Meet Matt. Matt has a problem. Or he thinks he might. Like most people, he'll begin his research online, hoping to learn more before considering a solution. If you've done a good job of creating and promoting valuable content, Matt may find it and when he does, the best way to serve him will be to ensure his experience is increasingly relevant.
Matt's first content experience comes from a topic-specific landing page he found via searching for related keywords. Good job —
and give some kudos to your SEO team.
Unfortunately, Matt didn't convert to a known user this time; maybe he got busy or just wasn't ready to fill out a form. Hopefully, you'll have more chances to engage him again.
Matt's back, looking for more information about his problem. This time, he's come to your main website.
Because you know a bit about Matt based on his behavior and other data, you can deliver Matt a more relevant experience — and gain the opportunity to continue educating, while building credibility and trust.
Because Matt found the content you delivered in his last experience both relevant and useful, he's decided to take another step and check out your blog.
Again, because we know what Matt is looking for based on his behaviors, we can promote content that matches up with his concerns. Matt likes what he sees and decides to subscribe.
Over the course of a couple of months, Matt opens and reads several relevant blog posts you've sent him via email. Eventually, he takes the next step to learn more by visiting your product-specific microsite.
Even though your product has a wide range of features, you're able to tailor the content experience for Matt to focus on his specific concerns. He's convinced — and he gets in touch with the sales rep assigned to his region via the personalized prompts you've provided.
The sales team will now be his primary point of contact, but this doesn't mean content won't play a role. Sales is just another channel you can use to continue to deliver increasingly relevant experiences, even after he becomes a customer.
The more you know about your visitors, the better you can serve them and help them address their concerns. Over the course of just a few interactions, you can build a rich profile that enables you to provide them with better, more targeted content experiences.
On Matt's very first visit to your landing page, you don't yet know his name or email address, but through integrations with 1st and 3rd party data sources, you can learn a few things about Matt:
Because of the value of the content you provided on your landing page, Matt has taken another step in his journey and decided to visit your main website. As he explores, you're able to learn more about his interests, and build a more detailed profile for him. You can use this information to increase the relevance of his experience not only here, but across all your owned content properties.
Even if your blog is a separate channel on an different web platform, you can still deliver an experience that includes content that Matt (who has not yet shared his email with us) should find helpful.
Via a conversion during a blog subscription or other prompt, you'll learn Matt's email. Now you can provide additional content via the email channel, while building an ever-richer profile to deliver better experiences across all channels.
By providing valuable content, targeted and relevant to his needs, you've moved Matt from an anonymous visitor to a known contact.
Along the way, you've developed a rich profile that helps you and your sales team give Matt the right information at the right time. If Matt becomes a customer, you're already well on your way to creating a great customer experience. Well done!
What's the best way to provide relevant content experiences without trying to "boil the ocean" by attempting to personalize every experience for every person?
First, provide broadly useful experiences for people like Matt (not Matt specifically), then gradually tailor and refine them over time as you learn more about your visitors — Provide the right value, to the right audience, in their time.
While we can know much about our anonymous, first-time visitors, we won't know why they've come to us until they've explored a bit — and that's okay. If we deliver shareable, "persona-ized" content, we can deliver value and relevance while reducing the amount of content we have to produce — a big, scalable win!
You've successfully delivered relevance early in Matt's experiences, and you can continue down this path and populate content related to the very first content offer. This allows Matt to dig deeper, or broaden his interest to other topics.
Your content strategy can be designed to allow transparent self-selection into one of your well-researched personas, and you can start mixing in true personalization in a meaningful way. As you increase relevance and value, you begin to build a rapport with Matt.
As you've learned more about Matt from both his behavior and data you've collected, you've gotten increasingly better at delivering targeted, relevant content experiences.
As a result, the specific blog posts you're promoting to Matt are more effective in catching his interest, while showcasing how you think about Matt's problem — an important step in building credibility as a thought leader.
By the time Matt has reached this fourth content experience, he's officially considering purchasing your product. Your use of audience-specific content and data about Matt (including his title, role, location, interests and problems) enables you to deliver meaningful, relevant and personal experiences. These targeted experiences build trust, confidence and an appreciation for how you solve problems. Matt's officially moved from an anonymous prospect to a hot lead, ready to talk to the sales team and become a customer.
And that's awesome. But tell your sales team they can thank you later, because your job isn't over. Next up: stellar, relevant, customer experiences.