I’ve had several conversations with people recently on the topic of highly relevant conversations and how to have them with their customers.  I found it interesting (and a little perturbing) how narrow most people’s view of relevance is.  It seems to focus purely on the content aspect of relevance.

A broader view would suggest at least three aspects:

Content – This is the most obvious part of relevance.  Determining which content is relevant to an individual customer is something that could have several books written about it.  Direct association is a good place to start (although knowing what those associations should be can still be challenging).  A couple of e-commerce/transactional examples could be:

  • I’ve just bought decking timber, so offer me a great deal on exterior stain.
  • I’ve just bought wallboard, so offer me a fantastic price on interior paint.

The reverse of these two examples would demonstrate conversations with very low relevance.

You can also use look-a-like audience analysis (A significant number of people who purchased product X also bought product Y), Propensity modelling, or a few other techniques to determine what a relevant conversation might be with a specific customer.

Timeliness – Getting the timing of the communication right is very nearly as important as what you say in those communications.

To use the examples above, don’t present the offers to early as your customer probably doesn’t have the time to consider exactly what colour they want the deck or walls to be.  Equally, don’t present them to late otherwise your customer will have made their purchase, and it may or may not be with you.

This is a great space to test and measure to determine the right time for you.  Does one week work?  Two weeks?  More?  Less?  Getting the timeliness of your communications right can have a big impact on how your message is received.

Channel – This should be self evident, but for many this seems to be the most elusive piece of the puzzle.  If you have a client who interacts with you most via social media, then surely the best way to reach them with an offer is also via social media?  If they religiously read emails from you (and please tell me that you can determine who is reading your emails!) then reach them through a personalised, timely email.

Many companies (even those who use social media as part of their digital marketing strategy) present all of their personalised offers through email.  Don’t make that mistake!  Talk to your customers via the channel where they, as individuals, are most likely to listen to you.

Conclusion – If you manage to achieve success in all three of these areas then you will be truly engaging in relevant one-on-one conversations with your customers.  The transactional examples used above are simple, but demonstrate how and why all three aspects are critical.  It could equally be part of a lead nurturing process, or part of a broader brand awareness campaign.