I like watching movies on Netflix, and I love how Netflix recommends movies for me to watch based on what I’ve already enjoyed. Sometimes Netflix gives me a weird movie, but most of the time its recommendations are on point. Like more and more companies today, Netflix has mastered the art of personalized content, and their example is one that all content marketers should follow. To retain customers and attract new ones, personalized branding has become marketing’s silver bullet.
Put most simply, personalizing content is about offering the right content to the right person at the right time. It gives your customer or prospective client exactly what they are looking for — who wouldn’t want that?
Customers like content that’s personalized for them. Don’t believe me? The research backs this up:
- 90% of customers find custom content useful (McCurry/TMG)
- 78% of customers believe companies that provide custom content want to build strong relationships with them (McCurry/TMG)
- 61% of customers say they are more likely to buy from a company that delivers custom content (Custom Content Council)
Personalized branding helps you build long-term relationships with your customers, as well as generate more leads that give you more conversions — three things that all of us marketers love! Looking to up your personalized content? Here’s how to create it:
At its most basic level, personalized content relies on buyer segmentation. Segment your customers based on certain characteristics, such as types of products they buy, times during which they shop, etc. Segmenting your customers will make it easier for them to make purchases as you’ll be a step ahead, serving them what they need when they want it.
Personas are the traditional way of segmenting customers and allows you to communicate more specifically to certain groups. The more detailed and sophisticated your personas are, the more helpful they will be for you. Personas help you speak your customers’ language.
When traditional personas fall short, it is often because they don’t take online attributes into consideration. Take advantage of Big Data to refine your personas, using information gleaned from online form submissions, as well as data from web and email analytics. For example, paying attention to how people use your website (time spent on pages, how they get to your page, and the pages on your site they visit) can help you further develop your personas. The more information you have, the more personalized, targeted, and specific your content can be.
The great thing with digital media is that you can “do it wrong quickly” — meaning if something’s not working, you can quickly and easily adjust it mid-flight. Use this freedom that digital affords to try out different kinds of personalization. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes! In fact in marketing, wrong ideas don’t have to even be considered mistakes: they are just avenues you won’t take again. You can know what works best by throwing spaghetti at the wall and measuring the performance of each effort.
Personalized content can take different forms, ranging from how the content is presented to the medium of the content itself. Here are a few forms personalized content can take:
I’ve talked before about the importance of mobile marketing and it’s worth reiterating: Your website must be responsive to fit whatever device your customer is using. Mobile websites look terrible on desktops and desktop websites are impossible to navigate on mobile devices. If people can’t read your webpage because you don’t have a responsive site, don’t count on them to buy anything from you, even if you are not B2C or eCommerce-driven, because it annoys people and gives the impression you do not care about their customer journey/experience. And if you are eCommerce/B2C you already know more and more people are making purchases on their phones. Device-specific presentation is the first step to getting people to listen to what you have to say.
As discussed above, marketers use personas to personalize content. One-size-fits-all clothing never fits all, and neither does one-size-fits-all content. Don’t waste your time and money creating blogs that your customers won’t read or making pictures that do not prioritize personalized branding. Work smarter, not harder!
As your leads move through the funnel, their needs and concerns change. Create content to meet your different customer personas at different stages of the buying cycle to help push them through that funnel.
Personalized content is the next big frontier of content marketing. In fact, it’s not just the future — it’s happening now. Your ability to master it will determine your success as a marketer and company. If you can deliver a highly personalized experience to the right audience at the right time, they’ll remember how good and easy an experience was, increasing retention and bubbling out to a strong word of mouth.