Insights from the Tactical to the Strategic
Content personalization has become a hot topic and many organizations are worried about missing a great opportunity to connect with their audiences and customers by not knowing where to start.
Marketers already have a lot on their plates and often times will put content personalization on the back burner. In fact, Demand Metric found that the two biggest reasons marketers don’t personalize content are “not having the bandwidth/resources” and “not having the technology.” But when done right, it can be a game changer.
In a nutshell, content personalization is a strategy that relies on visitor data to deliver relevant content based on audience interests and motivations.
According to Boston Consulting Group, personalization will shift $800 billion of revenue to the 15% of companies that get it right over the next five years. When you take that type of ROI into consideration, the pursuit for personalization becomes a lot more urgent.
That is because personalization increases loyalty, drives higher conversions, and ultimately increases revenue. It’s valuable because it's relevant, and it's relevant because it's contextual.
But if you’re one of the 60% of marketers who struggles to personalize content, here’s how to get started and accelerate your customer journey.
“When you do content personalization, it’s not like you’re individually customizing every single piece of content to be specifically for that specific person,” Blueriver CCO, Sean Schroeder says. “That’s impossible. There’s no way that scales.”
Schroeder says the most important thing you need to get started with content personalization is the content itself. Then you can take that content and personalize it for each customer based on what you know about them. “It is similar to this concept of intelligent content, where you break things down into really semantic chunks and reassemble it to provide different content,” he says. “And that’s really at the heart of content personalization.”
According to Schroeder, to develop effective content that resonates, you need to first understand who your target audience is. After you have an understanding of your audience, through first and third-party data, you should personalize your content based on:
Content that alerts:
This type of targeting improves the customer experience by displaying relevant, time-sensitive information, such as weather delay, service disruption, or other real-time issues.
Content that makes tasks easier:
The second “task at hand” category, this type of content makes users’ lives easier by helping them do what they came here to do, and includes “smart” navigation, deep links to useful tools, or automatically de-prioritizing unrelated content.
“That doesn’t necessarily mean hiding the content or getting rid of it necessarily, but let the stuff that’s important bubble up to the top based on what we know about that person,” Schroeder says.
Content that promotes:
This is the ask. What you’d like them to do next. But it must be relevant. Examples of this type of content include related products, gated content, event announcements, calls-to-action, etc.
“This is the thing we want them to do,” Schroeder says. “If we’re creating a continuum of experiences we always want to give them that next thing to do.”
Content that enriches:
Content that enriches a user’s experience to educate, entertain, and engage. This might include blogs, articles, community features, social networks, or third-party content.
Once you have your personalization mix, you can use content personalization to create unique experiences, CTAs, and messages for every unique visitor. By personalizing your content, each visitor will know what you have to offer for them specifically. Schroeder recommends taking advantage of widgets, personalizing different zones on each page, using a different narrative for different customers, and even changing and personalizing the navigation.
“We’re trying to reduce the level of effort to help get the customer from zero to hero sooner,” Schroeder says. “And to do that we have to have different triggers.”
The triggers Schroeder recommends using are:
Time of day
Referrer (website, email, PPC, social)
1st party data
3rd party data
By using triggers you’re able to personalize your content based on what you’ve collected about users, which allows you to provide content based on how they have interacted with your site in the past. A first-time visitor shouldn’t see the same content as a returning one. A customer in Canada shouldn’t necessarily see the same content as one in the United States. Did the customer find your site through Facebook? They should receive different content than a customer who searched for your company by name on Google.
And when you put all of this together, you have a content personalization strategy.
Content personalization is a continuous process. Once you’ve completed these initial steps and begin implementing your strategy, continue to track and report on what’s working. Then refine your strategy and content and continue personalizing. Rinse and repeat.