With so much content being created every day, content personalization is one of the most effective ways today to help brands stand out from the crowded marketplace and fight for consumers’ attention, by addressing the pain points, challenges and problems they are facing.
The best marketers are delivering the right content to the right customer at the right time. But this is easier said than done.
When you have limited budget and resources, personalizing every piece of your content for every single customer is just not feasible, if not impossible. So how can you make content personalization work for your marketing strategy?
Here are three simple steps to help you get started with personalizing your content that will effectively reach, engage and convert your target customers:
To develop effective content that resonates, you need to first understand who your target audience is. And first-party and third-party data can help build that foundational understanding of your customers.
First-party data is the customer information collected and stored in your CRM systems and other marketing technologies, including data from your website, mobile app, call center and any other channels or platforms where customers may interact with your brand.
Third-party data is the consumer data you can purchase from external sources such as publishers or advertisers, which can include information like demographics, purchase transactions and online behaviors.
To develop a deeper understanding of your target audience, you will also want to look into three other types of data: social, search and offline data.
Social data would include things like the content types that your target audience is most interested in, the language they use when talking about your industry, product or service, and your competitors, and individuals, sources and any other factors that may influence your target audience.
Search data would look at the questions, terms and keywords your target audience uses when searching for information and answers about your brand, product, industry and competitors. Search data can help you identify the pain points, concerns, goals and aspirations your target audience may have.
Offline data, as the name suggests, is any information you can gather based on offline interactions with customers, such as in-store or in-person events.
The next step is to research and understand where and how your target audience prefers to be contacted or interact with your brand.
Which format resonates with your customers and gets their attention? Which channel does your target audience already spend time on or prefer? Is it email, SMS, video, social media (which platform?), or display?
Each platform and format has their own unique strengths and weaknesses. And it’s important to identify them so you can develop the appropriate measurements to track and evaluate their individual performance, and using them to inform your content strategy so you can leverage all the channels and formats that are relevant to your target audience.
Finally, based on the consumer insights you’ve gathered in the previous two steps, you can now use this information to develop and personalize content for them.
To scale your content personalization efforts, Jon Miller, the former VP of Marketing and Co-founder of Marketo, suggests creating a few ‘big rock’ content to reach larger segments of your target audience. You can then use these big rock content pieces as the backbone to create more personalized content for your high-value prospects, which you can tailor based on what you have learned about their needs, pain points and preferences.
To determine which customers you should prioritize your content personalization efforts and roll out the “red carpet” experience for first, Jose Cerbrian, the VP of Email and Mobile Messaging at Merkle, recommends creating a model that allows you to predict and identify your most valuable customers.
To do so, look at your top customers and try to identify any patterns and trends, behavioral or demographic, that may help determine which prospects have the potential to become a high value customer.
Developing a deep understanding of your target audience and using these insights to start personalizing your content is just half the battle. To get your content personalization strategy up and running, you will need to evaluate and ensure your marketing technologies and web platforms have the capabilities to deliver your personalized content based on your audience segments.
Technology is absolutely crucial in ensuring that your customers can enjoy a seamless omni-channel experience at every touch point with your brand and content, online and offline. Integrating all your marketing and web technologies also enables you to gain deeper insights into your customers, so you can more effectively measure and improve your content personalization efforts.