As of 2018, the concept of the Internet of Things (IoT) has reached its full potential. Technologies are now able to understand, interpret and provide users with personalised content based on their tastes and preferences. Siri, Apple HomePod, and Google Home soak information up like sponges and keep records of everything people ask. Music streaming services, such as Apple Music, Soundcloud, Google Music, and Spotify, create custom playlists based on where, at what time, and what kind of music a user listened to.
Personal gadgets display personalised content based on the actions a user takes on each gadget. Similarly, pay-per-click ads are displayed in browsers based on the available user data: gender, age, search history, preferences, and even location.
Digital marketing professionals are competing to attract their target audiences in the content marketing arena. As a result, consumers get overwhelmed with advertising ‘noise’ while brands struggle to get through and deliver their messages to potential customers.
As for eCommerce businesses, modern-day marketing requires them to do more than simply invest into keyword-based marketing and displaying banner ads on relevant websites. Modern-day consumers expect businesses to approach them personally and to provide special offers.
A previous year’s study of customer expectations in B2C and B2B has revealed a rather dangerous trend for businesses that fail to stay loyal to their audience:
65% of B2B clients are more likely to switch to other brands if they don’t get enough attention from the company. This result goes well in line with the attitude of the younger generation which evaluates brands by their transparency, authenticity and personalised approach.
What is personalisation?
Buyers need content that appeals to them at a certain stage in their decision-making process. This means that as a marketer, you need to know your audience and be able to put yourself in their position. Personalisation implies addressing your messages directly to a specific person.
This definition of personalisation is very different from what you may find, for example, in search advertising, where personalisation stands for targeting based on the available user data and a set of advertising tools.
As for content marketing, you should focus on whom the content is intended for, rather than on what technology to use. Therefore, you should pay attention to the following two approaches to personalisation:
- content addressed to a certain group of people
- methods of content delivery to the target audience, including the targeting options based on the users’ personal data (the so-called data-driven marketing)
These two approaches together contribute to the ultimate result. Well-thought-out, personalised content is of tremendous value for achieving the final goal — that is, increasing conversion rates. In this context, the most effective content would be the one that is relevant and can be promoted through multiple channels.
What to start with?
Digital marketing is grounded in the concept of momentum. Each following portion of content published by your company should drive customers to the next stage of your sales funnel. Personalisation is one of the most effective ways to direct people’s attention to the right track and to keep the demand under your control.
The best way to start is to identify topics that coincide with the interests of each individual user. Determine what your target audience cares most about, what pain points they have and which of their problems you can solve. The answer to this topical question should be directly related to your product or service.
However, creating and promoting personalised content is easier than it might seem at first glance. Here are a few steps you should take:
1. Create your message. In order to decide on the main idea that you are trying to convey to the end user, outline the range of topics to consider during the sales process first. In addition to market research and feedback monitoring, use insights from your sales team or project managers.
2. Identify your audiences. You should clearly understand how and who to deliver your content to. In turn, this means that you should use the appropriate tone and style (this also applies to the voice and face of the brand in your videos). When telling your story, try to be on the same wavelength as your audience. A good starting point would be, to analyse the bottlenecks and controversial issues in your sales offers.
3. Track the buyer journey. Learn the needs of your audience and learn more about the steps they take while interacting with your brand. Visualise this process and work through each stage of the customer journey for different target groups.
Keep in mind that your potential customers interact with your business at multiple touchpoints of the customer decision journey. Thus, a customer’s journey to a purchase is becoming more complicated and less like a conventional sales funnel:
Try to identify the stages at which your customers’ progress slows down, and use this information to find out how the content you promote fits into your overall marketing strategy.
4. Divide and rule. Break your audience down into different funnels or segments. Methods used in UI/UX design can be of good use here: create a few personas and identify what they’re looking for as your readers. Next, start testing your messages through different content delivery channels, such as email marketing, blog posts or messenger chatbots.
You can base your marketing personas on these very user segments. The fewer groups you have, the better. You can use this structure as a basis for creating your content.
5. Stay relevant. Identify the factors that affect the customer journey at each stage of your sales cycle. Identify the relevant key phrases and set up triggers based on these. This approach will help you create a long-term strategy to support your marketing efforts.
6. Always check yourself. Track mistakes, errors, and loopholes in the messages you address to a certain user. Over time, you’ll be able to do it automatically and achieve greater results from your content marketing strategy. If your strategy performs poorly for a specific segment but is quite successful in another one, you may need to create more relevant new marketing campaigns and new content targeted to this specific new user segments.
To create an effective content strategy, businesses need more than social media accounts. Many organisations are spending millions of dollars on creating and promoting useless content through these channels. Unfortunately, this money often goes down the drain. A challenge often faced by digital marketing professionals is not being able to clearly understand the steps between creating quality content and making users complete the target action.
Keep developing your content marketing campaigns until they evolve into a full-fledged digital marketing strategy, the one you’ll be able to implement on an ongoing basis. By introducing new personas and expanding your audience, you’ll be able to create segments for targeting and then combine these segments depending on your business objectives. As your campaigns become more cost-effective, you’ll be able to optimise your advertising budget investments so as to attract and engage customers in a more personalised way.
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