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Welcome to Part IV of our series on using content marketing to replace leads lost due to the coronavirus pandemic. If you missed our first three parts, get caught up here: Part I, Part II, and Part III.

Step 7: Experiment with personalization

Personalization gets a bad reputation in marketing circles. The data-driven, numeric, and automatic strategy takes the personal touch out of marketing, its detractors say. However, personalized messaging—tailoring content based on the viewer’s job description, for example—is actually a way to speak your customers’ language. It makes your company’s efforts more customer-centric, and as a result, makes your marketing more human. Seventy-four percent of marketers say personalization has a high impact on engagement, and 68% say it has a high impact on ROI.

In the long run, personalization could help your business build a forward-thinking strategy—one that seeks to identify future audiences and gain their trust through reliable, consistent marketing based on behavioral data. One of the difficulties of integrating personalization tactics into a content marketing strategy is that it’s easy to get wrong. Collecting data and using it to form decisions takes time, and sometimes what’s needed is immediate feedback. If you’re new to personalized marketing, start small. Try testing it out first on just one email campaign, and take it from there. Here are some simple ways to get started with personalization. 

Meet your users, again

Return to your user data, whatever user data you’ve collected. There’s probably a lot to be gleaned from the info your loyal customers have already shared with you. You might know ages, genders, jobs, and even locations. Those foundational bits of information are enough to start creating customer personas. Redraft your user personas, considering the information given to you by your actual customers. This will give you a much more granular understanding of your customers’ real needs and how those customers actually use your product. 

Start with one question

Send out a survey in your next email, but limit it to only one question. That question should be something that can tell you a lot about how your audience might be using your product. For example, at Ceros, we would ask the question, “Are you a designer or are you a marketer?” This allows us to divide our audience into two segments—one of marketers, one of designers—for which we could then personalize emails. 

Test your personalized email campaigns

Once you have your audience segmented, start A/B testing to gauge which content offerings appeal most to the right people. The results of the tests will tell you which of your hypotheses were right, and from there, you can adjust your content offerings accordingly. 

Match your site with your emails

Once your personalized email marketing campaign is in full swing, you can start matching landing pages to it (and home pages, as well). Remember to frequently return to the behavioral data to make sure that you’re making decisions with the most recent—and therefore most accurate—information. 

Step 8: Test and Measure

As you tackle all elements of your inbound marketing strategy at once, remember to make your goals specific and measurable. Analyze your results, and then adjust accordingly. Your strategy will get stronger as your data changes—just keep going back to the numbers to evaluate your success. 

There are some things, however, about content marketing that the numbers can’t show you—all of the aspects of your marketing strategy that hinge on your personal touch. As you move more and more toward offering educational, informative content, you’ll find that the most important part of your strategy are the moments when you lean into authenticity and highlight the value of the real people on your marketing team. The more you’re able to strike a balance between data-driven decision-making and the human touch, the easier it will be to find success. 

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