Read the following sentence:
‘If people want to become more productive and efficient at work, they should implement the following habits into their working day.’
Let’s change one thing:
'If you want to become more productive and efficient at work, you’ll need to implement the following habits into your working day.’
Notice the difference? Which is more engaging?
People like to read content that talks to them. They like content that is tailored and personalised to their situation, needs, and wants.
Tailoring content isn't just about language though. By using smart content, you have a greater opportunity to nurture your prospects through the sales funnel. In fact, 82% of customers have a more positive outlook on a company after reading custom content.
What is smart content?
Smart content uses the cookies stored in a visitor’s browser to help marketers target them more specifically and nurture them through the buyer’s journey.
We now have the power to personalise content based on language, lifecycle stage, country, demographics, purchase behaviour, location, device, and interests. And this list is evolving.
Users can now be presented with unique messaging that is customised to a person's specific preferences.
Personalisation itself is nothing new. We’ve been receiving personalised emails addressing us by first name for years. But smart content is becoming more sophisticated. Driven by artificial intelligence, algorithms and data analysis, we can make a meaningful difference to a user’s experience.
Tailoring smart content to the buyer's journey
The first part of personalisation comes from categorising your content into stages of the buyer’s journey. This can be achieved by running a content audit.
But this is all dependent on your data. The more data you collect, the easier and more accurately you can customise your content and the user journey.
You can start by categorising your content into the following stages:
- blog posts
- informative videos
- white papers
- blog posts
- how-to videos
- pillar pages
- case studies
- free trials
This first step ensures people are only receiving content aligned with their direct objectives. From here, you can use workflows and data collection to ascertain which content needs to be seen by which users. This could be achieved through emails, call to actions (CTAs), forms, videos and more.
If a customer is not quite ready to buy, and they're still part way through the awareness stage, they might not be ready to read case studies or trial a demo of the product. Presenting them with this content too early in the buyers journey could result in a lost lead.
Rather, your prospects will prefer to peruse content which resides in the 'awareness stage' category; content which answers initial pain points, queries.
Where to use smart content
Where and how can you employ smart content tactics?
Call to actions (CTAs)
Smart CTAs can be created to adapt based on a number of factors. The most common factors taken into account are device type and previous behaviours. Based on which actions the user has previously taken and as a result, which content has already been downloaded or consumed, a relevant offer will be presented.
This means the same content offer will never been presented to a user more than once, but it also allows use to stay within the buyer’s journey verticals, presenting content that is aligned with their current lifecycle stage.
Emails are one of the most well-known formats in which to use smart content. Perhaps that is because we are so used to custom personalisation tokens; it would feel odd not to be greeted by name these days. But personalisation can now go one step further, and email content can be tailored depending on the interests and background of the individual. It can go as far as using different language to talk to some customers over others or having different CTA buttons embedded within the email.
The forms you show prospects and customers can also be tailored to the buyer's journey. For instance, users in the decision stage may have already provided their name and email address when downloading a previous eBook. When they come to download a new offer, you can use this as an opportunity to ask them new questions.
Forms can also be tailored depending on the users' device. For example, to make the user experience as enjoyable and easy as possible on mobile, drop-down menus or truncated versions of the form can be used.
Video is such a versatile marketing tool and for that reason its usage is becoming widely popularised. It is fit for purpose across each stage of the buyer's journey and can be used to inform, educate, demonstrate and entertain. But depending on where the buyer sits within their journey, you can present them with video content that will be most relevant to them at that time. For example, if they are at the awareness stage, a video that helps viewers diagnose their problems will be more valuable than a 'how to' video for one of your products.
Let's not forget the accessibility aspect too. Subtitled versions can be created for those accessing in foreign countries and alternate languages.
By adopting smart content techniques, you can provide your contacts with new, relevant content every time they return to your site. That way, they’ll never see the same content twice (unless you want them to) and they'll only ever be presented with content that is aligned to their position within the buyer’s journey.
Of course, this is all dependent on having adequate data analysis and content management tools in place. The more data you can collect, the more accurate and enjoyable you can make the user experience. This needn't be intrusive - we should only ever collect personal data that is necessary. But with this kind of insight, you can provide a unique user experience and maximise conversion opportunities.