Content Marketing / Guest Post

Content Personalization: Boosting Engagement and Conversions

Author:  Ahmad Benguesmia

Published:  

Reading Time: 9 minutes
Content Personalization: Boosting Engagement and Conversions

Businesses today are tripping over themselves to be anointed the next “Netflix” or “Amazon” of their fields. Not because they’re fishing for a catchy tagline (though that’s definitely a bonus) but because they’re trying to emulate the personalized content delivery system these goliaths have pioneered. With 79% of tech leaders elbowing each other to jump on the content personalization bandwagon, according to the folks at Optimizely, it’s clear that this trend is more ‘in’ than ever.

But why is every up-and-comer and their corporate cousin so obsessed with personalizing content? Could it simply be that it’s the latest fad in the marketing playground? Or is there something more to this personalization pandemonium? Keep reading if you’re itching to unravel this mystery. We’re about to take a thrilling plunge into the world of content personalization. So, get ready for the inside scoop.

What is Content Personalization?

Content personalization is a dynamic branding and marketing strategy employed by brands and services to deliver tailored experiences aligned with individual user preferences, behaviors, and quirks. But how do businesses pull off this feat of technological wizardry? 

If you haven’t already caught on (and let’s face it, you’d have to be living under a rock not to), your digital footprints are constantly being tracked, traced, and dissected to the last detail. This relentless monitoring is the magic behind those eerily accurate Netflix movie recommendations during your binge-watching sessions or the “How did they know I wanted this?” moments while scrolling through Amazon. 

The Irrefutable Case for Personalized Content

It’s easy to dismiss “content personalization” as just another term cooked up in a digital marketing cauldron, along with “synergy” and “growth hacking.” But this isn’t some marketing mumbo jumbo but a strategy deeply rooted in both psychology and hard data. 

So, why is personalized content more than a passing trend? First, let’s consider the psychology of it. According to a comprehensive study conducted by the University of Texas, there are two pivotal factors that can explain why personalization holds its ground:

Desire for Control

Personalization isn’t just about breaking away from the mundane herd. It’s about crafting a unique experience that’s distinctly yours, making you the one in charge of your own digital space. This perceived control, even if it’s just smoke and mirrors, packs a hefty psychological punch.

Combating Information Overload

Now, onto the second revelation from the Texan study: the dreaded information overload. Personalized content streamlines the consumer’s interaction with a website, providing a focused and relevant experience as opposed to an inundation of indiscriminate data. This targeted approach ensures that the consumer encounters precisely what they need, free from the burden of excessive information.

Other psychological reasons that make personalized content the undisputed champion in the digital arena include:

Pulling your Attention

According to a National Library of Medicine study, when ascertaining relevance in a conversation, the mere mention of one’s own name has the remarkable ability to quickly pull one’s focus. So, when your marketing email finds itself in a crowded inbox brimming with messages from various brands, consider this potent insight: Incorporating the recipient’s name in the subject line can serve as a powerful catalyst, capturing their attention more effectively than emails lacking this personal touch.

Establishing Belonging

Just like how you would recognize individual contributions and tailor communication to employees to keep their engagement levels sky-high, it’s the same for your audience. You see, much like your workforce, your audience also thirsts for recognition and that warm fuzzy feeling of belonging. So, how do you make them feel included? It all starts by acknowledging their unique interactions with your brand and then using the treasure trove of data to whip up content that says, “We know what you love, and here’s more of it.” 

But if psychology doesn’t quite seal the deal for you, these cold, hard stats certainly will:

  • According to HubSpot, personalized website CTAs can jack up conversion rates by a whopping 202%.
  • SalesLoft’s research found personalized sales emails can double your reply rate
  • And if you’re still skeptical, know that a Twilio study found that nearly half the customers are inclined to return for more business following a personalized shopping experience. In fact, if you play your cards right, a third will stick with you, even if there are cheaper or more convenient options elsewhere.

Now, let’s ground this discussion in reality with some compelling case studies. 

Amazon

Take, for instance, the tale of a humble online bookstore that turned into an e-commerce titan partly by mastering the art of personalization. Yes, we’re talking about Amazon.

Content Personalization - Amazon Example

By recommending products based on past purchases and browsing behavior, they turned “you might also like” into an algorithm of anticipation, much to the delight (and the slight detriment to the wallets) of their customers. A jaw-dropping 35% of Amazon’s sales still come from these cleverly personalized upsell and cross-sell recommendations.

Brex

Brex, a hotshot in B2B finance tech, cranked up their application completions by a whopping 29% – how? Simple. They tailored their homepage to match the visitor’s industry. Here’s what a visitor from the Life Sciences sector might see when they access Brex’s homepage:

Brex Life Sciences Homepage Personalized
Image Source

And here’s what a startup operator visiting the same site might encounter:

Brex Start Up Homepage Personalized

Every Brex visitor who’s ever clicked an ad, munched a cookie, received an email, or is residing in their database gets a homepage message that’s custom-fitted to their industry. 

O2

In their quest to captivate mobile audiences, the marketing team for British telecommunications services provider O2, took a bold step by infusing their ‘tariff refresh’ advertisement with a touch of personalization. 

O2 UK, British telecommunications services provider targeted campaign
Image Source

Leveraging device-specific and location-based data, they embarked on a mission to deliver ads showcasing information specific to what each individual needed, what fellow users in similar situations opted for, and the proximity of their nearest store. The outcome was nothing short of astounding, as the personalized ads delivered a staggering 128% boost in click-through rates. 

Tips to Getting Started

So, you’re convinced about the power of content personalization but wondering how to get the ball rolling? Fret not! Here are some strategies and tips to kickstart your journey into the world of personalized content:

Craft Detailed Personas

Creating customer personas isn’t just about filling in a template with hobbies and income brackets. It’s about understanding the heartbeat of your market segments – the why, the when, and the how of their engagement with your brand. 

Ask the hard-hitting questions:

  • Why does this shiny thing we sell resonate with Group A but get a cold shoulder from Group B?
  • At what stage of their journey do they need a gentle nudge versus a full-blown campaign?
  • How do they prefer to receive information — through an engaging Instagram story or a detailed blog post?

The answers to these questions will shape your personas into living, breathing blueprints. This gives you the power to devise narratives that hit home with each segment’s true experiences and expectations.

Leverage Technology to Scale Your Efforts 

Now, unless you’ve discovered a way to clone yourself or bend the space-time continuum, you’re going to need some technological wizardry to scale your personalized content efforts. Thankfully, the digital age has blessed us with a plethora of tools designed to automate, analyze, and enhance our content personalization efforts. Here are some tool categories that can propel your content personalization from generic to genius:

  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software. CRM software is like having a superpower that lets you remember every interaction, preference, and detail about your customers. Platforms such as Salesforce or HubSpot can help you segment your audience, track their behavior across your digital properties, and trigger personalized communications based on specific actions or milestones.
  • Website Personalization Tools. Your website is often the first port of call for potential customers, making it the perfect candidate for personalization. A robust website personalization tool enables you to create dynamic content that adapts to the visitor’s behavior, preferences, or past interactions. Whether it’s showing relevant products and articles or even changing the site’s language, a website personalization tool can make your website feel like it was made just for them because, in a way, it was.
  • Social Media Schedulers. Social media scheduling platforms save you from the tyranny of constantly updating your profiles while ensuring that your personalized messages reach the right people at the right time. Tools like Hootsuite, Buffer, and OneUp act as the puppeteers, pulling the strings to ensure your social media posts and GMB post updates land with impact at the most opportune moments. 

Do Thorough Testing

Treat every change like a mini-science experiment. Hypothesize, test, analyze, and repeat. The path to personalized content mastery is paved with trials, errors, and epiphanies. Approach each tweak in your strategy as an opportunity for discovery. Wondering if a more casual tone will boost engagement with your younger audience? Test it. Curious about whether a specific call-to-action drives more conversions on a Tuesday versus a Friday? Analyze it. The insights you gain aren’t just data points. They’re stepping stones toward a more intimate and effective engagement with your audience.

Recognize the Obstacles

While personalized marketing holds tremendous potential, it’s a field lined with critical boundaries that must be navigated with care. Stepping over these lines can turn your well-intentioned campaigns into unexpected misadventures. Here are some of the challenges you’ll be up against:

  • Ethical Concerns. Some folks aren’t too thrilled about their personal information being scooped up without consent. So, always be transparent. Let your users know what data you’re collecting and why. This isn’t just good practice; in many cases, it’s the law. 
  • Data Accuracy. John Doe gets a personalized newsletter at Company X when he’s been living it up at Company Y for six months. That’s an email heading straight for the digital bin. So remember to clean your data regularly if you want to keep personalization spot-on.
  • The Creep Factor. There’s a fine line between “thoughtfully personalized” and “uncomfortably intrusive.” You want to make your customers feel understood, not like they’re being watched through a digital keyhole. Respect your customer’s boundaries and exercise discretion when revealing the depth of your knowledge in order to avoid crossing into the uncanny valley of personalization. 

Hire an Industry-specific Agency

If the thought of juggling all these tasks makes you dizzy, consider bringing in the professionals. These folks live and breathe personalization strategies. They have the know-how and the tools to transform your brand’s message into a symphony of targeted communication. But don’t just rope in any old agency. To really hit those high notes in personalized content creation, you need partners who aren’t just familiar with your industry—they practically have a PhD in it. 

The market is crowded with agencies claiming to be jacks of all trades, but it’s the masters of one that are truly worth the investment. Take Growth Partners Media, for example, who’ve got the B2B SaaS sector on lockdown with their personalized link-building skills. Snagging an agency that’s in sync with your field’s beats can crank up the volume of your personalized content efforts.

Harness the Power of Personalization

In a world where choice is abundant, and loyalty is fleeting, personalization guides weary, content-overloaded consumers to your brand’s shores. So go forth, use these insights, and start personalizing because that, dear reader, is how you might become the Amazon or Netflix of your industry.

About the author

Ahmad Benguesmia - Founder BenguOnline
Ahmad Benguesmia
Founder at Bengu

Ahmad Benny is the Founder of Bengu, a site that helps marketing teams cut through the noise on B2B SAAS software to help them make an informed buying decision. On the site, you can find expert-led reviews and how-to guides on a variety of marketing topics.

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