This blog was provided by Moonstone Interactive Inc
Content Personalization is the New Standard
Think about the last time you made an online purchase. How did you find out about the product/service that you purchased?
The online customer journey is essential for companies to understand what their customers want and how they want to achieve it. It follows customers at any given point in time as they go through digital touchpoints and provides insights into the customer decision-making process.
Over time, companies have increasingly invested in technology that enables content personalization. However, not all of these companies implement this technology alongside the customer journey. This can create a disjointed purchasing experience for customers because it’s essential to your map content to your audience behavior.
Customer Journey 101
How do you know what your customers want? What are their motivations? Are you offering them what they’re seeking? The customer journey puts you in the customer’s shoes and looks at the complete experience from awareness to post-purchase. Generally, the customer journey focuses on five key stages. These stages are touchpoints that detail customer interactions. You can then use these insights to create content that is relevant, unique, and customized.
How does the customer become aware of your company or product/service? This can be accomplished through advertising, marketing, and social media.
•Time of Day
•Type of Browser
This is the point at which a customer is considering purchasing your product/service. They may consider the company’s reputation through blogs, reviews, or word-of-mouth.
If the customers get to the point of purchase, this is where they convert from a lead to a sale. This is accomplished through booking an appointment, requesting a consultation/quotation, or making payments for the selected product/service.
How did the customer enjoy their experience with your company? This is where content personalization ties in. If the content is irrelevant, you’ll likely lose the customer as a lead and a sale.
What were the customer’s post-purchase expectations versus the customer’s post-purchase outcomes? A positive impact on the customer will promote advocacy and loyalty either by being a repeat customer, writing positive reviews, or sharing their experience through word-of-mouth.
CMS Elevates Customer Journey
As we discussed in a previous article, choosing the right content management system (CMS) is essential to achieving your content goals and fulfilling customer outcomes.
The customer journey is full of hidden opportunities for you to uncover to innovate your marketing and personalize your content—if you know which data to capture and leverage for higher customer engagement and better overall customer experience.
It’s becoming increasingly important to focus on personalizing every interaction across every channel. More sophisticated CMS platforms can help identify personas or visitor groups.
Personas are customer profiles that represent different customer characteristics in a target audience. They can be based upon market research, or based on available visitor demographic data, geography, visitor source, keyword, prior page views and behavior, and current journey path. Knowledge of the visitor can help you deliver personalized website content based on where that customer is in their journey.
Personalization Strategies & Benefits
Use a customer journey map to develop personalization strategies and achieve a higher return on investment.
→ Define a Persona
• Identify the needs, behaviors, and attributes of your best customers. Group the customers into similar clusters of characteristics as your personas. Decide whose journey you’re going to map and describe that persona’s experience at various touchpoints during their lifecycle with your business.
• When you have a clear image of your customer, your marketing efforts change. It becomes more targeted and, as a result, your customer becomes more engaged. This is how you nurture more leads.
→ Determine Customer Engagement Stages
• Consider the process it takes from discovery through buying your product/service. Based on the chosen persona, define the specific stages your customer experiences with you over time. Include how, when, and where they: discover your company, research your products/services, choose you over competitors, purchase from you, and maintain a relationship with you.
• The benefit of personalization is that you have a better understanding of your marketing funnel and where to sort customers into that funnel. For example, based on where a customer enters in the funnel you can segment them to different versions of your website. This context is critical to creating better lead qualifications that will increase your conversion rate.
→ Conduct Customer Research
• For each stage, go deeper and identify: goals and expectations, feelings and thoughts, touchpoints used, and time spent in each interaction.
• With data from customer research, you can gain deeper insight into who your customers are and what they’re looking for. Combined with SEO analytics, you can uncover and utilize the keywords people are using to land on your website or your competitor’s website.
→ Determine Points of Friction
• Identify if there’s friction at any particular touchpoint, if customers are abandoning purchases, or whether customers are not aware of solutions you already provide.
• Relevance is the key to content marketing. If you want to decrease your bounce rate and improve time spent on your website, personalize the experience. Relevance gives customers more incentive to get curious and explore your website.
→ Resolve Opportunities to Improve Customer Experience
• Identify a few opportunities to boost engagement and improve the customer journey, ultimately improving the overall customer experience and increasing ROI.
• If your website feels welcoming and individualized, you’ll boost customer loyalty. Show that you care about them and customers will care about you. Which makes it all the more important for you to have the right tools to do so. Jamie Gutfreund, CMO at Wunderman said, “The majority [79%] of consumers said that brands have to actually demonstrate that they understand and care about me before they are going to consider purchasing.”
Use content management best practices that solve the challenges of personalization and support the customer journey. For greater efficiency and effectiveness, use an enterprise-level integrated CMS platform such as Optimizely CMS.
→ Use Structured Content
• Structured content means content that’s separated into independent fields or chunks, making its behavior more predictable. It can take longer to set up but provides great scalability benefits for personalization.
→ Separate Presentation from Content
• Deliver personalized content independently from appearance and structure. It should be ready to be reused.
→ Use Custom Classifications
• Look for systems that enable filtering by categories such as industry, geography, persona, client type and embed this in your information architecture.
→ Focus on Personas as a Criteria
• Persona definition is a crucial step for any marketing effort and a way to ensure the buyers’ best interests. Focus on two to three personas to make it easy to think about separate messages. You can then increase the number of personas as needed based on what you learn.
→ Integrate Data from All Channels
• Look at your customers’ experiences as the connected experiences they are. Use the connections between interactions on a mobile app, on the website, and through email to inform your personalization decisions.
→ Set Identification as a Conversion Goal
• Commit to significantly increasing the number of known users you have in your system through form submission, whitepaper download, log-in, or any other method.
→ Measure Personalization Against Goals
• Have a good mix of short and long-term goals when you measure the effectiveness of personalization—from the download of an asset, a webinar registration, to a sale and customer lifetime value.
Advanced Personalization & Experimentation
The goal of personalization is to deliver the right product to the right person at the right time.
Harnessing AI and machine learning, your company can engage with customers one-on-one and use that data to create comprehensive profiles based on customer behavior. It enhances the customer experience in a way that is more efficient and scalable to achieve unique experiences.
Think of rules-based personalization as a series of if-then statements. Whereas AI and machine learning toolkits, such as Optimizely Intelligence Cloud, provide you with an automated and comprehensive solution to discover actionable insights, scale experimentations and optimize content.
The benefits of advanced personalization and experimentation are promising. The right solution will do the heavy lifting for you, helping you focus your marketing.
Take Control of Your Content
The customer journey provides an abundance of data to gather and opportunities to uncover. It’s beneficial not only for your customers but also for your marketing team. It informs your company’s goals, planning, and key performance indicators to ensure that your content is consistent, efficient, and effective.
If you don’t have a customer journey map, you should now have a better understanding of how to get started. A customer journey is essential for competitive digital marketing. However, without proper integration with content personalization, it’s not going to be as productive as you’d like.
Creating integrated strategies based on such a journey can be challenging. Even though leading companies, like Amazon, personalize the customer experience across the sales process, not all competing companies are taking advantage of the data available for such personalization.
Do you want to differentiate yourself in the market? As you shift your customer journey map into the realm of content personalization, you’ll start to see significant improvements in measurable website metrics such as traffic, leads, and conversions.
Make sure you visit Moonstone Interactive Inc’s booth at the B2B Marketing Expo in Los Angeles on April 6th & 7th, 2022 at the LA Convention Center! Register your FREE tickets here!