In talking about personalized content last month, I mentioned Ed Fry’s efforts in early 2015 to build a genuinely valuable community at Inbound.org (and how, lamentably, this is not the consistent priority in the marketing world). This month, I’m going to reference his work again, this time in the context of personalization.
Earlier this month, Ed shared a secret Inbound.org’s staff had been using to make solicitations for participation in the online community seem more personal. There are lots of great tips for how you can replicate their method in HubSpot (or whatever marketing automation platform you use) for your own email campaigns.
Here’s a great example of why the full article is worth your time to read:
“Takeaway: Personal emails is more than just using a *|Firstname|* merge tag, plain template and sending from your own email address. Make it patently clear why you’ve chosen them in your email body.”
Personas: When You Don’t Yet Have Enough Data
It takes time to develop the kind of information the Inbound.org team has about their membership (and to implement it into their automated marketing emails). What can you do to personalize your content marketing efforts in the meantime? The answer is personas, and it applies for colder leads as much as it does for site visitors who haven’t become leads yet.
To help you get started, there’s a great collection of articles about audience personas at Content Marketing Institute here. And if you want to start really simply, this recent article on Moz does a good job of breaking ecommerce personas into four archtypes: logical, impulsive, caring, and aggressive.
The goal is to provide a perspective that your target audience can identify with and from there keep them engaged with consistently relevant, valuable content based upon that perspective.
Where Interactive Online Content Comes In
Interactive online content makes it even easier to identify to which perspective or persona a given member of your audience belongs, by making it an engaging experience for each member of your audience to self-select their perspective. By providing several answer choices, your audience actively indicates to you where they fit simply by making choices as they engage your content.
It’s important to note that this only works when the audience member expects to receive something valuable after engaging your piece of content sincerely – otherwise they have no reason to engage your content in the first place, let alone do so with accurate data.
When done right, interactive content creates its own positive feedback loop with your audience. The results they receive at the end will be tailored to what input they provided, so they are telling you what is valuable to them and then you are giving it to them. Content marketing doesn’t get much easier or more effective.