By Erin Fraboni
We’ve all been victims of personalization. You receive an email that includes your name, or you’re shown product recommendations based on previous searches. Whether you find it helpful, creepy, or somewhere in between, personalization isn’t going away – because it works.
In a report released earlier this year from Seismic and Demand Metric, 80 percent of respondents said that business objectives such as lead generation, sales team support and enablement, and thought leadership efforts were better met with personalized content.
B2B Marketers’ Top 5 Priorities for Internal Content Creators
B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—
North America, Content Marketing Institute
Data is the Foundation for Personalization
You can’t personalize content without quality data. According to the same Seismic and Demand Metric report, of the respondents not currently personalizing content, 53 percent noted a lack of data as being among their primary obstacles.
Without complete, verified data, it’s almost impossible to determine what messaging to deliver to customers.
Quality data shows you meaningful customer interactions and insights such as:
- Which emails a customer opens
- Which pieces of content a customer downloads
- If a customer requests a demo
- If a customer has registered for webinars or events
Knowing these customer interactions is critical for deciding what content your customer sees next and gradually nudging them through the sales funnel and converting.
In order to successfully follow the customer lifecycle of your prospects with personalized content, you should understand the three components of data-driven personalization: behavior tracking, customer segmentation, and personalized messaging.
Track Customer Behaviors
Data automation platforms listen for customer behaviors and interactions, such as opening an email or downloading an ebook. If a customer opens an email containing a link to a blog article (and presuming he reads the article), you wouldn’t want to send him that same article in the future. Instead, you’d want to send him related articles and other pieces of content that keep him engaged with your organization – and ideally – push him farther along the sales funnel.
Build Refined Customer Segments
Complete data makes for more effective customer segmentation. Without verified data, you’re at risk of using an incorrect name in a customer email or inviting prospects to events they live nowhere near, resulting in what becomes the opposite of personalization.
Accurate, complete data makes it possible to segment customers based on factors such as industry, buyer persona type, stage in the buying process, and whether they’re an account, lead, or opportunity. Once you have these refined segments established, you can personalize content accordingly.
Deliver Personalized Content Based on Customer Behavior
Customer behaviors prompt certain triggers, which should respond with appropriate, personalized content based on those behaviors. A prospect who attends a webinar or downloads a case study is farther along in the buying process than someone who reads a blog post or watches a video, so you’d want to show them relevant content that’s based on their place in the customer lifecyle. Therefore, it’s more valuable both for you and your prospect to show them more bottom-of-the-funnel pieces.
Likewise, it might be too early to show your blog readers and video watchers those bottom-of-the-funnel pieces. Instead, direct them to more appropriate content that keeps them engaged while eventually pushing them down the funnel.
Personalization Starts with Clean Data
If you want your content personalization to be effective, you need quality data to support it. Try capturing verified, quality data at point of entry using a lead form enrichment platform like ReachForce SmartForms. SmartForms sits on top of your current lead forms pages and appends data from just a few information fields provided by the customer, giving you the data you need for effective data-driven content personalization.
If you’re interested in learning more about how data can help you improve your content personalization efforts, register for our upcoming webinar covering inbound personalization on September 22 at 1 PM CST.