Personalized content marketing has proven to be an effective avenue for engaging and retaining customers. It boosts content consumption, improves engagement rates and can drive more revenue. B2B businesses are taking note, and increasingly dedicating time, resources, and budgets to getting their content marketing strategies right. Still, these businesses — hoping to maximize their ROI — are seeing mixed results.
Today, nearly 80% of companies that exceed their revenue goals have implemented a personalization strategy. But personalization as a strategy isn’t foolproof. Personalize too much of your content on the wrong channel, to the wrong audience, or at the wrong time, and you run the risk of turning your customers off.
How, then, can you guarantee your personalized content strategy is the best it can be?
Start by asking yourself three questions:
1. Who Am I Targeting?
Segmenting your clients is key: how you create segments and position your clients within them will determine the effectiveness of your smart content.
Be strategic about understanding your customers. Find out who they are and what sets them apart. Where are they located? How much do they buy, and when? Understanding who your customer is and what they need will help you understand what kind of content is appropriate and helpful. Ultimately, your content will have the biggest impact when you show your customers what they want to see, and not just what you want them to see (although, in an ideal world, they would be one and the same).
2. How Much Personalization Is Too Much?
When it comes to personalization, B2B content marketers are facing a bit of a Goldilocks situation: struggling to find the sweet spot between too much generic content and personalization overload. Here is a piece of advice: resist the urge to start personalizing every piece of content you share. Trust us. When it comes to personalizing content, less is (often) more.
According to a Seismic and Demand Metric survey, businesses personalizing between 21% and 40% of their content are seeing much more successful results than those personalizing 80% or more of their content. An excess of personalized content can actually lead to information overload and overwhelm your customers.
On the other hand, the right amount of relevant, personalized content can achieve three big things for your company:
- Improve customer perception of your company
- Motivate prospects to seek out your products
- Generate 3x as many leads as traditional marketing tactics.
Don’t underestimate the importance of finding your magic number when it comes to how much you’re personalizing (Try A/B testing, or analyze your data monthly and adjust your approach accordingly). Striking the right balance can make all the difference.
3. Where and When Will I Reach My Customers?
The B2B world has access to a wealth of data. To be a truly customer-centric business, it is imperative that you gather lots of specific and behavioral information about your customers.
Using identified patterns to design a holistic impression of the customer is key to delivering the most successful dose of personalized content. You want to know:
- What channels your customers are using to engage with your business
- When they’re engaging
- What they’re looking for
- How they like to receive information
You can then use this insight to best reach your customers (in the right place, and at the right time).
There’s Always Room for Improvement
Leveraging your customer data shouldn’t stop there. Your data doesn’t just come in handy when planning your personalized content marketing strategy; it’s also a key component in continually improving your strategy. Once you have established the tactics to identify segments and personalize the right content, it’s time to listen, analyze, and adjust what doesn’t work.
It doesn’t matter whether or not your personalized content marketing has exceeded your expectations; you can always do better. Are your clients’ browsing periods longer or shorter? Are they following the directions you suggest, or are they taking a different path? These answers will help you further understand your customer, and continually fine tune your personalized content marketing strategy.
For tips and examples that will help you give your clients the ultimate customer journey, check out our definitive guide to personalized B2B marketing.