We’re living in the Me Age, and I don’t just mean that holy-grail marketing force known as Millennials. The internet allows everyone to have a voice and as a result, each one of us is empowered online. From social media profiles to customer reviews to comments sections on websites, we’re encouraged to express ourselves. And when it comes to online shopping, we expect brands to treat us like individuals rather than a collective herd, which begs the question:
Have you personalized your content marketing?
For most brands, the answer is “kind of”. By now we know that we can’t get away with delivering one message or ad to a mass audience, but many companies still lag when it comes to addressing the needs of the individual.
On the other hand, don’t get carpal tunnel from typing out thousands of individual messages to each of your leads. With some effort and finesse, you can find that sweet spot between mass and micro efforts.
(Of course, working with a digital marketing agency like SPINX can also help you reach your perfect target audience).
Improve user experience
Your website is the best place to start when it comes to personalization, as it most likely represents the gateway between you and consumers. When people are first browsing your site, it’s important to make flow from one section to the next intuitive and easy. By creating logical navigation, you let the user know that you’re considering her needs, and want to make the browsing and buying process as easy as possible for her.
Additionally, with ecommerce sites, you should address the buyer as she gets closer to making a purchase. Whether she is returning from a previous session or going through the buying stages within a single visit, your site should cater to her based on behavior (for example, did she put an item in the shopping cart, and then continue browsing? How can you guide her towards buying that item?).
It almost goes without saying, but your brand’s content should be as personal as possible. Businesses that make this effort often see an increase in meaningful user engagement.
Take Physician’s Formula, a beauty brand whose online presence was in need of a makeover. Previously, they had a website and social media presence, but it wasn’t effectively organized. SPINX Digital helped redistribute their content based on their particular types of fans, followers, and social media outlets. As a result, they increased their site visits by 132% and Facebook reach by 209%. The takeaway? It’s a good idea to audit your content marketing plan from time to time to make sure you’re addressing the right people in the right place. A contest among your followers may work better on, say, Facebook than on your blog.
Personas and real buyers
As with any kind of marketing, personas are a great way to target your efforts. Figure out who your demographics, and shape your content around them. However, traditional off-line marketing personas should always include online behaviors as well. You need a complete picture of a person(a) before creating a successful content plan. With a detailed profile, you can specify your banner ad, email, tweet, etc.
Of course, the internet allows marketers to cater to personas as well as real buyers. By tracking the behavior of an actual visitor to your website or level of engagement of a fan in social media, you can further enhance the functionality of your website design, or social campaign.
The caveat to all of this personalization business is don’t overdo it. People want to feel unique. They want to know that you’re thinking of them as an individual. What they don’t want is to feel stalked. The ability to collect personal data is a boon for marketers, but of course, with great power comes great responsibility.
In an email campaign, for example, you probably want to personalize the message beyond just using the person’s name; most of us are savvy enough to know that “Dear [my name]” doesn’t necessarily mean a brand is thinking about me personally. Cater the message based on segmentation. If you’re a travel company and you know one category of leads is interested in lake vacations, include that segment on your emails about rural trips. Don’t, however, reference the lead’s income bracket or list of recently visited websites. Kinda creepy.
Consider the buyer journey
Along the lines of personalizing website functionality and knowing your personas, make sure your site is optimized to address users at various stages of the buyer journey. If they’re a first-time visitor, you might not have success showing them detailed, product description videos. Likewise, if they’ve visited your site, checked out a few pages and left, it’s a good time to employ remarketing tactics, and show them ads for your brand on other websites.
Additionally, you can combine your persona knowledge with the buyer journey, and customize your content accordingly. In other words, if Persona X is at Stage Y, you might benefit with an ad or message targeted to their needs based on that particular moment.