Good question. It’s a safe bet that no one intentionally produces dumb content, so what sets “Smart” content apart from “good” content or even “quality” content? We think it is worth devoting some time to talking about the specifics of what makes content smart. An acrostic might be a good place to start.
Smart content is:
One thing the internet has done for us in our consumer lives is make it really easy to find goods or services by using specific search terms. For example, if I Google “blue v-neck sweater,” the image results look like this:
If I get more specific and look for “women’s light blue v-neck sweater,” I get:
I am used to getting exactly the content I want based on the search terms I used. If your website contains more than one product, having smart content means that you deliver information that is specific to the search term. For example, if you sell real estate management software that does lease management and workforce management, you’ve likely optimized for both terms. If my search is for “workforce management,” it is important that the content I see when I arrive following a search is specific to workforce management. It works for sweaters and it can work for you.
Not all messages appeal to the same types of visitors. Meaningful content is targeted towards the interest of each specific visitor and the issues that are important to them. That means that, in the real estate management example, the CFO is going to be interested in how the solution might enable better location decisions, whereas, the lease administrator is going to be more engaged by ease of administration and increased productivity. Smart content leverages what you know about your visitors, usually though your CRM or marketing automation solution, to deliver the most meaningful content to each visitor.
Never forget that the purpose of your website is to inspire users to do something. It may be to buy now, or to fill out a form, but whatever your goal is you want conversion. Smart content knows what visitors have already done and makes intelligent suggestions as to what they should do next. For example, if a visitor has already given you his name and email address in a form, smart content now asks for his industry or role. Each action your visitor takes builds on the last and ultimately toward a purchase.
Relevancy is all about context. This is where things like geography and device come into play. If you know your visitor is from the northeast, provide content relevant to events, promotions or locations that make sense for them. Perhaps you leverage testimonials from other nearby customers or endorsements from local celebrities. Considering the device used is also important for relevancy. Some calls to action make more sense on a big screen than a small one and content prioritization is even more important on a mobile device.
Customers move through a buying cycle, whether it occurs quickly in one webstie visit or over months of engagement with a sales person. Smart content takes into account where the buyer is in the cycle and provides content that makes sense for the time. Visitors who have already had a demonstration or those who are considering a proposal, for example, may have moved past the general education stage and be ready for more validation content such as 3rd party analysis or ROI information. This information may be too intensive for an early stage lead who just wants to understand who you are and what you do.
In essence, smart content is that which takes into account a number of factors that are either known about visitors or can be inferred based on their behavior. It uses every data point to target messages that will be as compelling as possible for each unique segment of visitors. Smart content is the market’s best weapon against short attention spans and increasing competition for consideration.