An Introduction to Content Personalization

As customers crave in-depth personal experiences with the companies and brands they buy from, content personalization is only going to become a more necessary strategy over time.

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Ondrej FridrichPublished on Oct 3, 2017

But what does content personalization consist of, and how does a brand go about personalizing their content? 

In this article, we’ll take a look at what content personalization actually is, the benefits you’ll realize from it and how you can get started with content personalization today.

What is Content Personalization?

In some regards, you experience online personalization on a daily basis. Every time you log in to your Netflix or Amazon account, you experience personalization based upon previous movies you’ve watched and past products you’ve bought.

By recommending movies you might also enjoy, Netflix is able to keep you hooked to your screen, while Amazon is able to increase their profits using a similar technique.

To drill this down further into the content realm, let’s look at the definition from the Content Marketing Institute:

“Content personalization is a strategy that exploits visitor or prospect data to deliver relevant content based on the interests and preferences of the target audience.” 

Essentially, it’s a similar process to creating content for specific brand avatars or customer profiles, except it’s based upon data.

Instead of having to go through this process manually, content personalization utilizes various tools to accomplish this goal. For example, an email blast with the content tailored to suit the recipient’s gender or region is one way to personalize content. 

Benefits of Content Personalization

Content personalization helps to provide your users with a more relevant brand experience. Instead of reading content that addresses them broadly, they will be served content that speaks to them based on who they are, where they’re from and what they enjoy. 

Consider this statistic from Forrester Research, which claims that “77 percent of consumers have chosen, recommended, or paid more for a brand that provides a personalized service or experience.”

With that statistic in mind, here’s how you can leverage the power of content personalization to show that you understand your customer. 

1. Deeply Connect With Your Customers

The bond you form with your customers will make or break the success of your business. 

Through content personalization, you’ll be able to serve your customers content that is tailor-made to their wants and needs. Your customers will feel like you “get them”, further enhancing the trust between them and you. 

2. Improve Site-wide Conversion Rates

Imagine being able to send your customers to highly-specific landing pages that are designed for their specific position within their customer journey. This means new customers will see different landing pages and marketing material than customers who have already purchased from you.

Plus, you can even segment your existing customer base to educate and sell to different aspects of your market.

When customers receive messages that are designed for their exact pain points, you can bet they’re going to take action more often than not. 

3. Improve the Performance of Your Content

Content personalization means producing targeted and helpful content, which in turn will generate more shares—and more importantly—a higher level of trust.

Through vehicles like A/B testing, which will give you the data you need to tweak your copy, your headlines, and your CTA, you can further refine your existing content to better speak to your customers.

How to Start Content Personalization for Your Brand

Now that you know what content personalization is, and how it can benefit your company, it’s time to discuss exactly how you can make your content personal. 

1. Base Personalization around Personas

It’s important to define how you’re going to personalize your content, because every brand has a unique set of customers. A large-scale SaaS company will personalize their content differently than a beauty-related e-commerce store, for example.

The tried and tested strategy involves personas, which entails segmenting your audience into a set of distinct categories based on their demographics and intent. Once you have a few personas, which together make up your target market, you can begin to personalize your content towards each persona—which in turn will cater for your audience as a whole. 

2. Determine Customer Data Points to Track

Data is going to be the key element to your content personalization. You’ll need to determine what kinds of data you’ll be using for your personalization campaigns. Below we highlight a few basic data points you may want to collect:

  • The channel they used to access your website
  • Their overall demographics
  • Their past purchase history
  • Their physical location
  • Their place in the buyer lifecycle

3. Set Triggers Based on Customer Actions 

The core of content personalization is based upon the actions that are carried out based upon a customer’s behavior. This is where your data and insights come to life. Delivering the right kind of targeted action will help you offer the personalized experience that your customers demand.

Some examples of triggered actions include:

  • Facebook ad retargeting after a customer visits your site.
  • Live chat windows to help user navigation.
  • Recommended items based upon commonly bought items or past customer history.
  • Email retargeting for abandoned carts.
  • Live discounts or rewards based upon repeated customer behavior. 

4. Keep Context in Mind

One thing you’ll want to keep in mind is the context of your personalization. This is where the time and location of your customer comes into play. 

Just because someone purchased a heavyweight down-coat from you a few months ago, doesn’t mean they’re ready to purchase it again, especially in the summer months. 

Or, how about an abandoned cart email? That email might be very effective 30 minutes after leaving your site. But, a week later and that very same email might be met with confusion.

The context of your personalization will help to create a seamless customer experience. 

5. Incorporate Personalization into Your Customer’s Life Cycle

Content personalization isn’t something you set and forget, it’s something that you’ll have to blend into the customer life cycle and adjust over time. 

You not only need to think about how you’re going to address customers who are in different parts of the lifecycle, but also how you’re going to provide a seamless experience as they progress through it on an individual basis. 

For example, a newly acquired customer will need messaging tailored to welcome them as a new customer. But after six months, that messaging should have changed to reflect their position in their customer life cycle.

Put simply, you need to be aware of how your customer needs are changing over time. 

6. Always Be Testing

Without continuous testing, you won’t know if your personalization efforts are actually working. You must constantly run tests about what’s working with your customers, then test again. Ideally, the testing never ends.

With each test you run, you’ll be improving your conversion rates and improving customer retention over time by serving up more relevant content and user experiences based on trial and error (and success).

Time to Get Personal

Content personalization is the key to improving the trust between a brand and its customers, and the tips above will give you the foundations you need to get started. 

Schedule a live demo to learn how Kentico Cloud can take care of the heavy lifting when it comes to content personalization.

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Ondrej Fridrich

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