How to Deliver Personalized Content Across 4 Go-to-Market Strategies
Here’s a joke for you: Where’s the best place to hide something?
Page 2 of your Google search results.
I never get sick of that joke, but the punchline is even more exaggerated now.
Devices like Google Home, Siri and Alexa are actually making anything past the first search result increasingly obsolete. Why? Any of those options, as well as Google’s “I’m feeling lucky” button, always send you to the very first search result.
To earn and maintain your customers’ trust, you must do what Google does for all of us: Deliver accurate, relevant content that is personalized to your audience’s needs. This rule also applies when it comes to your go-to-market strategies; whether it’s inbound, demand generation, account-based marketing or sales enablement.
As we look at each one, you’ll see how a focus on content experience can improve your chances for success. When you create experiences that go beyond simply what you sell, it will resonate with your audience, provide value to their lives and build trust.
Content is a huge part of inbound marketing, but being discovered through search is only the beginning of it. If, after clicking, customers discover they aren’t being offered anything of value, they will simply click away and head to the next search result.
If, however, customers stick around to read it, marketers face a new challenge: keeping them immersed by having the next piece of content align with what caught their eye.
In the case of a company that sells fiberglass pools, if the first piece presented to customers was about the benefits of fiberglass pools, the next piece should be about a related topic, like caring for pools in the winter.
Effective inbound marketing, then, is about giving someone a ride to the next content asset and recommending something that seemed like a good contextual fit. Make the experience better, and it will be easier to convert someone into a lead.
The ultimate goal of demand generation is to build trust by continuing to drive your target buyers through the funnel, with content as a driving force. After all, people are far more likely to make a purchase decision after they’ve seen at least seven pieces of content. The question is, how do we deliver a content experience that propels prospects to self-nurture?
Blackbaud, a software solution provider for nonprofits, has answered this question. Once they have identified contacts to nurture, they build personalized content experiences that not only have beautiful and consistent designs that flow from emails to stream to individual content assets, but they structure it in a way so that once someone clicks on that CTA, they’re dropped into a content stream that’s specific to the industry and stage of the journey.
By delivering a more personalized experience, Blackbaud builds trust with their buyers and helps them understand how their service can solve the customer’s needs.
The fundamental question driving ABM is how to best cater to the accounts we want to land. In the early days of ABM, marketers put most of their focus on selecting desirable accounts and then organizing them in tiers. Little thought went into how to actually engage them — this is where content plays a key role.
Today, ABM is far more relationship-focused, with marketers deploying a whole array of strategies to draw their target buyers in with personalized content.
For instance, one popular ABM approach is to send direct mail to the account, perhaps in the form of a thoughtful gift. After the marketing team has grabbed the account’s attention, however, the challenge is continuing to deliver personalized information.
Even if we could afford to send more gifts, it loses its novelty.
A company called Snowflake excels at what comes next and how they incorporate content. As part of the data warehousing business, Snowflake operates in a highly competitive, and completely unsexy, environment. However, the experiences Snowflake is able to drop their accounts into at every step of the journey are amazing.
For instance, if Snowflake were trying to land Pepsi as a customer, they’d start with ads that show Pepsi and Snowflake working closely together. Then, instead of sending the people at Pepsi to some generic link to a page that talks up their business, they’d send them to a personalized content destination designed just for Pepsi.
As a marketer, you’re responsible for enabling the success of your sales team, which means you have to stop them from drowning buyers in the black-and-blue ocean (emails with so many links it looks like a bad bruise).
The first step is communication. If you don’t want sales reps creating their own content (and giving you a heart attack when you see it), make sure your sales reps understand all the content available to them, its purpose, and how they can access it.
The next step is to help your sales team understand how content can be used to create experiences for prospects. So, instead of the black-and-blue ocean, show them how to embed content in the email that links back to a curated content experience.
When customers see your content as being tailored to their needs, they’re 40 percent more likely to buy from you than a competitor who doesn’t personalize.
Personalization is that important, which means enabling your sales team is critical.
I know I said I’d focus on four common approaches, but don’t overlook how key a focus on content experience can be at every stage from every department.
Content is key to engaging your new, renewing or at-risk customers. The experience ensures that those customers follow a journey and can speak as an extension of your mission. Although we won’t dive into examples here, give consideration to the way you leverage content to onboard, train and tell stories about your best customers.
Now that we’ve touched on the four approaches, it’s fair to say that whether we realize it or not, we’re driving people to content with a content experience at every step. You can no longer say you don’t have a content experience.
The question to reflect on is: Does your go-to-market strategy drop people into a good content experience or a bad one? Either way, how can you make it better?