Long gone are the days when traditional means of advertising could satisfy consumers’ demands for product information – today, people want much more, and content marketing is how we must go about it.

Beyond being informed, everyday consumers and B2B buyers alike want to be engaged and even entertained as they embark upon the buyer’s journey from discovery through to purchase.

But what’s engaging and entertaining for one buyer may not be so for another – and this means that brands need to find ways and means to deliver personalised content marketing materials to specific users if they are to differentiate themselves in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

What Is Personalisation?

Content marketing personalisation is nothing new. Think about all those emails from various brands and publications that you’ve subscribed to that arrive in your inbox every day. We’d wager that very few – if any at all – begin the message with “Dear Sir/Madam”, or “To Whom It May Concern”.

No – today, we are addressed by first name, and enjoy the feeling (however contrived) that the content we receive has been prepared especially for us.

Indeed, this is a basic expectation of the email correspondence we receive from companies in 2018. But, increasingly, we have come to expect a similar experience when we visit a website as well.

This has been driven in no small part by the likes of Amazon and Netflix – both of which are renowned for serving personalised content marketing materials to users of their sites. Product recommendations “Inspired by your browsing history” are commonplace on Amazon – as are things like “Customers who bought this also bought”. And on Netflix, “Top Picks for [Your Name]” lists appear containing titles the company’s algorithms predict will be of personal interest to the named user.

And this is the point – in 2018, the technology now exists that enables brands to deliver personalisation at every turn, and, as big players like Amazon, Netflix and Facebook embrace it, consumer expectations have been raised, and the pressure is piled onto all companies operating in the digital space to do the same.

Personalisation Works

A recent report from Demand Metric reveals that the majority (61%) of companies are now using some form of personalisation in their content marketing.

 content marketing - do you personalize any of your content(Image source: demandmetric.com)

Of those that use personalised content marketing, a massive 80% found that delivering personalised content was more effective than delivering “unpersonalised” content to visitors, prospects and customers.  

content marketing - effectiveness of personalized vs unpersonalized content (Image source: demandmetric.com)

And so the question that’s raised is this – since virtually no company finds content marketing personalisation to be less effective (only 3%), why isn’t everyone employing it?

Well, Demand Metric wanted to find that out, and so quizzed the roughly one-third of organisations who were not as yet personalising their content marketing materials as to why. What it overwhelmingly came down to were issues of technology, resources, and data.

content marketing - reasons for not personalizing content(Image source: demandmetric.com)

Overcoming these three main barriers will be key to your content marketing efforts if you are going to successfully deploy greater personalisation and thereby remain competitive going forward.

How to Deliver Content Marketing Personalisation

Each time someone visits your website, there is potential to either generate a lead or, even better, make a sale.

The more personalised the content and the experience you can offer, the more likely it is that a conversion will be made.

But how do you serve up personalised content to each and every visitor that comes your way?  

The answer lies in technology and data. Today, there are many software-as-a- service (SaaS) solutions available that allow you to display different versions of your website to different users based on a number of factors, such as their location, ads they’ve clicked on, social channels they’ve come from, keywords they’ve searched for, browsing history, whether they’ve visited your website before, the device they’re using, and so on.

content marketing - how to deliver content marketing personalisation(Image source: conversionxl.com)

Indeed, personalisation is essentially a data-driven approach to content marketing.

Now, of course, you will already be using data to inform your content marketing strategy – namely for determining what types of content are the most successful at moving customers along the buyer’s journey.

But when it comes to personalisation, this all needs to happen in real-time – which is precisely why we need technology to make it happen.

Using a platform like HubSpot, for example, it becomes possible to serve up “smart content” that’s tailored to the needs of the individual visitor.

Some people browsing your site will be returning visitors who may have already engaged with your content before – perhaps they’ve downloaded an eBook or signed up to your newsletter. These people will have different needs from first-time visitors – and with HubSpot, you can personalise the experience accordingly.

It works by analysing the data available about each visitor and comparing it against a set of variables.

These variables are:

  • Country – display different content based on the visitor’s country, as determined by their IP address.
  • Device type – display different content based on whether the visitor is browsing on mobile, tablet, or desktop.
  • Referral source – vary content depending on how they’ve found your website.
  • Preferred language – personalise content based on the language set within the user’s web browser (ideal for US/Can/Aus/UK English variables).
  • Contact list membership – if the visitor is a member of one your contact lists, they’ll be shown a different version than if they are not.
  • Lead lifecycle stage – show different content to leads, MQLs, SQLs, opportunities and customers.

content-marketing-hubspot-smart-content.png(Image source: knowledge.hubspot.com)

This is all done automatically once you’ve programmed the HubSpot platform accordingly and created the various content needed to serve personalised versions to different users.

Essentially, the process relies on segmentation, which can and should be used to personalise your email marketing messages as well.

What’s more, your personalised content can be boosted on social platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to ensure that it reaches the right audience.

Over to You

There are many other content marketing personalisation platforms available and no doubt more and more will emerge as time goes by. What’s important for now, however, is that you begin to do your research for how you can start delivering personalised content marketing materials for individual visitor to your website. In 2015, Gartner published a statistic that said by 2018, companies that have fully invested in all types of personalisation will outsell companies that haven’t by 20%. This is the year that Gartner’s prediction will be put to the test – so it’s imperative that you’re ready for what’s to come.

If you need help developing a content marketing personalisation plan, get in touch with the growth experts here at Incisive Edge today – we’re official HubSpot partners, and can help you to start delivering personalised content to all of your visitors using the platform without delay.

 

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