Knowing when to get personal

A recent marketing case study that I read intrigued me no end. It described a successful campaign that was both more – and less – personal at the same time.

The company involved had written a helpful guide which established its expertise in its niche. It wasn’t a sales document, just something genuinely useful. So far, so classic ‘content marketing’.

But here’s the thing which was slightly different. The company promoted the guide with highly targeted emails and social media postings which it carefully considered and re-wrote for each recipient or target. I don’t think many companies do that. For example, a contribution to a LinkedIn group, an email to a prospect or a blog post would all be worded quite differently – as personal as they could possibly be. Emails were individually written to take into account and mention anything known about the prospect.

This took time and effort, of course. Yet the call-to-action process (getting the useful guide) was kept as impersonal and anonymous as possible. No email was required to download it: indeed, it was made as easy as possible to access (a web click away, no registration required, or even attached to an email).

The guide didn’t sell the company’s services explicitly, but readers presumably clicked through to its website to find out about what it did. Indeed, the case study claimed that the enquiries subsequently came in at an unprecedented rate.

Compare this with the more common way of doing things, which would neglect the personalisation of the message, in order to get it out as easily and widely as possible; but which would then get too personal in permitting access, requiring an email address or registration to read the guide.

It worked for someone else. Could it work for you?