Today’s consumers don’t just enjoy content personalization – they expect it.
Yet, far too often, we think adding to our email headlines is all it takes to personalize well.
In this article, we’ll look at why personalization matters, and how to get started implementing personalization across your customer journey.
Personalization is all about cutting down the noise and delivering exactly what your customer or client needs to hear.
It’s a way to make a deeper and more meaningful connection with the people you’re trying to reach.
From a business perspective, personalization has a huge return on investment (ROI).
Epsilon research found that when companies use personalization in their content, 80% of customers are more likely to make a purchase.
And according to Google research, a highly personalized shopping experience makes customers 40% more likely to spend more than they had originally planned.
If you want to create high-performing content that delights and engages your customers, personalization is key.
The backbone of any personalization strategy is data.
Metadata is simply information about your data. Why is this important?
Well, to personalize content, you need to connect your customers to the correct content, which means you need data about both customers and content.
Once you collect customer data, you can use this information to create custom content.
The more information you have about our content, the easier it will be to direct it to the right audience.
One way to do this is by tagging your content with information like audience, persona, funnel stage, and campaign.
You can tag content in many CMS (content management systems) like HubSpot.
Email is a terrific area to begin incorporating some content personalization.
Adding first names to email subjects is a common place to start, but there’s so much more you can do.
Let’s look at some examples.
If a tech company sends out a marketing email to its entire email list promoting a sale, that’s pretty good.
But what would be better is sending out a promotional email to different groups based on their persona. This way you can personalize the content based on interest.
Instead of sending a generic “thank you” email after someone downloads a resource, send them an email suggesting more content related to what they downloaded.
We sent this email to prospective customers who may be interested in this white paper based on their persona.
With some basic analytics, you can discover which website pages your potential clients are spending the most time on.
And if they submit an email address for a newsletter or download, you can follow along their exact journey on your website.
Using this data you can create personalized emails that specifically target the information they’re interacting with.
Now, this strategy isn’t scalable, and it would take way too much time to track every single prospect.
But for B2B businesses, it’s worth it to analyze your prospect journeys and make note of any potentially large and in-target customers.
A few well-placed emails to an already interested prospect can make a world of difference.
If your business is international, you can create marketing emails that reflect the local seasons and holidays of your customers.
More important than trying to recognize each holiday on the planet is simply to recognize that your customers don’t all live in the same area.
I would suggest that not sending a “Welcome Summer” email to your Australian customers at the beginning of June is actually a form of personalization.
Instead, make sure any references to holidays, sports, and weather are relevant to the location where you’re sending the email.
This is a great way to show that you understand the global nature of your business.
Instead of offering all of your products or services to customers, help them discover content focused on what they’re already interested in.
This could be as simple as asking which topics they’d like to learn more about on an email sign-up form.
You can also use data about what your customers have already purchased, pages they’ve viewed, and videos they’ve watched to set up an interest-based workflow.
Here’s an example of a marketing email we sent out after a conference. Based on which link the recipient clicked, they were put into a workflow customized to their interests.
Personalizing content based on persona is especially important for B2B organizations.
The messaging we use to communicate with C-suite professionals is different than how we present our message to technical writers.
Your different target audiences will have different challenges and pain points.
Hopefully, you’re already keeping this in mind when creating your content and tagging it accordingly.
Once you do this, you can easily pull together content for each persona and create an email sequence that speaks directly to them.
Do you know where your potential customers are on the buyer’s journey?
Someone who’s just hearing about your product for the first time is going to want different information than someone who’s deep in the middle of researching potential options.
You need to make sure that you’re creating a variety of content that reaches the top of the funnel prospects all the way to the bottom of the funnel.
Once you have this content created, you can share it with the appropriate audience. One way to do this is by suggesting more articles to read that are for a similar place in the funnel.
Calls to action (CTAs) offer your potential customers a clear way to respond to your content and help move them down the funnel.
You should be testing out different CTAs and noting which ones work best.
You can use customized CTAs to deliver a highly-personalized action step.
This first example is a basic CTA. It’s good, but it’s very general.
This CTA is personalized. We know that Jim is interested specifically in laptops, so we personalize the message for him.
Creating customized content can seem overwhelming at first, so it’s best to pick one area and test it until you learn what works well for your organization.
And there are plenty of tools out there to help you enable personalization in your content, such as Keystone, Recombee, and Algolia.
Begin by solidifying buyer personas and creating contact lists based on them. From there, you could easily create a segmented email campaign.
Soon you’ll be on your way to cultivating better customer experiences.
And once you begin to see the power of personalization in your content, you’ll never go back.