Personalized content recommendations have been around for some time now. We have already seen it with Amazon and Netflix providing recommendations to users based on purchase history or viewing history.
Although personalization has certainly proven to be a successful strategy, personalization is a little scary to everyday marketers.
In 2020, especially as the presidential election campaigning ramps up, consumers are likely to become increasingly wary of AI, which may potentially put some strain on personalization.
However, there are ways marketers can utilize personalization in a more accessible manner that still earns customer’s trust Here are some ways marketers and entrepreneurs can put personalization to work for them.
Does personalization really make content marketing better?
Yes, personalization goes a lot further than simply using a contact’s or customer’s first name in an email.
A personalization strategy typically involves capturing and collecting data related to prospects and customers and then building an experience that builds connections with those customers using content.
5 Ways to improve the customer experience through content
Whether you already have a personalization strategy in place, or if you are considering one, you can improve the customer experience through content.
Here are some strategies to consider:
1. Voice search
Studies show that nearly 40 percent of internet users in the United States used a voice assistant at least once per month in 2019. This number is only expected to grow by 2021, which means that AI technology will become more prominent and sophisticated in the not-too-distant future.
So, what does this mean for your content? It isn’t as complicated as it may seem… Just like users type in a query into a search bar in their browsers, more and more users are beginning to use voice search instead by asking Alexa or Siri to search the web for a particular query.
If you are already creating high-quality and relevant content that answers users’ queries and addresses their biggest challenges, then you are on your way to ensuring a solid customer experience. You will likely need to further optimize your SEO strategy for voice search. This means using more long-tail, conversational key phrases.
Consider an example: Rather than using the keyword “best business ideas in 2020,” optimizing content for voice search would mean this same keyword would be written a little differently, such as “what are the best business ideas for 2020?”
2. Leverage technology
In the last decade, we saw an explosion of technology, ranging from apps, SaaS products, and many other tools, all promising to make our jobs — and our lives — easier.
As we round the corner into 2020, marketers and entrepreneurs are becoming more selective of what technologies and tools they add to their current tech stacks. However, one technology that we are beginning to see more of is augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and artificial intelligence (AI).
Despite popular belief, AR and VR aren’t just for the retail industry. Although these technologies are becoming more of the norm, especially during the “retail apocalypse,” other industries are leveraging them.
For example, customer case studies are one “storytelling” content format that are powered by AR, VR, and AI.
3. Invest in data
Another trend we have seen during the 2010 decade is a focus on “big data.” Although data is still important for marketers and entrepreneurs, the type of data that is important has shifted over the years.
For example, many marketers continue to focus on “vanity metrics” when analyzing content performance. However, an increasing number of businesses are investing more of their resources into data — specifically predictive analytics.
Predictive analytics is the use of data, statistical algorithms, and machine learning (ML) methods to understand and “predict” future results and outcomes based on historical data. This is more of a proactive approach to data rather than reactive.
In fact, according to research by Ascend2, 56 percent of marketers believe that predictive analytics are the most effective type of data for improving personalization. However, 48 percent of marketers also claim that predictive analytics are the most difficult to gather accurately.
All in all, a solid and successful content marketing strategy begins with how you collect and measure data.
By collecting the right data, you will not only be able to better understand your audience and buyer behaviors and patterns, but you will also be able to create better and more personalized experiences through content.
4. Search engines
Many marketers and entrepreneurs are often frustrated with Google changing and updating its search algorithms — and with good reason. Many businesses spend a great deal of time, money, and resources researching, testing, and adjusting their SEO strategies. And just as they begin to make headway, the algorithms change again…
Unfortunately, Google will always be lightyears ahead. Therefore, rather than spending your time devising a plan to get around or outsmart Google in 2020, it will be more worth your while — and more valuable — to invest your resources in developing high-quality content and building connections with customers through that content rather than focusing on short-term wins.
5. Social media
The same goes for social media… The social media giants are constantly changing their algorithms. Therefore, relying too much on social media can do more harm than good over the long term.
When building your content strategy for 2020, your first priority should be to produce great content. You will see greater results — and returns — by producing and delivering high-quality owned content that customers enjoy and that actually helps them to solve their challenges and that answers their biggest questions.
Social media should be secondary. Rather, it should be treated as a vehicle to distribute and promote that content, engage with customers, and curate other relevant content.
Personalized customer experiences through content will become even more valuable
Unfortunately, the internet world is saturated with a great deal of content. What is even more unfortunate is the majority of that content is mediocre at best. As a result, users are becoming more selective about the type of content they read and the brands they interact with, making content marketing even more competitive.
However, you can cut through the noise by producing stellar content that is relevant and valuable to users, answers their questions through every phase of the customer journey, and solves their challenges. This is the best way to establish credibility and to also deliver a quality personalized experience.
All in all, successful personalized customer experiences through content are those that are relevant, timely, consistent, and convenient. Delivery also matters. Creating content is half the battle, delivery is the second. By getting your content in front of prospects at the right place and at the right time, you are on your way to delivering a valuable experience that has a better chance of converting prospects to loyal customers.
The content experience: 2020 and beyond
As we look back at what we learned from content marketing during the 2010s, and reflect on how much it has changed, we can expect the next decade to bring on more changes, especially as technology continues to shape customers’ buyer behaviors and patterns.
Regardless of the technology that is available, how we leverage robots (AR, VR, AI, and voice search), and what changes we see from Google and social media, one thing holds true: If you invest resources in developing a content strategy that is centered around putting users’ first and personalizing their experiences, you will always win.
By keeping a personalized content strategy front and center, you will be prepared for a successful and prosperous 2020.