16 Feb 2017
Personalized

Why Personalisation Will Make Or Break Your Content Strategy

As a marketer, you hear about the importance of personalisation and targeting all the time. They’re essential to a great content strategy, but sometimes our days get so busy that a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach is more appealing.  Unfortunately, failing to pay attention to personalisation guarantees you will deliver a poor experience to your audience.

Why It Matters

I was recently on the receiving end of a pretty poor marketing experience. After signing up to download a piece of content, I was targeted with a deluge of emails that had nothing to do with me. It’s not as though I hadn’t willingly provided this business with personal details. My job title (writer) was a clear indicator I was unlikely to be directly responsible for new software business decisions. My Australian based location should have indicated I wouldn’t be available for a face-to-face meeting with a US-based sales rep.

I’d never heard of this brand before, let alone interacted with it. But I was treated as if I was immediately in the market for the brand’s products. I’m not going to meet up to discuss a product demo when I barely know what it is.

This impersonal, templated response shows that the brand had made no effort to understand what I was looking for as a consumer. If I’d received a series of emails with valuable content that was relevant to my initial download, I might have seen them as a worthwhile solution and been receptive to sales messaging. Instead, this experience negatively affected my perception of the business.

Five Tips For Better Personalisation

To avoid putting your brand in a similar situation, use available data to personalise any interaction with your customers. It sounds like a big task but you don’t have to go away and cyber stalk every customer to send them individual emails. Use the information in your database to segment your audience into different lists and create  content that appeals to them. Here are five easy ways to get started:

1. Use your data

This seems obvious but my experience shows that some brands aren’t using the data that’s available to them. If a customer provides you with personal information, it’s crazy not to use it. This could be anything from gender or location to job title and industry. To go a step further, combine data from across your whole business. If the same customer has interacted with you on Facebook, subscribed to your emails and spoken with customer service, you can piece this information together to develop a complete picture of them as an individual.

2. Nurture your customers

Create nurturing programs designed to convert subscribers into customers. Don’t assume that a download or newsletter sign-up means they’re ready to buy. Identify other pieces of existing content that are relevant and build a series of emails or marketing activities to share with them. This will help to establish your brand and provide value before you start selling anything.

3. Segment email newsletters

Your email database is a great place to start with personalisation because your subscribers have willingly provided their details. Use this information to send targeted emails with specific content to different demographics, job functions or industries. Start with small segments to see what works. For example, customers working in marketing will likely be interested in different content to customers working in sales. Test your theory by sharing different content with these groups so you can send more relevant emails in the future.

4. Map out the buyer’s journey

Understanding where your customers are in the buyer’s journey is crucial to delivering a positive experience. Assign content types to different phases of the buyer’s journey to make sure you have relevant content for every type of customer. For example, blog posts might be aimed at the awareness stage, to position your team as industry experts and provide useful information to customers. A more in-depth analysis of industry trends or webinar will be more relevant for customers further along their journey. Keep track of which customers have interacted with these content types so you can personalise your next interaction.

5. Communicate with sales

Moving prospects from marketing lead to sales lead is a crucial step. If your sales team contacts a lead too early (or too late) it can significantly affect their perception of your brand. Make sure your marketing and sales team are able to communicate openly and agree on what a qualified lead looks like. Assigning different content to the buyer’s journey will help you with this step. If a customer is looking at product demo videos, they’re almost certainly closer to making a decision than a customer who is visiting your blog for the first time. This could be a great time to pass them along to sales, with all of the information you’ve gathered so far.

Get Started

Personalisation is crucial to engage customers and ensure they return to your website in the future. A poor experience can make or break your relationship with a potential customer, so it’s important to use all of the data available to you. Once you’ve got this information you can start cleaning up your database and deliver content that’s relevant to each person that interacts with your brand.

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