Due to the hyper-accelerated increase in digital consumption over these last few years, personalized content is vital to a brand’s marketing plan. But your target audience doesn’t just want personalization—they insist on it. A recent McKinsey poll found that 71 percent of consumers expect personalization from the brands they follow and interact with, while 76 percent are frustrated when they don’t receive it.
Moreover, the McKinsey data shows that brands that excel at personalization generate 40 percent more revenue than their counterparts. Personalization is the secret weapon to many content marketing initiatives, so if you’re not tapping into this valuable resource already, now is the time to jumpstart a content personalization strategy. Here’s what you need to know about why it matters, how to make it effective, and which platforms to deliver it on.
Why You Need to Create Personalized Content
Content marketing should accomplish three main objectives:
- Increase brand awareness
- Educate the target audience, and
- Boost lead conversion rates
But to achieve these goals, you must personalize the content you put in front of consumers enough to draw their attention, hold their interest and motivate them to take a specific action in the sales funnel.
Your content should be compelling, relevant and uniquely tailored to the demographic you want to reach. Why is this so important, though? Because the brand competition is fierce. As of 2022, the average internet user spends almost seven hours per day online, according to research from the DataReportal. Now think about the sheer volume of content this typical internet user will see across numerous platforms during those seven hours.
Consumers are saturated with content from brands worldwide, competing for their interaction and engagement. But their attention spans are also limited as consumers will swipe right by a piece of content if it feels generic or nonapplicable to their lives. But therein lies the benefit of personalization: it helps you stand out from the marketing cacophony and hook the audience with high-value content that pertains to them.
How to Make Content Personalization Effective
To develop an effective content personalization strategy, you have to gather data about your target audience so you know who the consumers are and what forms of content are useful to them. Once you’ve collected those insights, you can personalize content to meet their specific needs. When conducting this research, there are three data categories to focus on:
- Demographic: These data points reveal who your customers are as offline human beings. This data includes age bracket, race or ethnicity, gender, income or employment, education level, affiliations or preferences, marital status, life stage, etc.
- Contextual: These data points reveal information about your customers’ virtual and physical environments. For example, you might track geographic location, weather conditions, device or internet browser used, websites visited, or interactions on social media.
- Behavioral: These data points reveal what online activities your customers engage in regularly. This information can include account history, search queries, preferred content (articles, videos, social posts), time spent viewing content, frequency on platforms, the brand follows, benefits or promotions sought, cart abandons, purchase decisions, and repeat sales.
When you map which details inform your customers’ behaviors, identities and lives, you’ll see them as humans to connect with instead of transactions to aim a sales pitch. This pivot helps you craft a brand message the audience will resonate with and generate content to communicate the idea in a personal, relatable way. This approach can make personalized content more effective: not only is it relevant and valuable, but it entices consumers to move through the sales funnel and enhances their experience overall.
Where to Distribute Your Personalized Content
You can invest substantial money, time, and effort into a content personalization strategy. Still, if this content is not visible to your target audience, it won’t deliver a strong ROI. The trick is to meet consumers where they’re at to increase brand awareness, content engagement, and conversion rates (another reason to monitor their online behaviors).
Don’t be afraid to cross-promote on numerous channels, too—the more digital platforms your content is on, the wider your potential reach will be. In the wake of this global pandemic, 53 percent of marketers have retooled their content promotion or distribution strategies, reports The Content Marketing Institute. So, to remain competitive and catch the eye of those consumers you want to attract, you’ll need an omnichannel approach. Here’s a basic rundown of where to distribute your personalized content:
- Social Media: Post quizzes, polls, videos, stories, live Q&A chats, and other interactive content that encourages active participation over static consumption.
- Email Newsletters: Segment your email subscriber list to create a hyper-focused e-newsletter campaign that serves a particular location or demographic.
- Landing Pages: Curate different website landing pages for customers who are part of a particular demographic or at a specific sales funnel touchpoint.
- Blog Posts: Choose blog post topics that correlate with the audience’s interests or pain points and incorporate the relevant keywords they use in search queries.
- Other Websites: Not only can you publish blog posts on your website and social media channels—but you can also publish them on outlets such as Medium.
- Search Engine PPCs: Optimize pay-per-click (PPC) advertisements to rank higher in the SERP by tailoring them to match your audience’s search.
Personalization is the Secret Weapon Your Content Strategy Needs
The key to successful content marketing is personalization. When a consumer feels that you’re communicating directly to them, their interest level and emotional connection to your brand will increase conversion rates. Content personalization is the answer to elevating brand awareness and growing your customer base (without coming across as “salesy”).