You may have heard the word ‘personalisation’ lately. It’s been the subject of many 2015 marketing prediction posts such as those by The Guardian and Kissmetrics and has been dubbed the ‘future of marketing’ by Evergage and Forbes.com. And of course, it’s the topic of the upcoming Sydney HUG. Personalisation has long been a critical part of the marketer’s toolkit, so why all the hype now?
Marketing is rapidly transforming
As marketing automation technology has developed in recent years, marketers have found themselves in quite the predicament. We now have access to powerful tools that have dramatically improved efficiency, yet this has come at the cost of being on a less personal level with an increasingly cynical audience.
But things are changing. Far from accepting the demise of personalisation, we are now focusing on how we can use technology and what we know to personalise our marketing efforts more effectively. And for good reason – a study conducted by HubSpot found that personalised content does 42% better than generic content, while another by eConsultancy found that website personalisation contributed to a 14% uplift in sales.
To date, the more automised our marketing has been, the less effective our personalisation. But now, in an ironic turn of events, we need to automate in order to personalise!
Back to basics
Having said this, the key to personalisation isn't automation nor algorithms, but putting in the effort to get to know your customers in the first place. The architecture, if you like, must be set in place before you can use personalisation tools to your advantage. This means two things:
- Identifying your buyer personas
Who are you targeting? This means identifying users’ demographics as well as psychographics, so that you can be sure you’re attracting the most valuable visitors to your business.
- Locating where they are in the Buyer’s Journey
There are many factors that can affect users’ buying behaviour. In a perfect world, we attract visitors, convert them into leads, close them into customers, and delight them into promoters. But in reality, it’s very rarely a seamless progression through the marketing funnel, instead resembling more a game of Snakes and Ladders. Perhaps a lead is in the decision stage but their budget gets cut, or their business is in the process of being acquired. This kind of information is gathered from observing and tracking real life interaction.
So, there still has to be a personal element in personalisation for it to work. Funny that.
Going beyond segmentation
So, let’s get this straight. When we say ‘personalisation’, we don’t mean the usual segmentation or customising emails with a recipient’s first name. We’re talking about really getting personal with our leads and customers, using algorithmically driven content.
This means keeping track of how they interact with your content online and using smart content and personalisation tokens to individualise their experience. From the links they click and content they download, you can gather which topics they’re interested in and push similar content their way. This makes for an improved, more relevant experience for the user, which in turn creates a more natural process of conversion.
Let’s say a stranger comes to your site and fills out a form to download an eBook. You’ve captured their details and now have a qualified lead. Great. So, what happens the next time this lead visits your site? Do you:
a. Direct them to the same landing page for the top of funnel eBook they’ve already downloaded? Or;
While ‘b’ may be the obvious answer, unfortunately ‘a’ is still a reality for many marketers who are unaware of how automation can help their personalisation efforts. In fact, a huge 70% of marketers that understand the importance of personalisation aren’t even doing it, citing technology integration as the main obstacle. If this sounds familiar, then you need to attend next week’s HUG.
Online and offline: a happy medium
To sum it all up, this new-age personalisation is about using technology to engage users in ways that mimic how we would engage them face-to-face.
Remember, people like doing business with people. So every now and then, remind your visitors that you’re human. Automation and algorithms are only a small part of the equation – the magic happens when online data is used in conjunction with what you already know about your visitors. After all, personalisation will only be successful if you have an in-depth understanding of your buyer personas. That never changes, regardless of technological developments.
Want to find out more about personalisation, as well as how to apply it in Hubspot? Come along to the HUG next Wednesday, 18th February, and get up close and personal with us!