Have you ever found yourself mindlessly scrolling through row after row of products on a retailer’s website? The internet offers a seemingly endless amount of content for shoppers to peruse in their search for a product or service that meets their exact needs.
So how can brands make a positive impression on consumers that encourages them to click, buy, and convert?
Content personalization cuts through the noise to give consumers the products and services they’re looking for. The numbers back this up: Not only do 71% of consumers expect companies to deliver personalized interactions, but an even larger 76% get frustrated when this doesn’t happen.
Here’s how your marketing team can grab more eyes by incorporating content personalization into their strategy.
What is Content Personalization?
Content personalization is a marketing strategy that tailors the content an individual sees based on data about their characteristics or preferences. For example, a brand might use data about whether a user has visited their website before to adjust a greeting on their homepage from “It’s nice to meet you!” to “Welcome back!” A successful content personalization strategy allows a brand to present a different version of its webpage to five people who were all on the site at the same time.
Although they sound similar, content personalization is not the same as customization. Customization is an action performed by a user, such as sorting or filtering items on a results page. Personalization, on the other hand, is an action a brand takes to create a better customer experience on behalf of the user.
Personalization allows brands to meet consumer needs more directly, presenting them with the exact messaging and items most likely to drive conversion. Some examples of content personalization in action include Amazon’s individualized homepages and emails from brands about price markdowns on items you once looked at on their website. With content personalization, brands can speak to user needs no matter where they are in the customer journey.
What’s driving the need for content personalization?
Consumers are barraged with thousands of advertisements on a daily basis. In fact, a study from Adobe shows that customers spend nearly one-third of their day engaging with digital content. No wonder it’s easy for brands to get lost in the shuffle.
Some brands–especially those in crowded industries–may decide to increase the amount of products they display on their websites in an effort to stand out from the crowd. However, this can actually overwhelm consumers and have a detrimental effect on sales. The real key to content overload is less – not more!
While consumers enjoy the idea of having hundreds of options, they really only want to see the products most relevant to their needs. According to the Kellogg School of Management, companies can help remove choice overload by helping their customers narrow their options based on their documented preferences. Displaying personalized content on your site is the only way to consistently block choice overload.
Benefits of effective content personalization
Protecting your customers from choice overload is one benefit of content personalization. However, there are further benefits to adding content personalization into your marketing arsenal.
Create a positive feedback loop with your customers through content personalization. When customers consistently see their needs being addressed first through tailored offers and recommendations, they’re more inclined to engage with your brand. And when customers engage with tailored content, it offers brands more in-depth insights into customer motivations and behavior than can be revealed by tracking trends alone.
Plus, the longer you can keep your target audience engaged, the more likely they are to continue doing business with your brand. Individualized messaging can encourage current customers to continue to interact with your product while also drawing previous customers back in.
Customers appreciate individualized experiences because they make them feel like they are more than a faceless consumer with cookie-cutter needs. Tailored emails don’t feel mass-produced — they feel special.
A word of caution: While some personalization strategies are easy to implement with immediate impact to build consumer trust, poorly planned or executed personalization efforts can have the opposite effect, and damage your brand’s standing with customers.
Increase conversions…and ROI
The ultimate goal of content personalization is to drive business forward. As we noted earlier, content personalization can help brands cut through the noise and identify a fast and efficient path to purchase for consumers. Once a customer feels a brand understands their personal wants and needs, they’re more likely to make repeat purchases.
Improved engagement, increased conversions, strengthened loyalty — the bottom line is that content personalization increases your ROI.
When customers feel their personal needs are being addressed, they are more likely to spend money, remain loyal to a brand, and refer the brand to their friends and family. In fact, Deloitte reports that content personalization can deliver an ROI of anywhere up to 80%.
Content personalization techniques
There are a variety of ways to deploy content personalization strategies, which allows teams to creatively engage with consumers in ways that feel organic and fresh to their brand. Here are several of the most common content personalization techniques.
- Segmentation-based content personalization addresses broad target audiences based on demographic and/or behavioral variables. These segmented groups are often determined by factors such as age, job title, or even the type of device used to access your content. Although segmented campaigns can address large swaths of consumers at once, this broadness prevents this technique from allowing a high degree of personalization.
- Persona-based content personalization is similar to segmentation, but it relies more on specific behaviors and attributes. Many companies have already created their own buyer personas. These personas share common problems and motivations, and marketers use this information to create content that will resonate with the persona’s unique needs.
- Journey-based content personalization is based on where consumers are in their customer journey. If a customer still in the awareness stage goes to your website, you can use a combination of techniques to work them down the funnel. Strategies meant to drive users down the funnel, such as email nurture campaigns, are especially effective for those using this technique.
- Account-based content personalization is when you create content specifically for an account or organization you’re targeting. Hyper-focused, this approach would include tactics like custom landing pages or presentations sent to key decision makers at a target company.
The key to effective content personalization
To tailor content to customers, you have to know about them! Quality data is critical to implement effective content personalization strategies, and companies should prioritize gathering attainable customer data.
In particular, organizations should focus on acquiring first-party data, as this information is collected directly from an audience via a company’s own online and offline channels, such as website visitors and social media followers. First-party data is more accurate, as it comes directly from your target market, and it also complies with data privacy regulations. Once gathered, organizations can then begin creating personalized content at a greater scale.
Persado collects language-based first party data called “Language Profiles.” This first party data isn’t based on demographics, but on what messaging and creative inspires customers to click and engage. By employing Persado’s Language Profiles, brands can deploy personalized messaging for target audiences across channels–and at scale. In fact, Persado is the only platform that can generate on-brand, personalized content to meet the demand of enterprise-scale requests so that you can achieve the growth your organization needs.
Content personalization examples
Here are several examples of how companies have incorporated content personalization into their marketing strategies, along with some of the measurable results they saw as a result.
charity: water’s mission is to ensure everyone has access to clean, safe water. For the charity, recruiting monthly, recurring donors is critical. With Facebook as an integral part of its acquisition strategy, charity: water’s marketing team needed a more data-driven way to pinpoint the stories and messaging that would resonate best with new audiences.
charity: water used Persado to machine-generate 16 Facebook ads across 1,024 permutations spanning different emotional sentiments, imagery, and narratives. charity: water’s results included:
- A 146.56% conversion rate uplift for their 1% lookalike audience.
- 3,056 more website conversions.
- A 32% conversion rate uplift across audiences.
Marks & Spencer
Despite being known as one of the best-loved retailers in England, Marks & Spencer struggled to draw business to their online storefront. Marks and Spencer’s in-store teams are highly regarded for their close relationships with their customers. The brand needed to find a way to replicate that experience in digital environments.
By partnering with Persado, Marks & Spencer began implementing content personalization into their email strategy. As a result, the brand:
- Saw 20% conversion rate lift in their email campaigns.
- Gained access to insights that allowed them to connect with their customers at a more granular level.
- Incorporated personalization across multiple channels to drive further engagement.
Adorama is the world’s only full-service destination for photo, video and electronics. With so many consumers relying on Google and Amazon to find new products, Adorama’s email marketing team had to ensure their messaging inspired their audiences to act.
To maximize their email efficiency, Adorama adopted Persado’s AI-generated language software and incorporated it into their day-to-day strategy. As a result, the brand has:
- Seen consistent 30% increase in revenue year after year.
- Gained the ability to test email variables, such as CTAs and subject lines, at a large scale.
- Discovered new ways to connect with their customers on a more emotional level.
Challenges to overcome
When planning out your content personalization strategy, there are a few factors to keep in mind to ensure you see success. Many brands face the following challenges when implementing content personalization into their marketing strategy:
- Data quality: For content personalization to be its most effective, companies need to acquire and analyze massive amounts of data to identify the best methods of reaching consumers. Although companies should aim to compile as much data as possible, many rely on limited data-collection methods. Without clean data, businesses actually risk damaging their brand, as off-target campaigns can deter customers from further interactions.
- Scalability: As businesses grow and consolidate, it’s important for their tools to have the same level of flexibility. To achieve content personalization at an enterprise scale, large enterprises will have to be prepared to create large volumes of content. Some organizations may lack the internal resources to keep up with their content generation demand.
- Privacy: Although personalized content is overwhelmingly welcomed by consumers, 69% of shoppers say they only appreciate personalization if it’s based directly on data they’ve shared with a business. Creating tailored messaging is powerful, but it must be done in a way that does not offend your audience. Personalized campaigns should feel natural and unobtrusive. The main privacy concerns associated with personalization come from consumers who fear brands are ‘spying’ on them. To alleviate these concerns, make sure customers have given consent for your websites to leverage their behavior.
How to get started with content personalization
Now that we’ve covered the benefits, challenges, and real-world applications of content personalization, it’s time to discuss how you can get started. Implementing a content personalization strategy does not have to be overwhelming, as long as you focus on the main components.
Collect customer data
Even before the pandemic, business had already started to shift away from outdated systems of customer data collection, like point-of-sale surveys. This has been further exacerbated by the phasing out of cookies and stricter data privacy regulations. Now, more companies are focusing on gathering first-part data.
First-party data (commonly called 1P data) is information a company collects directly from its audience via its own online and offline channels, including website visitors, social media followers, email subscribers, and customers. Organizations that collect first-party data can still create highly-targeted ads, relevant content, and personalized experiences, but they have more control over the data, as they collect it themselves.
Segment your audience
Before crafting your messaging, make sure you have broken down the data you’ve collected. There are many ways to segment your audience, whether by age, gender or location. You can even further classify the individual members of your customer base into more complex categories, such as buying history, price sensitivity, and online behaviors.
Equally important for content personalization is understanding your customers’ motivations. Categorize your customers by their interests, product needs, and problems they’re facing. By identifying their challenges, you can better position your brand or product as the solution.
Content personalization can require a huge lift for marketing teams with already-limited resources. Alleviate some of the burden by investing in tools that automate as much data analysis as possible. This way, machines can crunch numbers and look for similarities amongst consumer habits while marketers focus on creating pattern-disrupting strategies.
Tools like the Persado Motivation AI language-generation platform allow you to determine what motivates customers to act by breaking down message intent, emotional context, and motivation. From there, you can develop informed campaigns.
Test and refine messaging
There is no limit to what you can test with content personalization. To present the strongest strategy possible, companies can test as many variables as they need to, resulting in a host of messaging and customization options.
Additionally, teams can test which channels they use as well. A message may not perform well over text message, but could show success when reworked into an email headline. Experimenting with channels also gives brands a chance to re-engage with consumers.
Achieve content personalization
Content personalization is a must for organizations looking to succeed in an increasingly crowded digital marketplace. Although adoption of this strategy comes with its own set of challenges, the benefits outweigh any potential struggles.
While customers look to you for personalized experiences, you can look to Persado to help make those experiences possible.
The Persado Motivation AI Platform provides organizations with an easy way to generate hyper personalized language that motivates consumers to engage and act. Equipped with the world’s largest customer motivation knowledge base composed of data based on 1.2 billion consumers and their 100 billion interactions annually, allowing us to accurately interpret the structure and impact of messages.
If you’d like to begin incorporating content personalization into your marketing strategy, contact Persado today.