifications, engaging with customers through social media and monitoring their engagement, managing your ad campaigns using integrated CRM data, and collecting browsing behavior on your website.

Any one of these tools offers a variety of ways to track customer behavior and target them with tactics that are personally relevant, not to mention the opportunities for creating a consistent marketing voice for your brand. The only problem is Salesforce isn’t cheap, which might not make it a viable option for small businesses.

  • BizSlate

Your inventory might affect how you decide to market to your customers. You might decide to advertise a fresh shipment of an item that’s been flying off the shelf or try to promote another that hasn’t been moving for a few weeks. Whatever your strategy, you’ll need a tool for your inventory management, which is where BizSlate can help.

It’s perfect for small and mid-sized businesses, and it includes solutions for inventory management, order management and inventory allocation, plus integrations for accounting, e-commerce and EDI. Best of all, it has customer management tools that allow you to track what people buy, which is information you can later use in your directed marketing.

If BizSlate doesn’t have exactly what your business needs, there are a slew of other inventory management products that might interest you.

  • Formstack

Online forms embedded in websites, social media profiles or emails are great tools for acquiring leads. Formstack lets you quickly and easily create custom forms and analyze their conversion rates to see how they’re performing. The software platform supports A/B testing, which you can use to iterate toward the most successful version of your lead capture form, and you can even view the content of partially-completed forms that were never submitted.

All of these features allow you to engage potential customers with your unique brand voice and personalized conversion forms. And once you’ve captured a lead, why not use a new form to push for the sale? After you’ve made the sale, re-engage your customer with a feedback form relevant to their purchase.

  • Email on Acid

If email marketing is part of your strategy (and it should be), then you should be very concerned with how your emails look in your customers’ inboxes. You need something eye-catching that does respect to your brand and looks good in every email client on which it could conceivably be viewed. But don’t worry, because Email on Acid has you covered.

The platform lets you can create HTML emails in an online editor, preview how they’ll look in a wide variety of clients, optimize your code for each client, and examine the performance of your emails with an integrated analytics suite. You can use these features to build beautiful personalized emails that will get customers engaged and interested in buying.

These tools should help you get started with your marketing plans for the holidays. Don’t forget that the key to success is rolling out your campaigns early, testing them extensively, and modifying them as necessary before mid-November. And personalizing your marketing to your different customer segments is always a good idea, too.