Picture your Sunday evening. You get into your pajamas, grab that glass of wine and settle down with your laptop to watch an episode of House of Cards.
But horror! You forgot that you’d finished the season a few days ago when you had binge-watched the final five episodes in a row. Your beautiful night begins to crumble before your eyes.
Then you look closer at your screen. Netflix has suggested an entire list of political dramas that you might like to try next.
“They get me,” you think. “They just get me.”
This, my friends, is the power of contextual marketing. Contextual marketing personalizes a user’s experience based on who they are and what they’re looking for. Based on what you had watched, Netflix could make a recommendation that was personalized for you.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. Isn’t personalization old news? Haven’t marketers been personalizing their emails for a while now? Well, the buck isn’t stopping there anymore. Marketers are beginning to personalize their blogs, websites and more, tailoring a user’s experience from start to finish.
Now, HubSpot empowers businesses to personalize their website through Smart Content.
So what is Smart Content?
Smart content is content on your website that changes based on who is looking at it. You can show a lead or a customer different content than you show a first-time visitor.
Smart content lets us deliver the right content, to the right people, at the right time.
According to a study done by Econsultancy and Monetate, 94% of businesses agree that personalization is “critical to current and future success.”
And yet 72% say that they “understand the importance of personalization, but don’t know how to do it.” The barriers most commonly sited were lack of the right technology to do it, disparate data sources, and an inability to translate that data into action.
But good news, If you're a professional or enterprise customer on HubSpot, you have the technology to do it. Smart content is available in the HubSpot COS in the Professional and Enterprise platforms. And Smart CTAs and forms are available to all professional and enterprise customers. You can use HubSpot to create Smart Content in your text, calls to-action and form fields. And that Smart Content can be placed on your website, landing pages, emails and blog.
Why is a “smart” marketing approach valuable?
HubSpot looked at the data for more than 93,000 Smart calls-to-action with hundreds of millions of views. We found that calls-to-action targeted to the viewer had a 42% higher submission rate than calls-to-action that were the same for all.
And according to Econsultancy and Monetate, the companies doing personalization (and able to quantify the improvement) are seeing, on average, a 19% uplift in sales.
Frankly, those numbers are absurd. So how does the magic work?
1. Smart content helps you promote a great user experience.
You’ll be able to have a website that never gets old. Think about the difference in experience between a user who returns to your site and sees the same static content versus one who finds new and tailored content each time. Smart Content helps you keep returning visitors engaged and moving steadily to a decision point.
You’ll also be the company that cares about its users. A 2013 study from Harris Interactive and Janrain found that nearly three-quarters (74%) of online consumers get frustrated with websites when content that they see has nothing to do with their interests.
By delivering relevant content, your business will stand out as the company that cares enough to think about its users and deliver the content that they actually need. And that is pure gold.
2. Smart Content will boost your conversion rates.
Using Smart Content, you will never again deliver content that's misaligned with their interests. And people are more likely to convert into leads and customers when they see content that’s relevant for them.
HubSpot did a Smart Content study on the website assessment that we offer, targeting different audiences who were looking to solve different problems. The conversion rate of the page that had Smart Content was 20% higher than the page that didn’t have it.
Not only can you be sure that your content will interest your users, you can also be certain that it will always align with their stage in the buyer’s journey. You’ll be able to offer relevant content that can guide them further along the buying process.
Lastly, Smart Content cuts the number of steps it takes to get that conversion. You won’t have to convince someone to jump through the same hoops because you’ll never ask them the same questions on a form ever again.
How does Smart Content work in HubSpot?
The Smart Content tool is built on top of the Contacts database in HubSpot. Because of this, it can recognize who is looking at the web page and then display content tailored to them.
When a visitor first opts-in to your marketing by completing a form or making a purchase, the Contacts database begins to store information about them – what they’ve looked at, or what contact information they’ve given.
Once your Contacts tool creates a profile on someone, you can use what you know about that person to provide supremely relevant, targeted, and personalized marketing.
To begin, you have to decide whom you are trying to target. Would you like your leads to see something different? Your different buyer personas? People from Boston?
Once you have picked, you’ll need to set up the correct segmentation in HubSpot. To do so, create a smart list to collect all of your contacts who fit into that segment.
Take the adventure travel company Fifth Season, a fictional business using real inbound strategies. They could make a list based on their top buyer persona, "Adventurous Amy", and use the criteria: Contact Property >> Persona >> is equal to >> Manager. See the example below:
Once you have your contacts properly segmented, it’s time to set up that Smart Content!
If you are using the COS, then any of your rich text modules are able to support Smart Content. To create Smart Content, click “Make Smart on the top right-hand corner.
You will then choose the segment that you wish to target by picking either a Contact List or Lifecycle Stage. In this case, Fifth Season has created a Contact List for Adventurous Amy, so they'd pick Contact List.
Then, select the contact list that you created earlier.
Now, add in your Smart Content, tailoring it to that buyer persona. Remember, only contacts that fit that persona will see it! You can set as many smart rules as you would like, in order to tailor your content to multiple segments.
And voila! You have Smart Content. Remember – it’s important to have a strategy and plan in place before you begin creating Smart Content. Think through who you’d like to target. Think about where on your website personalization will be most effective. Think about how to personalize your content so that it speaks to your target audience. But with proper planning, Smart Content will rock your marketing.
How have you begun to personalize your marketing?
Want to learn how to create successful Smart Content? Check out the Contextual Marketing Certification.
Originally published May 9, 2014 9:00:00 AM, updated November 07 2017