E-commerce has made contextual marketing and smart content marketing famous. B2B digital marketing agencies around the globe have been quick on the uptake. And it's really not difficult to see why. A marketing audit will likely reveal that smart text addresses the major struggle of a long and arduous buyer’s journey. This typically results from the big spend and huge responsibility associated with B2B purchases. But smart content speeds up your buyer’s decision making and conversion from lead to customer by presenting them with the right content at the right time.
Smart Content and Contextual Marketing
Let's start with the basics and say that;
- Contextual marketing is simply a marketing strategy with the goal of personalising a user's experience based on who they are and what they're looking for.
- Smart (or dynamic) content is the heart of contextual marketing and the tool that helps marketers to deliver the right content to the right person, at the right time.
The Two Dimensions of Smart Content
74% of online customers feel frustrated with websites when content (e.g. ads, promotions, offers) have nothing to do with their interests (Janrain). Smart content helps you to prevent such frustrations by addressing two major contextual dimensions: timing and buyer persona.
Buyer Persona: By creating smart content that addresses the interests of your buyer personas, their pain points, goals, wishes, dreams, your website is more likely to keep users browsing and converting.
Timing: Adapting your website content according to timing means tailoring it to a user's lifecycle stage, or their stage in the buyer's journey. By providing the right content when your users are looking for it, marketers can guide buyers to the next stage of the buyers process - and another step closer to becoming a customer.
Smart Content: Different Strokes for Different Sites
Smart content takes on many different shapes and sizes and can be used all over your website, emails, landing pages and more:
- Website Pages: Although your website's homepage is usually the point of entry for new users, visitors who end up on your site's product and services pages are typically looking for something specific. Smart text modules allow you to create personalise content for each of these pages, to ensure that your users, whoever they are, find exactly what they're looking for on your site pages. Are there any content offers displayed on your site pages? By creating smart calls-to-action, you ensure that your users will always be presented with the most relevant offers.
- Landing Pages: While smart forms ensures that your user is presented with the most user-friendly form for their device, smart form fields swaps out questions that a user has already answered for new fields, saving them from answering the same question twice and helps you to gather new information.
- Blog Sidebar: You have already personalised your blog posts to guide each of your buyer personas along their buyer's journey, so go ahead and use some smart calls-to-action in your blog sidebar to display a new, relevant offer tailored for each user. HubSpot found personalised calls-to-action to have a 42% higher conversion rate.
- Email: Including personalisation tokens such as a person's first name or their company's name when you send them an email adds a personal touch to your marketing, and, according to Experian, gets you a 26% higher open rate.
- Thank You Pages: Your Thank You pages gives you a chance to present your leads with another content offer. By personalising the CTA's on these pages, you can present your leads with new and relevant offers.
Why Smart Content Makes Your B2B Marketing Smarter
So, smart content works wonders for eCommerce, but why would it work for b2b, you may ask?
B2b marketing poses unique challenges such as big spend, which means a long and onerous buyer's journey, and, more often than not, buyers who have little time and patience to sift through pages of irrelevant content.
Yes, if you look at it that way you can see why smart content works wonders for b2b: it cuts down the strides between conversion steps by presenting the right content at the right time. Smart content not only saves your buyers time and cuts out unnecesary frustration, but also speeds up the b2b buyer's journey significantly.
The four steps in setting up your smart content
Are you ready to give smart content a try? Make sure that you’ve implemented a strategy the HubSpot smart content way, which means using HubSpot’s CMS and having your marketing team execute the following smart content rules:
Step 1: Set up your segments
Before you can begin tailoring your blog posts, vlogs and choice of content for specific buyers it’s critical to understand who you are trying to communicate with. Now is the time to segment your leads according to three dimensions of contextual marketing: buyer persona, timing and the viewer characteristics.
Setting up a segment according to persona could be as general as simply focussing on one or two of your highest-value buyer personas. Want to be more specific than that? Narrow down your segments by using qualifying criteria such as geographic location, traffic source or type of device, and tailor your content accordingly. For example:
Segmenting users by particular geographic location (e.g. region, city or country) gives you the opportunity to create smart content relating to location-specific news and events.
- Focussing on different sources of traffic (e.g. social, email, organic or referral source) means that you can tailor your social sharing buttons to your user’s preferences; If someone lands on your site via Twitter, why not ask them to Tweet about your brilliant content?
- Segmentation according to type of device ensures that your site displays appropriate forms, and the optimal length of content and layout, whether your users are accessing your site via mobile or a bigger screen.
Segmenting leads according to the timing dimension of contextual marketing takes into consideration how far along in the decision-maker process a specific buyer is. In inbound marketing we categorise the steps along the process in terms of lifecycle stages, e.g. lead, subscriber, marketing qualified lead, sales qualified lead, customer, opportunity or promotor. To learn more about the definition of each of these lifecycle stages, take a look at HubSpot’s definitions.
Step 2: Decide where to place dynamic content
Smart content can be implemented practically anywhere within your new or existing content. You can optimise your email newsletters, website pages, the sidebar of your blog, landing pages, thank you pages, rich text modules, form modules, form fields and Calls-to-Action (CTAs) with smart content. The important thing here is to not go overboard. Start small to ease into the concept by selecting one or two simple areas, such as a smart form field or a couple of personalisation tokens in your email newsletter.
Step 3: Optimise default content
The next step is to optimise your website content for search engines. But keep in mind that search engines don’t pay attention to your smart content, they read your default content for categorising and ranking purposes. So, make sure you focus your SEO efforts on your default content.
And don’t forget about your first-time visitors! Because smart content will only be displayed to website visitors who qualify for one of your smart segments. First-time visitors and other users will be shown your default content. First impressions last, so make sure your default content is valuable and of high quality, or you may never get the chance to welcome a visitor back.
Step 4: Creating smart content that suits the scene
Just as there are many locations where you can use smart content, there are many different types of smart content. Making an appropriate match is vital to success. Here are the types of smart content and their appropriate locations:
- Smart content modules – add smart content on any of your live website pages, landing pages and thank you pages but never within your blog articles. By tailoring your blog content according to the inbound methodology you have already created smart blogs that educate and entertain specific buyer personas. The only additional smart content you’ll need on your blog would be to smarten up those CTAs in your sidebar, ensuring that readers get served a new content offer every time they return to your site.
- Smart forms and smart form fields are less tricky and can be used wherever you are already using forms. Just remember never to make the email field on your forms smart, as continual verification of a user’s email address is a great way to ensure this info is updated.
- Personalisation tokens are most appropriate for emails and landing pages to address a user by their name or to refer to their industry or company. Personalisation tokens such as a first name, however, can become creepy when placed within your site content, so mind your manners and don’t be a stalker.
- CTAs, wherever they are on your site, can be turned smart to ensure that users see the freshest and most appropriate offers.
Are you having fantasies about delivering a unique online experience for each of your buyer personas? Download your copy of our free ebook now to get access to a framework for creating content that wins over prospects and delights your customers.