Traditional monetization channels are getting tougher and tougher for publishers to tap into. The reason? Consumer behavior is fundamentally changing, and now more than ever before, attention spans are scatterbrained.
With every moment spent on smartphones, tablets, or computers at work, readers find themselves exposed to more content options that they have time to process. That’s why it’s critical that media companies invest in quality vs. quantity: if you want to attract a high-value audience, your content needs to be high-value too.
This perspective is the ‘smoking gun’ that publishers need to build new, high value revenue channels. Just as much as you don’t like fighting against noise for your audience’s attention, your audiences don’t like to deal with media brands that are clamoring for their time.
That’s where personalization enters the picture. When your content is tailored and relevant to the audiences you’re trying to reach, you’ll see a strong lift to your media brand--and you’ll be well-positioned to provide value to your advertisers too. Here’s how personalization can help media companies carve out new, lasting monetization channels.
When audiences like what you have to offer, they’ll find a way to keep your company on their radars. They’ll ‘like’ your content on Facebook, follow your account on Twitter, or subscribe to at least one of your targeted newsletters.
But many newsletters are irrelevant to audiences, which is why subscribe rates for companies are often low. The best way to change this behavior? It’s to change yours—create email campaigns that are tailored to what your audience wants to read about and learn.
The chain of events is clear: personalization of a strong value proposition will yield higher sign-up rates to your newsletters. And with higher sign-up rates for your newsletters, you’ll have more engaged lists of subscribers. In turn, you’ll be able to deliver more value to your advertisers.
Invest in your email marketing strategy, and your value as a media brand will grow, overall. You can send more targeted email campaigns, on behalf of your advertisers, to your readers, for instance—the possibilities are truly limitless.
Personalized Calls to Action (CTAs)
Want your readers to take action on the ads and offers that you’re sharing with them?
The most efficient path forward is to optimize your CTAs: choose value propositions that speak to their unique interests, needs, and goals. The answer is personalization.
As a media company, you’re in a unique position to become a true innovator in the personalization space. You’re likely already collecting a wealth of audience data in terms of the content they’re reading and taking action upon.
Why not align your CTAs to this data that you’ve been generating?
The B2B, corporate world has been creating what it calls ‘smart CTAs’ for years. The idea is simple: rather than communicating a one-size-fits all cue, craft value propositions for the specific audiences that you’re reaching. Speak to their needs and pain points. You’ll see higher conversion rates and position your media brand to provide higher value to advertisers, too.
The first step to getting started is to organize your database: you need to make sure that your customers’ information is in the right place (so you can take action upon it). As you build your lists, give careful thought to the data you’re collecting and whether you have the right form fields in place to keep this information organized. This unified data perspective will help you shortcut the process of and increase the impact you make when you target your audiences on an individual level. Here’s how to collect information for personalization:
Define what exactly you should be collecting and how this information aligns to your overall campaign goals
Understand what information will be available on a personal level and what may remain anonymized
Figure out how you’re going to collect information (through lead gen landing pages, for instance)
Once you have your ducks in order and you start gathering data, start fueling your personalization engine:
Create audience segments based on areas of interest, subscription type, or geographic location, so you can personalize reader experiences at different levels
Build out content and conversion paths to match each customer segment. Use a blend of qualitative and quantitative research to guide your early decisions (Don’t worry about being perfect, as your strategy will likely continue to change over time)
Test out your ideas with the expectation that you’ll refine and iterate upon your results
Iterate on your personalization strategy by reinvesting your learnings into new campaign ideas.
Any media company, of any size, can get started. Just start doing some research into the systems that already exist, so that you can develop a strong sense of your company’s assets. Use this platform as a starting point to explore the world of opportunity that awaits. Instead of seeing personalization as a daunting, far-fetched task for your team to accomplish, take smaller steps instead.
Think about your best friendships: they’ve been strong because you’ve learned about one another over time. A relationship with your best readers should be no different. The more you learn about them, the more effective your marketing programs will be.
Originally published Mar 31, 2016 7:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017