Personalizing for Alternative Audiences

We’re thrilled to feature a post written by our very own Adam Goldberg. As Director of Product Enablement and resident platform expert, Adam is the go-to resource for new users and veterans alike. He’s a great problem-solver, despite his personal struggles with verbosity.

The basics of audience segmentation for personalization are pretty intuitive. The goal is to identify subsets of your audience that share some common characteristics, around which you can build a unique website experience tailored to the needs, expectations, and marketing goals of each group. Some of the first segments that most marketers define in the Get Smart Content platform are based on

– behavioral conditions like first-time visitors;
– geographic boundaries that identify visitors in a specific city or state; and
– account-based marketing lists containing key accounts and contacts.

That’s a great place to start, but there’s additional value to be found in serving personalized content to visitor groups that many marketers overlook. Here, I highlight two seldom-targeted (and strategically disparate) audience segments that can help you get the most out of Get Smart Content and website personalization.

Personalizing for Evangelists

The work you put into identifying, targeting, and personalizing for your greatest fans and advocates can often return more value than almost any other digital marketing strategy. By cultivating and empowering a group of visitors who freely recommend your products and refer new business, you can reach new leads and discover new markets that might not be available by traditional means. So, how might you identify and cater to those enthusiastic supporters?

The obvious first step is to build a list of the individuals that you already know—the people who love your products, believe in your business, and tell everyone they know about it. It may be a short list, but you know who they are. And, it’s important to make it as easy as possible for these folks to find and share your latest and greatest innovations, announcements, and marketing materials. You can use your existing marketing automation platform to identify this group.

For example, you can target a Marketo Smart List or an Eloqua segment after installing those connections into the Get Smart Content platform. Alternately if your website has a login, then you may be able to use cookies to identify when users are logged in to your website and import a list of evangelist IDs as a Custom Data Set. Then, use that connection to build a segment that identifies your most valuable visitors each time they arrive.

To find and target evangelists in a sea of otherwise anonymous traffic, you can use other segment conditions and platform features to match frequent visitors who engage most heavily with the business and marketing resources of your website, rather than those who spend more time directly in the research and sales channel. Use Get Smart Content’s Goals and Actions, for instance, to flag visitors who click social sharing links or submit comments on your blog entries and press releases.

Combine that with other behavioral conditions like total site visits, frequency of visits to your blog, or referrer attributes that suggest direct navigation, and you can focus on a narrow set of your biggest fans. All that’s left is to design a personalized experience for those visitors, so you can highlight the newest and most compelling content that your likely evangelists love to view and share.

Personalizing for Competitors

On the other side of the spectrum from your reliable brand advocates are the visitors with a more nefarious objective: your competitors. Every business makes an effort to keep an eye on the competition, whether to stay ahead of new developments, to compare features for a stronger sales message, or to see what their customers are saying. Few marketing teams, however, will actively personalize for competitors and make it more difficult for known market adversaries to find what they’re seeking on your website.

Granted, public product details, feature announcements, and roadmaps will find their way into the hands of competing brands eventually, but there’s no reason to expedite that process if you can avoid it! With our platform’s connections, you can build a segment to identify The Enemy and limit their access to the more sensitive material available on your site. For example you can

– use Kickfire to identify visitors from known corporate IP addresses, and then upload a Custom Data Set of company names or domains that you prefer to exclude;
– import lists from Marketo or Demandbase specifying individuals or companies that shouldn’t have free reign over your strongest sales collateral; or
– enable our LinkedIn Connection to target visitors with firmographic traits (like an industry or product category matching yours) that suggest they might not be a likely lead or partner.

Then, with your competitors segment defined, you can create new campaigns and rules to hide your latest product announcements, feature comparisons, and promotions from those who stand to gain from that information.

Marketing professionals are constantly on the hunt for the perfect segment—the qualified leads and renewal prospects that need just a gentle nudge toward the revenue end of the sales funnel. But, there is oft-overlooked strategic value in personalizing your website experience for evangelists who may never become customers themselves or even for visitors from competing firms. It’s all about delivering the right content at the right time to the right person, whoever that may be.

Want to learn more about audience segmentation? Check out how we segment for anonymous audiences.