Context is key to delivering a clear and impactful message. The best communicators in the world understand how to frame their story in context so that their audience can digest it. Personalizing your marketing content is all about putting your message in context for your visitors. With so much noise, the companies that create connections are the ones that are going to be heard. How do you create connections? By delivering personalized content that speaks directly to your audience's wants and needs.
Contextual marketing refers to online and mobile marketing that provides targeted messaging based upon user information, such as the search terms they’re using or recent web-browsing activity. The goal is to deliver the most relevant information to the user based on their own behavior. Contextual advertising has been around for quite some time. You have probably had this experience a time or two.
You search Google for a new pair of headphones. You click a few of the options in the feed and then head over to CNET to read some reviews. The next thing you notice is that on the side bar there are a number of headphone related ads. You don’t think much about it because you’re on CNET reading reviews. Later that day, while on Facebook, you see the same ads again.
This is a great example of contextual advertising through ad retargeting. After tracking your behavior, AdSense or another tool has delivered up ads that are more relevant to you.
What once was mainly used in online advertising is now available for marketing channels with the help of some great tools. The benefit to using personalized content as part of your marketing strategy is the ability to deliver a message that is more relevant to your target audience.
Larry Drebes, CEO of Janrain, did an in-depth study of online consumer experiences and here is a great quote about his findings.
“These results align perfectly with additional market research indicating that consumers have reached the tipping point when it comes to being shown content that isn’t relevant to them,” said Larry Drebes, CEO of Janrain. “It’s a wake up call for brands to fix this problem or risk losing customers and prospects.”
So now that we have a basic understanding of the why, let’s get practical. Below we will discuss about 5 ways to use personalized content to increase customer interaction and maximize conversions.
Many email tools out there allow you to create more personalized emails using the information you have on the contact. Using a tool like Hubspot let’s you do even more.
Starting at the top, use personalization in the subject line of your email. Not only will you get higher open rates, personalized subject lines are 22.2% more likely to be opened (Adestra July 2012 Report), it’s also more inviting to the recipient.
Another great place to use personalized content is in the body of your email. “Hey Steve” is much more inviting than “Hey Business Owner.”
There is a delicate balance here between personalizing your content to help your audience and being creepy. A good question to ask is, how would I feel if I got an email like this? When in doubt, ask someone who will be honest. It’s better to be safe than creepy!
BrightInfo’s Content Rate Optimization tool or CRO for short, is simply amazing . After installing their script on your website, their algorithm continually and dynamically analyzes your audience’s behavior patterns and your content. Then, it displays the best matches between the two for each individual using sidebar, footer widget, exit banners and more. This one simple tool can take a static site with no engagement at all and turn it into a contextual marketing marketing marvel.
The key here is your own content needs to be good. None of these tools will magically turn bad content into gold. Personalized content starts with understanding your buyers, developing personas and creating content that speaks directly to solving their pain points.
There has been a debate over the last few years about whether or not you can advertise in an Inbound way. The whole goal of Inbound is to create relevant content and invite users to connect, not force unwanted ads at them. My position is that yes, we can use advertising if it is targeted and personalized.
After searching for months to find a solution to the lack of quality leads from more traditional online advertising channels, I came across BrightInfo. This company has nailed the Inbound approach to advertising. The current “pay-to-play” structure of search marketing has handcuffed a number of small businesses. While quality does play a part in getting your ads seen, budget is still the biggest factor. If your competition has more money, they will get more of the traffic.
Brightinfo partners with niche content sites and delivers native ads using their content personalization. This allows them to target ads based on users not keywords. Because they aren’t keyword based, there is no price bidding. All ads are $3 per click. This is another feature that makes this asset attractive in todays oversaturated search marketing market.
They then leverage their automated content personalization widgets to deliver the most relevant offer to the viewer. This is a win-win as far as I can see. The users get the best information and the business gets exposure to people who actually want what they have. In just 7 days after adding BrightInfo to my site and using their native ads I saw a 300% increase in leads.
These next 2 features I am going to talk about are Hubspot specific. I often hear about how expensive the software is, but when you break it down and look at all of the tools you get, it’s actually quite cost effective. If you’re a partner there are even more features you have access to that are well worth the investment.
If you aren’t using calls-to-action on your site, well start there first. After that it’s time to make them smart! Hubspot gives you the option create a call-to-action that changes based on country, device type, referral source, list member or lifecycle stage.
Adding smart rules to a CTA will allow you to deliver the right content to the right person at the right time. Personalized calls-to-action convert 42% better than static CTA’s. If you are using the Hubspot platform, I highly recommend you checking out this tutorial on how to set them up.
Similar to the SMART CTA’s, Hubspot’s platform also allows you to show different content to different users based on smarts rules. The goal once again is to give your visitor information that better matches their needs.
Personalized marketing is about being as relevant to your users as possible. The way people search for the products and services they need has changed. They access content from multiple devices and a number of different channels. But most importantly, as their experience with your company grows, their needs and interests change. Smart content helps you better connect with new visitors and people who engage with you more often.
Marketing has less and less to do with products we sell and more about the stories we tell. By creating a more personalized experience for your visitors, you will increase engagement and maximize conversions. Driving traffic is great, but creating connections that turn into conversions is what marketing is really all about.
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