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4 Ways to Serve Up Individualized Content on Your Website

by: Bryan Brown (@getvision)
08 May 2013

Recently my wife and I just welcomed a baby girl into the world. As any parents of newborns know, this means purchasing lots of baby supplies – diapers, clothes, toys, linens, etc. And it means lots of promotional materials from businesses that specialize in these types of items.

These communications include emails, and the savvy companies deliver educational content information and use the data they have about me and my family to make these messages more personal. Take Silverpop client Little Tikes, for example. It asks parents for their kids’ birthdates, then provides customized subject lines and content based on this information, such as “Perfect Toys for 4-Year-Olds.”

From Customized Emails to Customized Websites
Sending contacts down different messaging tracks or serving up dynamic content based on that person’s previous behaviors, interests or demographics helps ensure the messages you’re delivering to them are relevant. But what happens when that same contact visits your website? For many companies, every visitor sees the same articles, offers and images, regardless of who they are or how they’ve interacted with that company in other channels.

The result can be a less relevant, less satisfying customer experience. In my case, I don’t need any guides for first-time dads (Ellenore was my fifth), product recommendations for cribs (we’re set, thank you) or videos on changing diapers (at this point I could do it in my sleep – wait, I think maybe I have). But what if a company could harness all the data from its interactions with me – across channels – and use this to inform my website experience? Pretty cool.  And with the right integrations, you can do it too.

The Power of a CMS Integration
The key to delivering this experience is integrating your digital marketing platform with a content management system, enabling you to deliver more personalized Web content at a specific point in time and allowing that content to evolve based on visitor interactions and activity across any channel and marketing program.

To create such a website, you’d build dynamic content blocks within your site, then set up business rules that determine which content different types of visitors will see. When someone visits your site, the content management system pulls in data from your unified marketing database, then displays images, offers, text, etc. based on the visitor’s previous behaviors and interests. The result is a seamless customer experience, and the possibilities for providing personalized content are endless. Here are four ideas to get you started:

1) Provide content related to purchases or downloads.
A previous purchase or download is an obvious launching pad for personalizing content. For example, let’s say I purchased a tandem stroller. Relevant dynamic content the retailer could display might include:

  • Review request: “Bryan, thank you for purchasing Stroller A! Please share your thoughts with other customers by writing a review.” (plus link and picture)
  • How-to Video: “Watch our video on assembling and breaking down Stroller A!” (screen shot and link to how-to video)
  • Product suggestions: “Just for you! Product recommendations to complement Product A” (pics and links to purchase page)

Similarly, a prospect who visited a B2B company’s website after downloading a white paper might see a rating request, a link to a video demo related to the white paper, and a list of related resources downloaded by others who read the same white paper.

2) Showcase renewal dates, bill due or trial expirations.
Even buying in bulk, we have to replenish our diaper supply every couple of weeks. If our retailer wanted to take its marketing up a notch, it could add some dynamic content that would display on its site six weeks after my purchase reminding us to restock. Talk about a win-win for both business and customer: Not only would the company drive revenue, but it would do so while providing a service. Because, let’s face it, few things are worse than scrambling to execute an emergency diaper change and realizing you’re fresh out of supplies.

The applications are many. When a prospect in the middle of a free trial for a technology company visits a B2B site, for example, it could display a “free trial” reminder showing the days left in the trial with a call to action to sign up.

Bottom line? Since date-based content is triggered by that contact’s specific experience, it’s inherently relevant.

3) Show content relevant to the stage of the relationship.
From prospects to loyal customers, you have contacts at many several different stages in their relationship with you. In the 11 years since I first became a dad, I’ve gone from prospective consumer of baby goods to new customer to active customer to repeat customer to lapsed customer – and back again.

Rather than serve up the same content to all the visitors to your site, consider matching pieces of content to the individual’s unique place in his or her lifecycle. In this video, I talk about the importance of matching Web content to your relationship with a contact:

4) Display mobile promotional content based on the individual’s mobile use patterns.
Are there contacts in your database who have engaged with you via mobile in some fashion, but haven’t downloaded your app, joined your SMS program or signed up for your check-in promotion? Insert a content block on your website inviting them do so.

Depending on your platform’s capabilities, you might also consider customizing content based on the specific mobile device that person uses. For example, an iPhone user might get content about your new iPhone app, while a Droid owner might see a different call to action.

Interested in more ideas for personalizing Web and email content for each user? Download our new white paper, and learn how you can use a contact’s social behaviors, Web browsing habits, lead score and much more to power individualized content.


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