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  • Writer's pictureJon Elhardt

Why Personalization?

Updated: Jun 22, 2023


Psychology behind personalization


Personalization can get you far in all areas of your life. The reason is simple, people like to feel like you are paying attention to them, and nothing demonstrates that more clearly than personalized communication.


Whether it’s in cold outreach, or conversation with old friends, adding a personal touch when socializing always resonates well with the receiver. The question though, is why do human beings react this way, is there proof, and is this customized touch on dialogue something new?


First let’s start with the psychology behind it. Psychology in sales and once again in life is vital as it is the main driving force behind all the decisions we make. It’s important to understand how personalization impacts the psychology behind your prospects’ decision making from simply responding to an email all the way to making a purchasing decision. It goes without saying this shouldn’t be something that is abused in sales, after all, if you’re not in sales to help people you are in the wrong profession.


There are a variety of psychology studies that can lead us to understand why this works. One high level example is our brain’s positive reaction when we hear something as simple as our own name. HubSpot points out: “According to a study published in the peer-reviewed journal Brain Research, when people hear their own first name (vs. hearing other first names), there is a unique reaction in the brain.


More specifically, hearing your own name — as opposed to other names — triggers greater brain activation, particularly in the middle frontal cortex (which is associated with social behavior), the middle and superior temporal cortex (which are associated with long-term memory and auditory processing, respectively), as well as the cuneus (which is associated with visual processing).”


Taking the science of the mind a step further, Dr. Robert Cialidini, author of Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, points out why personalization is important under the principle of liking. His website Influenceatwork.com states that “We like people who are similar to us, we like people who pay us compliments, and we like people who cooperate with us towards mutual goals.”


While all 3 of these points are valuable when catering your message to your future customer, your main initiative should be to cooperate towards a mutual goal. After all, your product or service must help to eliminate a problem that stands in the way of your prospects objective.


Statistics


As Jay-Z once said “Men lie, women lie, numbers don’t.” Thus, we need to dive into the data to truly understand if personalization works (Hint: it does). Below are 5 statistics that demonstrate the power of personalized messaging.

  1. When an email is not personalized, 52% of customers say they’ll find somewhere else to go. (Source: Instapage)

  2. 82% of marketers have reported an increase in open rates through email personalization. (Source: Instapage)

  3. 84% of consumers say being treated like a person, not a number, is very important to winning their business. (Source: Salesforce)

  4. Emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened. (Source: Campaign Monitor)

  5. 67% of people who unsubscribed from a brand’s promotional emails indicated that they received too many irrelevant emails. (Source: Convince and Convert)

Now that we understand the numbers behind personalization, we can see why the push for custom sales messages continues to increase over the years.


But, is personalization all that new? While there is more data in the world than ever before, that also means there’s more ways to personalize than in previous years. However, targeted communication has been around for decades and the top performers have been leveraging it forever.


One of the classic books that touches on the importance of personalized messaging in an indirect way is How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, which was published in 1936. In this, the first rule of how to make people like you is by becoming genuinely interested in them. In fact it states that: “You can make more friends in two months by being interested in them, than in two years by making them interested in you.”


This plays directly into the tactic of personalization, as quality individualized messaging should contain information about what makes that prospect an ideal customer versus just piling on information about your products features.


Additionally the book also echoes the findings of the Brain Research study mentioned above, by stating that a person’s name is the sweetest and most important sound in any language. It emphasizes this point further with the following sentence: “The average person is more interested in their own name than in all the other names in the world put together.”


This is why everywhere from subject lines, video messages, GIFs to conversations, mentioning your prospects name will help in grabbing and keeping their attention.

The last bit I’ll touch on from How To Win Friends and Influence People is the 5th principle listed under the Six Ways to Make People Like You. This key states that we should “

Talk in terms of the other person’s interest.”


Once again, in custom messaging the focus needs to be on the buyer, not you. This helps gain interest and trust from the other person, in turn encouraging them to value you and peak their curiosity into your offering.


As you can see, personalization works because of how we are psychologically wired.


Not only has individualized communication been an effective practice for years, it’s also been proven to be a valuable strategy according to numerous statistics.


Now that you know the what and the why, next up we will discuss how to implement personalization into your sales cycle.


This is part 2 of a 5 part series. Next up in our series be on the lookout for part 3 titled How to Implement Personalization: Emails, where we dive into the psychology, statics and history behind this custom outreach strategy.


Future blogs in this series include:

  1. How to Implement Personalization: Calls & Meetings

  2. How to calculate how much time to spend on personalization

  3. Tips and tricks

  4. Psychology behind it

  5. Statistics behind it

  6. Why it’s nothing new: “How To Win Friends And Influence People”


Psychology behind personalization


Personalization can get you far in all areas of your life. The reason is simple, people like to feel like you are paying attention to them, and nothing demonstrates that more clearly than personalized communication.


Whether it’s in cold outreach, or conversation with old friends, adding a personal touch when socializing always resonates well with the receiver.


The question though, is why do human beings react this way, is there proof, and is this customized touch on dialogue something new?


First let’s start with the psychology behind it. Psychology in sales and once again in life is vital as it is the main driving force behind all the decisions we make. It’s important to understand how personalization impacts the psychology behind your prospects’ decision making from simply responding to an email all the way to making a purchasing decision. It goes without saying this shouldn’t be something that is abused in sales, after all, if you’re not in sales to help people you are in the wrong profession.

There are a variety of psychology studies that can lead us to understand why this works. One high level example is our brain’s positive reaction when we hear something as simple as our own name. HubSpot points out: “According to a study published in the peer-reviewed journal Brain Research, when people hear their own first name (vs. hearing other first names), there is a unique reaction in the brain.


More specifically, hearing your own name — as opposed to other names — triggers greater brain activation, particularly in the middle frontal cortex (which is associated with social behavior), the middle and superior temporal cortex (which are associated with long-term memory and auditory processing, respectively), as well as the cuneus (which is associated with visual processing).”


Taking the science of the mind a step further, Dr. Robert Cialidini, author of Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, points out why personalization is important under the principle of liking. His website Influenceatwork.com states that “We like people who are similar to us, we like people who pay us compliments, and we like people who cooperate with us towards mutual goals.”


While all 3 of these points are valuable when catering your message to your future customer, your main initiative should be to cooperate towards a mutual goal. After all, your product or service must help to eliminate a problem that stands in the way of your prospects objective.


Statistics


As Jay-Z once said “Men lie, women lie, numbers don’t.” Thus, we need to dive into the data to truly understand if personalization works (Hint: it does). Below are 5 statistics that demonstrate the power of personalized messaging.

  1. When an email is not personalized, 52% of customers say they’ll find somewhere else to go. (Source: Instapage)

  2. 82% of marketers have reported an increase in open rates through email personalization. (Source: Instapage)

  3. 84% of consumers say being treated like a person, not a number, is very important to winning their business. (Source: Salesforce)

  4. Emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened. (Source: Campaign Monitor)

  5. 67% of people who unsubscribed from a brand’s promotional emails indicated that they received too many irrelevant emails. (Source: Convince and Convert)

Now that we understand the numbers behind personalization, we can see why the push for custom sales messages continues to increase over the years. But, is personalization all that new? While there is more data in the world than ever before, that also means there’s more ways to personalize than in previous years.


However, targeted communication has been around for decades and the top performers have been leveraging it forever.


One of the classic books that touches on the importance of personalized messaging in an indirect way is How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, which was published in 1936. In this, the first rule of how to make people like you is by becoming genuinely interested in them. In fact it states that: “You can make more friends in two months by being interested in them, than in two years by making them interested in you.”


This plays directly into the tactic of personalization, as quality individualized messaging should contain information about what makes that prospect an ideal customer versus just piling on information about your products features.


Additionally the book also echoes the findings of the Brain Research study mentioned above, by stating that a person’s name is the sweetest and most important sound in any language. It emphasizes this point further with the following sentence: “The average person is more interested in their own name than in all the other names in the world put together.”


This is why everywhere from subject lines, video messages, GIFs to conversations, mentioning your prospects name will help in grabbing and keeping their attention.


The last bit I’ll touch on from How To Win Friends and Influence People is the 5th principle listed under the Six Ways to Make People Like You. This key states that we should “Talk in terms of the other person’s interest.” Once again, in custom messaging the focus needs to be on the buyer, not you.


This helps gain interest and trust from the other person, in turn encouraging them to value you and peak their curiosity into your offering.


As you can see, personalization works because of how we are psychologically wired. Not only has individualized communication been an effective practice for years, it’s also proven to be a valuable strategy according to numerous statistics.


Now that you know the what and the why, next up we will discuss how to implement personalization into your sales cycle.


This is part 2 of a 5 part series. Next up in our series be on the lookout for part 3 titled How to Implement Personalization: Emails, where we dive into the psychology, statics and history behind this custom outreach strategy.


Future blogs in this series include:

  1. How to Implement Personalization: Calls & Meetings

  2. How to calculate how much time to spend on personalization

  3. Tips and tricks


 


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