In this day and age, everyone knows it’s all about getting personal.

The old motto, “it ain’t personal, it’s just business” doesn’t apply to the current marketing environment where consumers thrive off of making connections that drive impact. The one-size-fits-all marketing strategy simply will no longer cut it.

This is exactly where content personalization strategies come in.

Source: Brafton Blog

Content personalization is all about providing customers with content tailored specifically catered towards their individual needs. This can make all the difference in the world.

In fact, 93% of companies that used advanced personalization strategies observed an increase in their revenues.

This means you have to go the extra mile and beyond conventional personalization strategies to appeal to your customers.

If you’re looking for some pearls of wisdom on how you can better engage with your existing audience and attract more customers at the same time, read on to learn some strategies to get started.

Types of content personalization

There are a number of ways in which you can entice your customers and form a personal connection with them. Before getting into the strategies, let’s wrap our heads around the types of content personalization out there.

#1: Persona-based personalization

This type of personalization is based on profiling your target customers and characterizing them on the basis of their attributes and behavior.

The level of depth would depend on the nature of the company itself, but it can be done in an anecdotal or data-driven way. For example, you could conduct online surveys, perform analytics on customer purchases, or send email follow-ups to new buyers.

The more insights you build, the more impactful your personalization strategy will be. It’s important to keep track of this data to successfully convert prospects into leads.

#2: Buyer journey-based personalization

Mapping out your customers’ journeys and the transitions from the first-time visitors on your website to a loyal customer are integral to the personalization process.

Each customer will have a unique experience with your brand, but having a general awareness of their desires along each phase of the journey can help you craft content to ease them along the funnel.

Source: Nielsen

It’s also important to understand the difference between the journey for new customers and existing customers.

If done right, you can accelerate the time taken to make a sale by giving them a delightful experience that makes them feel understood and valued.

#3: Channel-based personalization

Depending on your product, customers may lean toward one channel over another for engagement.

For example, creating tailored content directly on your website may do the trick for a streaming service, but for online retail, customers may lean toward social media engagement.

Email is considered one of the best channels for individual interaction, but it can sometimes be overdone and incorrectly delivered.

It’s important to determine what channel your customers carry the most weight towards and develop strategies to improve it.

#4: Device-based personalization

Whether they’re on their laptops, tablets, or smartphones, customers want an optimal viewing experience. Slacking off here can make or break a connection with an ideal buyer.

Creating a responsive design that is both attractive and user-friendly is a solid way to bridge the gap between your brand and consumers’ individual tastes.

With tech developments on the front-line of business, the device your customer prefers is an extension of their demands. Delivering to them on a contextual basis is also a method in which you can emphasize your brand’s message.

#5 Link-based Personalization

Take advantage of dynamic linking

Dynamic linking enables you to personalize the content your audience sees based on who has clicked on your link and is a feature offered by some link management tools like Rebrandly URL Shortener. How this works is that when you create the dynamic link, you are able to program that link to send your customers to a wide variety of destinations based on their behavior. This means that your campaigns will be extremely targeted, personal and relevant to your audience.

The best advanced personalization strategies: insights from the experts

Now that you have an understanding of the different types of content personalization you can use, let’s dive into some effective strategies that can be pursued for advanced personalization.

Execution is key and who better than experts who have already faced the challenges of implementation to guide you?

Here are some personal insights and recommended strategies from those who’ve worked the frontlines of content personalization and were rewarded with success.

  1. Create a dynamic personalized experience for each user — Ben Johnson
  2. Personalize your blog’s features — Adam Enfroy
  3. Get creative with videos and GIFs — Emilie Johnston
  4. The user’s name can go a long way — Nico Prins
  5. Curate the debate — Brittany Ryan

Strategy 1: Create a dynamic personalized experience for each user — Ben Johnson

Source: Proof

Crafting personalized content is a great way to connect with your users from the start of your relationship. It shows them that you’re ready to cater to their interests.

However, in a world where user wants are dynamic and ever-changing, personalization is no easy feat.

This is where smart content personalization comes in.

By creating a predefined set of rules on viewer characteristics, your website’s landing page, home page or even the emails you send out can be altered to display content specific to the type of visitor you have.

These characteristics can vary depending on their location, device or where they are in the buying process.

Ben Johnson from Proof commented on the marketing landscape, saying,

“In 2019, most companies have enough information about their visitors to create personalized experiences throughout the customer journey. We think it’s pretty wild (and lazy) that brands still treat all of their traffic the same.”

Proof’s website personalization strategy involves creating a unique customer experience by altering the homepage depending on whether they are first-time visitors, returning visitors or customers.

Here’s Ben’s step-by-step guide on how to personalize using smart and dynamic content:

Step 1: Choose your segments wisely

Segmenting is only as effective as the accuracy of the ones you choose.

There are a lot of options available to you, for example, on the basis of industry, buying persona or customer lifecycle. Choose the one that defines your customer most strongly.

At Proof, they went with customer lifecycle, on the basis of those who:

  • Haven’t watched a demo
  • Watched a demo but did not trial
  • Customers

What’s more, you can tailor your content according to psychographics to tackle topics that your target is most interested in.

Step 2: Create a unique message for each audience

What is the most effective way to target each segment with a message that drives the most impact? Depending on the nature of your business, this would vary.

At Proof, first-time visitors are given a “Watch an instant demo CTA” and encouraged to start their free trial.

Visitors that are converted into customers have the “Login” option displayed instead.

Step 3: Make a hypothesis

Testing is a crucial prerequisite before you start launching smart content personalization.

You need to have an understanding of your marketing funnel and the conversion points from visitors to customers.

Proof runs 2-3 week testing periods before launching the personalization strategy. Experimenting and seeing what works best helps them determine the winning strategies that can garner more sales.

Step 4: Deploy it using a personalization software

Personalizing can only be done so far without a handy software to aid you along the process. Depending on your needs, there are a number of tech tools to choose from like Optimizely or Google Optimize.

For example, if you’re in the B2B SaaS field, Experiences is a personalization software that’s designed exclusively for these users.

The results?

Personalization led Proof to a more successful brand offering.

Using dynamic landing pages helped increase demo signups by 54% and new trial registrations by 32%.

While the specifics of the strategies may vary from one brand to another, the benefits of smart content remain.

If you’re interested to read more, of Proof’s strategies, check out their guide.

Strategy 2: Personalize your blog’s features — Adam Enfroy

Adam Enfroy’s blog is an example of a success story in the personalization space. As an affiliate marketer, he makes over $35,000 a month with $18,000 generated from affiliate revenue.

Source: Adam Enfroy

Personalization strategies played a role in this success. Adam breaks the areas for personalization into three different strategies, examined below.

Area 1: Within the blog content

Depending on the business you run, the content on your webpage will differ but if you can create a clear CTA and hyperlink your sections on the basis of actionable content, you can generate more revenue.

For example, in the space of affiliate marketing, if you’re writing a blog post on the best services out there, Adam suggests ending review sections with an affiliate link.

This makes it easy for customers to derive real value from what you’re giving them.

Area 2: In the sidebar

If you haven’t explored the Extended Widget Options plugin on your blog, you should start now.

Changing the sidebars of individual posts and pages is a simple but effective personalization strategy to target a direct sale to a customer.

For example, if your blog post is discussing HR software solutions and your customer sees a photo on the side recommending a product as the #1 choice, they might just buy it.

Bonus tip: Check out the option to make your sidebar banners ‘sticky’. They won’t lose the subtle marketing as they scroll down the page.

Area 3: Upon exit intent

Do you ever get a pop-up making you reconsider when you decide to leave a website?

That tactic is called exit-intent strategy and is a good way to generate positive action from a customer that’s about to leave. These can be personalized on the basis of content of your post.

Adam, for example, in a blog post about “how to make money online” created the following blanket exit-intent pop-up to join his email list:

If they’re a returning visitor and already joined the email list, the pop-up is for a digital download instead.

Alternatively, if they try to leave his affiliate article on the best webinar software, they receive a WebinarJam recommendation instead:

It’s important to construct exit-intent strategies that are personalized to the type of content the viewer may be looking at.

Adam’s exit-intent metrics converted an extra 131 leads in September and made an extra $1,251 in affiliate revenue.

While these strategies may require a little more effort and leverage from tools, they do bring in the numbers.

Strategy 3: Get creative with videos and GIFs — Emilie Johnston

Going visual can never go wrong.

The usage of videos and GIFs is one of the most effective ways to appeal to your users. Not only are they relatable but you have an abundance source to choose from to cater specifically to a particular audience type.

Emilie Johnston formerly worked with CloudApp, an enterprise-level app focused on integrating smart media with business workflow.

Source: CloudApp

From her experience, she recognized the benefits of using videos and GIFs for content personalization and recommends the following strategies.

For email newsletters:

The first step is to create detailed segments.

In fact, the more detailed, the better the success rate. People should receive content marketing specific to their interests.

The time you put into researching and building the right segments will make way for better results and a better relationship between you and your customers.

Secondly, make sure to create engaging videos and GIFs. These stimulating visual formats make the experience more engaging and fun than blocks of text.

You could be going forward with a more serious approach like product videos recorded through screen captures which highlight the step-by-step process in a way that stays with your users.

Or if you’re going for something more fun, you could employ the use of relevant GIFs (or even make your own).

For personal and sales outreach:

Emilie recommends the use of personal videos when reaching out to people with specific requests.

A video is not only engaging but also makes the user feel more valued by the personal touch you add to it.

Emilie recommends the CloudApp, a free tool, to make your emails and communications more interactive for this purpose.

The results?

“I have seen an increase from 5% to 20% in clicks when using GIFs in emails,” Emilie says.

It’s important to create a balance between the GIF size and loading speed. Below is an example of the GIF used in AND.CO’s email on a product update.

You can never go wrong by spicing up your emails, blogs, and websites with interactive GIFs and videos.

Your visitors will dig it.

Strategy 4: The customer’s name can go a long way — Nico Prins

Simply addressing your customers by their name can do the trick.

When you correspond with your customers through email, if you have a handy list of their names, starting off the email with a variation of “Hi {Name}” is a personalization tactic in itself.

However, a lot of customers are at the receiving end of emails from a number of companies. You have to go the extra mile to make them feel heard.

One personalization tactic that Nico Prins, founder of Launch Space, recommends in email marketing campaigns is to use the person’s name in the body of the email.

He provided an example of an autoresponse sent to people who submit inquiries.

Customer interests will be piqued when they see their name used in an area where they were not expecting it.

And depending on your email, you will have to find a suitable place to mention their name a second time.

Nico finds this tactic particularly effective when used prior to a CTA in a long email.

Strategy 5: Curate the debate — Brittany Ryan

When it comes to personalization, customers want to know one thing: does this brand understand me?

Idea mining on social media helps you build trust with your customers by helping you better understand them and their evolving wants.

You can get started by paying attention to the conversations happening in Facebook groups, Reddit threads, Quora answer boards, and other relevant social media streams.

Ask yourself:

  • Which posts have the most engagement?
  • What are people getting fired up about?
  • Why is this such a hot topic?

These are the topics you need to personalize your content with.

According to the 2018 Edelman Earned Brand study, 64% of consumers globally are more likely to buy a brand for the first time because of its stand on a controversial issue.

So what can you do to jump on this trend?

Brittany Ryan, founder of Pointed Copywriting recommends picking a topic that’s got all the buzz and tackling it head-on!

She referenced an expert-led deep dive she conducted on the longstanding ‘childcare’ vs. ‘daycare’ debate for a client in the childcare management software space.

Source: Momentpath

Curating a collection of expert perspectives helped to cover all sides of the debate while maintaining their objective position as the reader’s guide. What’s more, these experts were relevant to her target audience of ECEs, making it a more authoritative piece.

The results?

Over 10k social media engagements — including 4.2k shares on Facebook alone. The article continues to pick up backlinks even six months after its publication.

“Speak up on a topic your industry cares about. They’ll remember you for it,” Brittany says.

Personalization starts with you

There’s a lot of evolving trends and desires from consumers out there and in order to keep up with their expectations, businesses will have to adopt some sort of personalization model.

Personalization can make or break your relationship with your customers and keep you ahead of your competitors. There are many approaches available for you to try out but it all boils down to one thing: you.

Are you ready to take the leap and give it a shot?