Improve lead generation and increase conversion rates with personalized digital marketing

Yesterday's digital marketers will likely recognize some of these traditional strategies: Email bombardment, vague content written to resonate with ten half-guessed customer segments, and incessant message testing essentially the equivalent of trying to swat moths in the dark. But with new digital systems and data collection tools that help marketing effectively personalize their campaigns, the days of poking at your customer segments' brains hoping for a win are over.

Effectively implementing personalization into your digital marketing strategy can set a business apart from its competitors, but doing so isn't always easy. There are a lot of moving parts, techniques, and strategies to align, and you're going to need an airtight plan of action to implement and initiate personalization successfully. One approach that many businesses have adopted is the crawl, walk, run strategy – an agile methodology for integrating personalized experiences into their strategies.

This blog post will explore how this approach works and detail some of the key steps needed to successfully implement it for your business. We’ll also provide tips on how to ensure ongoing optimization and best practices to keep in mind when utilizing personalized strategies. With this information, you can be sure to maximize the impact of personalization within your organization.

1. Focus

Start data collection

First things first: Install and connect your personalization tool (such as that offered by Acquia) to your content management system (such as Drupal CMS) to begin collecting data.

Develop targeted customer segments

Start with some initial customer segments before personalizing the site. Don't wait for perfection--just start building your plan.

When determining your customer segments, start by asking yourself which of your audiences off the highest value, and be sure to review and industry-specific segments.

Popular customer segment starting points are →

1. Demographic 

  • Professional role 

  • Age

  • Gender

  • Income

2. Geographic

  • Geolocation

  • Culture 

  • Language 

  • Product habits vs. location

3. Psychographic 

  • Personality 

  • Social status 

  • Lifestyle

  • Spending

4. Behaviors

  • Purchasing 

  • Browsing

  • Product/service loyalty and feedback

5. Firmographic 

  • Industry type

  • Organization size

  • Sales and revenue 

  • Ownership 

Ideating use cases, crafting the message, and setting goals

1. The problem: What problems are we trying to solve? What key business outcomes should we achieve? What is your hypothesis and how do you think personalization will impact your overall business goals or objectives?

2. The audience: Who is the audience you’re trying to personalize for? Is the audience size large enough to be statistically significant?

3. The message: What message are you trying to send? What are you trying to get your targeted customer segment to do after they've consumed said message?

4. Content type: What content would most benefit from a personalized approach? Does this content include existing articles, images, or landing pages? Will there be different versions of the message based on the personalization approach?

5. Content location: Where do you intend to personalize? Is it on the homepage or a more specific detail page? Will it be in a banner image or within a list of related content?

6. Timeframe: When will the personalization take place? Will it run constantly or will it be changed regularly. Is it for a limited period of time? When will it start?

7. The Goal: How would we like to measure the impact of personalization? Click-through rate (CTR)? Page views? Decreased bounce rate? Increased conversion rate? What is our anticipated result? Is there interest in continuous improvement with A/B testing?

In the meantime, continue to collect data and create segments. Because knowing more about your visitors is valuable. 

  • Create the segments with personas to gain focused data

  • Leverage data to identify any content gaps

2. Crawl

The Crawl phase of personalized marketing is focused on gathering the necessary data and resources needed to create a successful campaign. This involves researching customer behavior across different platforms, understanding customer preferences, and identifying target audiences. By collecting this valuable intelligence, marketers can create tailored experiences that truly reflect each customer's individual needs and interests.

Pulled from the segments listed above, the following use cases can be implemented rather quickly in order to begin collecting richer data to further personalize the website experience.

  • Geolocation: Do you have region-specific content or events you’d want to promote? 

  • Device: Would you have different call to actions based on mobile vs. desktop visitors?

  • Time/date of visit: Are weekend visitors interested in different content than weekday visitors? Are visitors searching the site in the day looking for something different than those searching at night?

  • New/returning visitor: If someone was visiting the site for the first time would you promote different content to them vs. someone who has visited the site 3x in the past week.

  • Marketing campaign referral code: Leverage UTM codes from paid media, social media or emails.

Once we’ve implemented a few Crawl scenarios, we will see the anonymous visitors turn into ‘known’ visitors in your personalization tool. This means you can identify the visitors through one of many identifiers including name, email, interests, personas, preferences, etc. Having identified these visitors, you can begin to customize your website according to common patterns found in your collected visitor data, such as browsing behavior, pages viewed, or completed events. 

3. Walk

At this point, you’re ready to progress to the Walk phase. This phase is all about testing and refining the techniques developed during the Crawl phase, and includes implementing different tactics such as delivering personalized emails, displaying related product recommendations, or creating custom landing pages. At this stage, marketers can start to run experiments to gauge customer response and track performance metrics in order to identify what resonates with their target audience.

Keep in mind, this doesn’t mean we won’t continue to personalize based on the Crawl scenarios, but now you will also be able to personalize based on situational and behavioral patterns.

Begin with very broad segments (such as, all European visitors), then gradually create narrow segments by combining situational and behavioral patterns. Here are some examples to help contextualize what we can do in the Walk phase.

  • Viewed page X times: Contextualize the site based on multiple views. If a visitor has looked at awareness/top-level content more than five times in thirty days, show them conversion content from service or industry pages.

  • Browsing behavior: Contextualize the site based on the types of pages someone has visited. For example, if a visitor has looked at more X industry content, increase the frequency of CTAs pointing to content related to (you guessed it) X industry. 

  • Event-based/funnel-based: After a visitor takes an action (like signing up for a newsletter), stop showing them that action/task. Instead, show them an action/ask related to the next stage of the funnel like Contact Us. 

  • Combine multiple Crawl use cases: Show US-based cases studies to visitors from the US who came in through a B2B PPC ad.

  • Combine Crawl and Walk use cases: Show a next steps video to a mobile visitor who has viewed awareness content more than three times in thirty days.

4. Run

Now it’s time to take things even further by expanding on these successes and integrating more personalized strategies into your core digital marketing activities. This requires a detailed review of every possible touchpoint you have with customers – from website design elements like fonts, colors and graphics to email marketing campaigns such as messages, subject lines and promotions – and focusing on optimizing them for maximum effectiveness. Often, this process calls for experimenting with different approaches such as A/B testing or leveraging predictive analytics for a data-driven view of customer preferences and behaviors.

Throughout this phase and after, your campaign will be all about scaling up your efforts to engage customers. This involves taking the successful initiatives from the Walk phase and expanding on them, optimizing every touchpoint with customers for maximum effectiveness.

Some key elements to focus on:

  • Reviewing website design elements like fonts, colors and graphics to make sure they are optimized for maximum customer engagement.

  • Monitoring and tracking changes made to ensure that personalization efforts are having the most desired effect.

  • Utilizing analytics dashboards to gain real-time insights into customer behavior across different channels.

  • Analyzing metrics in order to refine personalization efforts for greater success.

Through rigorous analysis of your metrics, you can continuously refine your personalization efforts for maximum benefit.

5. Fly

The Crawl Walk Run approach to personalized marketing is a powerful way for marketers to achieve tangible business results from their campaigns. Through leveraging customer data and carrying out experiments, marketers can create tailored experiences that resonate with their target audience. As metrics are tracked and analysed, strategies can be adjusted accordingly to ensure maximum value is driven from the customer interactions. Ultimately, this process allows businesses to reach higher levels of engagement and satisfaction, leading to better ROI.