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What Is Personalized Content, and How Can You Use It to Drive Sales?

When you’re on Amazon’s site, aren’t you amazed (impressed, frightened, in awe) when you see them serving up products that you did a Google search on earlier in the day? Their ability to serve up customized shopping experiences is what personalized content, or dynamic content, is all about.

Personalized content is online content that dynamically appears based on a visitor's past and in-session behavior and data known about the visitor.

Personalized Content and Your CRM System

Personalized content relies heavily on your CRM system, which might be SalesForce, Hubspot or Pardot. Using data from your CRM system, you can customize your site pages, emails and other communiques for each particular visitor. You can segment your pages to provide a different experience for leads vs. customers, for people from the United States vs. other countries, for people who appear to be further along the sales funnel, for people interested in certain product lines, and so on.

If you’d like to use your CRM system to personalize content, you’ll first want to make sure your CRM system is collecting a mass amount of data about your customers and prospects. You’ll then define a set of rules and set up priorities for those rules to help ensure that the most important content reaches the right customers. Hubspot provides many more details on how to use your CRM system to add personalization to your content.

Why Is Personalized Content Important?

B2B companies spend a ton of money on content – sometimes as much as 25% of their total budget. If that content isn’t consumed, the money goes to waste. Everybody understands that SEO plays a huge role in helping your content be seen. But even if your content is seen, is it consumed, and is it compelling? All too often, it isn’t. All too often, consumers feel like the site they’re visiting is talking generically to a million people. Not a fun experience.

Personalized content goes a long way in helping engage readers, which of course drives conversions.

Here is a chart from Evergage’s 2018 Trends in Personalization report.

What are the main benefits you see from personalization for your organization?

The good news is that all of these user-experience benefits point to higher-quality content, which improves Google organic rankings and SEO.

When Creating Personalized Content, What Are the First Steps?

To create content that delights customers and drives sales, start by identifying who you’re creating your dynamic content for. The more detail, the better. Long gone are the days when you could successfully convert customers by using a one-size-fits-all approach to marketing. A key goal from this step is to identify your segmentation criteria and the smart rules your system will use to adapt your dynamic content to your intended audience.

Once you identify your audience, do some research on customer intent:

  • Use Google Trends to explore search trends in your category.
  • Conduct keyword research to better understand the words that are more likely to result in conversions.

Next, determine your default content, which is the content that will be served up to people for whom you have no information. If you manage an ecommerce website, your default content will be the website, perhaps including a “Customers also bought” section. The dynamic element would be a “You may also like” section. This would look different depending on the visitor’s age, their interests and their past buying history. For every dynamic asset on your site, you’ll need a default version for the people for whom you have no information.

What Should Be Done Next?

You’ll want to use dynamic content recommendations. The most widely used and most advanced general recommendation method is called ‘collaborative filtering’, which, at its core is an algorithmic approach to capture preference or taste information on many users by collecting and analyzing behavioral information on them.

Any Other Recommendations?

  • Be Sure to Use Automatic Optimization: Dynamic content should be automatically optimized over time when search engines introduce changes to their algorithms, standards and formats that would otherwise require retroactive and sometimes work-intensive optimization.
  • Adopt a Progressively-Dynamic-Content Approach: If you have a visitor who comes in with no cookies, and you can’t figure out where they live, your system will serve up default content. If your visitor doesn’t have a cookie, but your system can figure out that they live in Texas, that visitor will be served up default content for Texas. If your visitor has a cookie, your system will look up their search and visit history and serve up the most relevant content for them.
  • Choose What You Will Personalize: Because personalization adds layers of complexity, most companies start by personalizing one or two elements per page. Keep in mind that some of your pages won’t be suitable for personalization.
  • Remember All of Your Options: It’s important to remember that, in addition to personalizing web pages, you can personalize social media, emails, landing pages and ecommerce sites.

How Do You Measure Performance?

Why do you personalize your content? To increase conversions? The good news is that, according to SurveyAnyplace, 91% of B2B buyers prefer to consume dynamic content over static content.

But how do you measure the impact of using dynamic content?

It can be difficult to track which versions of your dynamic content receive more engagement. Using a different link or a unique query string for each asset will make things easier. For your website, you’ll want to track before and after statistics to see if your dynamic site gets more visitors and if the visitors stay longer.

If they don’t, you will need to rethink your personalization strategy and make modifications to boost your performance.

Betty Kaufman

As Senior Director Content Strategy for Position², Betty Kaufman is a results-oriented marketing professional with proven ability to create compelling assets that help drive successful demand-generation campaigns.