When running a sponsored content campaign, you need to create great content. What's more important however, is making sure that content gets into the hands of the people who will find it most relevant.
Quite literally, targeting capabilities pay. In fact, calls-to-action targeted to the user perform 42% better than calls to action that were generic.
Creating Segments of Readers
People take actions on your site all the time. Reading articles, clicking links, sharing on social media. The first step to tracking these valuable actions, is by getting a user to give you a piece of information that allows you to tie all of these actions together—for example, an email address.
After a reader gives you his or her email address during an initial conversion on a form, all of the information on them can be associated with one unified contact record, which you can then use to target your content offers.
From these individual contact records, you can begin creating buckets (or lists) of people who meet specific sets of criteria. These lists can then be used to power segmented marketing, serving readers with content that’s most appropriate for them on your website and in your emails.
This is all great in theory, but without the right forms, tracking system, and know-how, segmentation becomes a lot more difficult. So what tools and information should a publisher focus on when segmenting their audiences? Below are several suggestions to help you get started.
What Device are They Coming From?
Showing the right message to the right screen type has powerful results on reader engagement rate. However, this type of segmentation cannot (and should not) be done manually. Have a content management system in place that can detect device type and adapt your content so mobile and desktop readers automatically get the best viewing experience possible.
For instance, use dynamic content in your emails to display shortened copy, or on your landing pages to show an abbreviated form.
When is Their Subscription Renewal Date?
By integrating your contact database with your fulfillment software, you can create lists of people who have subscription dates that are within a certain number of days from each other. For people who's end-date is approaching, send emails with CTAs to drive renewals, for those who have just signed up, send out satisfaction or feedback surveys.
What’s Their Job Title, Company Information or Industry?
By including questions on your landing page forms that dig into job function or industry information, you can target readers with content that’s focused on what they actually do every day at work. This type of information can inform what type of wording you use in your emails, or help you pinpoint audiences that are most likely to buy—making them prime targets for emails with sponsored content from your advertisers.
Did They Attend Any Events or Purchase a Digital Product?
Again, having all your user data in once place allows you to create lists based of off people who have made purchases through your site before, and cross promote your other products to them. Not to mention, you can also delight these customers with follow-up content such as event summaries fir event attendees or additional content based on similar topics as previous editorial purchases.
Being able to see what pathways readers are taking on your site, and what specific pieces of content they’re clicking on tells you what topics they’re interested in. Once you have this knowledge, you can segment your audience by topic area to match them with similar content offers or email newsletters and increase click-throughs or time on site.
Any of these criteria can, and should, be used to create list based personalization rules within your emails and on your website. As you can imagine, scaling personalized content is a tricky task. However, the strategies discussed above are a great place to start. You're audience may contain 50,000 readers, but you want each email to feel like it's only being sent to one.
Originally published Aug 6, 2015 7:00:00 AM, updated June 09 2021