Why content marketing needs to be personalised

Tue, 12/06/2018 - 10:17

Your customers want to experience personal interactions with the companies and brands they buy from. Before they whip out their credit card, they want to feel that personal connection. And as this becomes increasingly common, content marketing needs to be more personalised than ever before.

Content marketing used to be simple. Create engaging content, usually an article or newsletter, that would appeal to the reader and encourage them to take action by buying a product or contacting your business to make use of your services. But now it’s a little more complicated. You need to know who your audience is, including their values, opinions, location and interests, and what action you’d like them to take.

By knowing all of that, you can come up with a list of topics you’ll need to write content for, keywords to target, create an enjoyable user experience and craft the perfect message to encourage your reader to take action. No pressure.

But what is content personalisation?

To really understand it, here’s the definition from the Content Marketing Institute: “Content personalisation is a strategy that exploits visitor or prospect data to deliver relevant content based on the interests and preferences of the target audience.”

Content personalisation is not a new idea. Remember the excitement of receiving a letter in the post personally addressed to you, likely from a credit card company, offering their latest deals? But those days are long gone. Now content personalisation is everywhere you look. Netflix tells you what you should be watching. Amazon tells you what books you should be buying. 

It used to be normal and expected to be served the same content and information that would be seen by another user, someone across the world with a completely different set of needs and interests. Perhaps one or two tweaks would be made to the first line of an email. Now, users expect to see information that has been tailored to their individual needs and interests. They want their previous interactions with the site to be remembered and to inform the way in which the website is currently being displayed and the type of content that they are shown.

What are the benefits of content personalisation?

The benefits of personalisation are many and varied. It provides users with a brand experience that is more relevant to them. Here’s a statistic from Forrester Research which might just convince you of its importance: “77% of consumers have chosen, recommended, or paid more for a brand that provides a personalised service or experience.”

Other benefits include:

  • Better connection with customers
  • Improved conversion rates
  • Increased performance of content

It was technology market researchers Gartner’s 2015 study into the value of personalisation which truly cemented its importance. The sentence, in particular, which most rocked the content marketing world was this one: “By 2018, those that have fully invested in all types of personalisation will outsell companies that have not by 20%.”

20% is a large figure. There’s not a single business person who would scoff at the potential to grow their business by 20%.

Why isn’t personalised content performance marketing as common as it could be?

We’re now in 2018 and many are still struggling with how to effectively embrace and make use of content personalisation. B2B and B2C organisations alike admit to seeing the benefit of content personalisation. But many admit it is difficult to implement. Yes, brands and publishers have been creating personalised content for many years. The difference now is the technology behind the process. The use of data, attribution, automated optimisation and tagging are all widely available content strategy tools which can be used to insert personalisation into copy and campaigns.

Of course, as with all personalisation, there is the risk of becoming too, well, personal. Serving content to a customer based on their recent purchases is one thing. Offering content applicable to their lives, before they realise it, is another matter entirely. Remember the story from a few years ago when retailer Target figured out a teenager was pregnant before she’d told her father?

Aside from letting an angry dad know his daughter is pregnant, there seems to be no real downside to personalising content on your business’s website and other online touchpoints. Your customers will appreciate it. And your bottom line will thank you.

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