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Guide to content personalization

2020-08-12

By: Amelia Wallace

Not too long ago, frozen yogurt shops were popping up all over the place. You could create a delectable dessert that was perfect for your tastes because, well, it was created just for you. 

Imagine this same approach but in marketing form. 

That’s pretty much the idea behind content personalization: the practice of tailoring a user experience to each customer or client. Content personalization creates a unique experience for your clients that can’t be replicated anywhere else.

This type of personalization is important to you because it can equate to keeping customers on your site longer and driving improvement in conversion rates and revenue.

Growth of content personalization

Thirty years ago, our access to content and information hit the acceleration button. On average, you could expect to see about 2,000 ads per day. Today, that number is closer to 10,000, and it’s only increasing due to the growth of content personalization.

The internet allowed the business world to create and publish content for a broad audience that had been inaccessible up until this point. By 2010, the world hit content overload, with over 152 million active blogs. To stand out from the noise, businesses have adopted content personalization as a way to entice viewers to engage with their content.

Benefits of content personalization

Content personalization is valuable. And must be part of your content strategy. The numbers speak for themselves.

  • 55% of marketers say personalization increases visitor engagement

  • 55% also say personalization improves the customer experience

  • 51% say personalization increases conversion rates

Principles of a cohesive, personalized content experience

With the growth of content personalization, the world has become inundated with personalized ads. It’s now expected by customers and clients to see personalized content. Because of this, you need to look at content as a critical part of the customer experience and not just a marketing activity. To do so, you should follow these three principles of the personalized content experience.

Consistency

Your messaging and branding should be consistent at every point in the customer journey. And becomes even more important when developing a personalized content journey. Doing so can be challenging to accomplish, especially as more than just your marketers may be producing content for your brand. In a study of marketers and brand managers, Lucidpress found that consistently presented brands are three to four times more likely to have brand visibility. As you start moving forward with better, more personalized content for your audience, check out Lucidpress’s content marketing platform. It can help your marketers plan and create content while keeping it all in one place.

Scalability

Along with consistency, it’s important to make content accessible by creating a central source of truth and providing tools that non-designers can use to quickly personalize content while staying on-message. A great way to achieve scalability is to create templates of brand media that everyone within your organization can access. Templatizing your brand media provides brand control while enabling everyone to personalize content. This principle can also cut out mundane requests for your design team.

Redefine personalization

Now that you have resources in place, it's time to redefine your idea of personalization. Personalized content is agile and genuinely reflects your customers. By redefining personalized content, you can start creating content that is so personalized that someone who isn’t a member of that audience doesn’t have the context to get the joke. It will provide extra delight to your desired customer and filter out those who aren’t your targeted audience. To achieve this you must first collect the data you need to understand your customers, distribute that information across your organization and then make personalization easy by creating content that is built to be dynamic.

Examples of content personalization

Accomplishing personalized content can be done in several different ways and across many different platforms, from individually tailored emails to product recommendations. Here are a few examples of things you can do to personalize your content.

Hubspot

Social media is an easy way to gain insight into what your customers are looking for, their pain points, and more. Hubspot leverages this plethora of available information and transforms it into personalized content that addresses customer issues and needs. From there, Hubspot applies the content strategically based on the prospect’s location in the customer journey, which creates more reliable leads and elevates the overall customer experience.

TLDR: From the horse's mouth — use customer feedback and various other insights to personalize content production. 

Slack

Content personalization also involves understanding your various channels. Slack provides a product that makes it easier for teams to collaborate, chat, share files, etc. They have a heavy social media presence, hitting the main platforms, plus a podcast and several blogs. Slack uses every one of these channels to connect with their customers. By being present on each of these channels, they can strengthen their brand identity, build trust and credibility, and start conversations with prospective clients. Because they’re on various channels with different content for each, they can reach a wider audience. Like Slack, you can also use social media to get inside info on your customers and provide even more personalized content.

TLDR: Get social — use social media to build trust and communicate with customers in a digital, yet personalized setting.

Shutterfly

Content personalization can be applied within the product as well. Shutterfly is an app and website that allows you to create photo books, calendars and more with your personal photos. When using their app, Shutterfly can access your photos and then identify pictures with faces in them and place them on items you can purchase from within the app. If you sell products that are already personalized, it can help to show your customers what they may look like before buying them, or even show them what they can do with your product.

TLDR: Lead by example — give your customers reason to see themselves [in your product] by showcasing their peers using it.

Today’s marketers have countless opportunities to create personalized content experiences. And as we mentioned earlier in the article, your customers have come to expect this, too. For many organizations, creating content personalization can feel trivial and overwhelming. But as you start to create better content and forge lasting customer relationships, be sure to check yourself and read our guide on how to deliver the extra 1% and provide customers with a memorable content experience.

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2021 Content Effectiveness Report

A follow-up to our 2019 State of Brand Consistency, this report is a deep dive into the content ecosystem. We surveyed 452 business professionals from various backgrounds to find out how content is affecting their brands. We’ll look at how confident we are about content (both our own and other businesses’), how content is paying off, and how much time it’s taking to produce.

Learn more

Amelia Wallace

Amelia Wallace has been writing content for far too long. Her expertise ranges from home decor to insurance to marketing and beyond. She is an avid movie-goer, retains only the best kinds of useless information, and is the worst to go hiking with since she’s constantly stopping to take photos.

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