Consider how you make a great first impression: Firm handshakes. A kind smile. Thoughtful gifts.
It’s all about making the other person feel comfortable and ensure they have a favorable opinion of you.
But first impressions are tough. Plus, you only have one chance at making a good first impression. That opportunity is very short, too: some studies suggest you have between 7 and 30 seconds to make a great first impression.
What does this have to do with marketing?
Your brand is introducing itself to new customers every day — whether you initiate the conversation or not. Customers are searching, researching, following and signing up. It’s up to you to make a memorable and positive first interaction.
For marketers, personalization is key to making a great first impression. Here’s why.
Great first impressions are empathetic
First impressions are all about being likable. That means finding common ground and relating to a new person. In new social situations, we often talk about common experiences, like the space you’re in (“Isn’t this restaurant nice?”), the weather (“I can’t believe this snow we’re getting!”) or pop culture (“Have you seen any good movies lately?”).
Marketers also need to understand their new prospects by stepping into their shoes. Then, marketers need to provide helpful, relevant and personalized content that fits their needs.
Think of it like a first conversation: the customer signs up to start the conversation, and the brand continues the conversation with information that makes sense for their place in the customer journey.
This might mean a personalized welcome email explaining your services, or an intro to your products. You might also direct prospects to a “buyer’s guide” or social media page as an orientation.
Great first impressions are contextualized
How a prospect was acquired can tell you a lot. Did they sign up for your newsletter? Did they immediately purchase after clicking on an ad? Did they follow you on social media? What did they browse for?
This information is huge. But as any scientist (or fellow marketing data nerd) will tell you, it is impossible to extrapolate based on one or two data points. It’s not a trend — it’s merely an indication.
Instead, brands — and people — need to create context for this behavior. Think about it: you wouldn’t approach a new boss at work the same way you would approach a new acquaintance at a coffee shop.
Same goes for marketers. Perhaps a customer was buying a gift. Maybe they only followed your social media for tips and tricks. Without contextual data, it’s impossible to know.
Creating context requires collecting more data, such as demographic or purchase intent behavior. That context can then be used to deliver a relevant, personal first impression.
Great first impressions drive loyalty
First impressions are lasting impressions. Consider the last time you met a new acquaintance — only to get a smirk or an off-color remark in return. They probably aren’t in your inner circle.
Starting a customer-brand relationship on strong footing is key. Marketers who make a great, personalized first impression are on the right track. Personalization is known to drive brand loyalty and create happy customers.
Turning prospects into customers isn’t easy — and nor is turning customers into loyalists. It’s a process that hinges on delivering personalized marketing over and over again, starting with the first impression.
Personalization pays off for marketers. In fact, Monetate found that 79% of brands with a documented personalization strategy exceeded revenue goals.
The key to personalization? Strong, complete data.
Ready to get started? Learn how you can enrich your customer data with demographic, purchase intent and lifestyle insights from Email Intelligence.