4 Tips to Personalize Content for Better Engagement

Harvey Ranola
Director, Demand Generation

Tailoring content to a target audience is nothing new. Advertisers and sales professionals have used this tactic to generate interest with potential customers as far back as we can remember.

Before the advent of detailed web analytics, television programs, newspaper sections and specialized magazines, were proxies for a prospect’s interest. It’s the reason beer and pickup truck commercials are so frequent during breaks of sporting event broadcasts, or why you’re much more likely to see toy commercials during children’s programming.

And yet, most sales and marketing organizations still find it challenging to optimize their campaigns, despite direct access to prospect data and numerous studies showing how much more effective customizations are.

So, if you’re wondering why your team hasn’t adopted a more personalized approach to their campaigns, don’t worry – you’re not alone. A recent study showed that 70% of brands fail to personalize their email messages, with many of the challenges centered around data accuracy, as well as the lack of technology and resources to execute personalized campaigns.

Sounds difficult, doesn’t it?

Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be. You may already be doing a number of things that can help you start off small and work your way up to the big leagues. Simply knowing someone’s company, along with industry or job function, is more than enough to personalize your content. And, it’s a great place to start.

Here are a few more tips to help you hit the ground running:

Identify How You’ll Obtain Your Data

Much of this depends on what technology you have, but that doesn’t mean you’re dead in the water if you don’t have access to the latest and greatest analytics tools. You’ll just have to start by simplifying your approach, then work your way into more complex personalization.

Let’s say you’re working with a raw list of emails and phone numbers with no other information. You can still easily gather additional prospect information with a little bit of effort.

LinkedIn, for example, is a free resource you can use when collecting prospect data. You can also leverage other free tools like the Datanyze Insider Chrome extension, which can help your team get more insight into a company they’re prospecting, including the technology they’re using on their website, or even the keywords they’re targeting.

While it may take a little bit longer to gather this information and create a targeted list for your campaign, you’ll be much more effective in generating positive responses than you would with a spray and pray approach. Just make sure you’re storing this data somewhere that is easy to organize and access (like a CRM).

Build Your Segmentations

Once you’ve collected your data, it’s time to put this information to use. Start by looking for commonalities in your prospect data, and identify your largest groupings by industry and job title. Then, pick out the top 3-5 groupings (whether it’s industry or job title) and list out the most common pain points your product can solve for each one, starting from the biggest pain to the smallest.

If you’re doing this for the first time, don’t fall into the trap of over-segmenting your data right off the bat. Starting off simple will allow you to test and identify the most effective pieces of content faster, which you can later apply to more advanced segmentations. The last thing you want to do is to create a ton of hyper-personalized content for multiple segmentations, only to find out that your content doesn’t work.

Whether you have these segmentations built out in a CRM, a marketing automation platform, or even stored away as tabs in a modest spreadsheet, you’ll now have targeted lists to use when promoting your next piece of content.

Use These Segmentations to Drive Content

Remember how you picked out your top groupings in step 2 and listed out their pain points? You now have a framework you can use to drive the sequence of your drip campaign emails, the content of an informational one-sheeter, or even the format of your pitch deck.

But before you start putting a plan together for strategy, the first thing you should do is to take an inventory of the content you currently have. Keep in mind the segments you built in step 2 and start categorizing your content in the same way. Then, start grouping your content by type.

Once you’ve finished your groupings, you’ll be able to easily identify where the gaps are in your content.

For example, if you have a case study, a webinar, a white paper and customer testimonials ready to go into a nurture sequence for your online retailer prospects, but are missing one or two of those assets for your other top industries, you’ll know exactly what to request from your content team (or what you’ll need to create yourself if you’re in a small scrappy team).

Test, Test, Test


So, you’ve gathered your data, built your segmentations and created your content. Now what? If you feel like you’re ready to rock and roll, it’s time to see how your content performs out in the wild.

Keep in mind that you’ll want to test these shiny new toys against your tried and true tools and that you’ll need to religiously keep track of how they’re performing against each other.

Once you’ve nailed down your process and grown comfortable, you’ll be able to start applying all 4 of these principles to more complex segmentations and content. Then, when you’re ready to graduate to more advanced sales and marketing tools, you’ll have a framework that you can use over and over again to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your campaigns.

Yes it’s hard work, and yes, it’s EVEN MORE WORK, but the rewards at the end will speak for themselves in the form of better response rates and higher revenue… and who wouldn’t want that?

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