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Drive strong conversion rates and improve customer engagement with personalized content marketing

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 operations.

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This blog post will explore how the crawl, walk, and run approach works and detail the key items needed to successfully implement it for your business. We’ll also provide tips on how to ensure ongoing optimization when conducting personalized strategies. Maximize your organization's marketing impact with these four steps to personalization.

1. Focus

Start data collection

First things first: Install and connect the Acquia Personalization tool to DrupalCMS to begin collecting data.

Develop use cases

Start small with a specific use-case for an account-based marketing (ABM) focused initiative, then share results to get buy-in from others. Remember that Personalization is not an overnight success. 

Start with some initial use cases before personalizing the site. Don't wait for perfection, start building a plan.

  • Which audiences are the highest value?

  • Review any available Industry use cases.

  • Popular Starting Points are → New vs. Returning, or Geolocation.

  • If we have segmentations based on interest, then you might also start there.  

Identify segments

Segmentation is the process of categorizing the customer data the Acquia personalization feeds you. Segments can be based on a variety of customer types, from demographic to geographic, and will help guide the type of personalization strategy you implement as you move from a brisk walk to healthy sprint.


  • Professional Role

  • Age

  • Gender

  • Income


  • Geolocation

  • Culture

  • Language

  • Product Habits vs. Location


  • Personality

  • Social Status

  • Lifestyle

  • Opinion


  • Industry Type

  • Organization Size

  • Sales & Revenue

  • Ownership


  • Spending

  • Purchasing

  • Browsing

  • Product/service loyalty and feedback


  • Operating system

  • Digital systems and tools

  • Type of device

  • Technical competence

Ideating use cases for personalization:

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

  3. 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?

  4. 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?

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

  6. How would we like to measure the impact of personalization? What is our anticipated result? Is their interest continuously improving with A/B testing?

Ideating the type of personalization

The type of personalization you choose to go with will depend on analyzing customer data and properly segmenting your audience. There are many types of personalization strategies you can go with, three of the most common examples listed below.

Directly target your segment

Create content that specifically targets a customer segment, based on the data you've gathered. If you know a customer segment is always looking for "X" content, make sure you show them that before anything else.

A/B testing

Experiment with the types of messages and content your segments see. If you have two types of messages/content that resonates with a segment, run tests to see which garners the best results.

Additional content recommendation

After gathering data on your segments' specific behaviors, you can offer them additional information that will ensure they don't drop out from the journey. If they've already purchased "X" product, and "Y" product pairs perfectly, show them content that explains "X"'s relationship to "Y." Drive your customers' journeys by always being a step ahead of what they're looking for.

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 use cases below can be implemented rather quickly in order to begin collecting richer data to further personalize the website experience.

Some common Crawl use cases to consider are:

  • 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 and ABM use-cases, we will see the anonymous visitors turn into ‘known’ visitors. This means you can identify the visitors through one of many identifiers including name, email, interests, personas, preferences, etc.

Identifying personas

Folks tend to confuse personas with segments, as they are often referred to as segment profiles. Here's one way to think about it: Segments are the broad, categorical houses your personas live in. Your personas are the individual personalities who live in those houses. Personas are based on individual differences in need, attitude, behavior, and journey type. Personas leverage personalized data to provide emotional insight, which you will use to tell the right story with the right content.

Persona cluster #1

  • Reserved, keeps to old ways

  • Open-minded, creative

Personal cluster #2

  • Naive in the industry

  • Experienced in the industry

Once you have known visitors, you can begin to customize your website on behalf of common patterns from all of your collected visitor data like their browsing behavior, pages viewed, or completed events. 

3. Walk

At this point, you’re ready to progress to the Walk phase. That 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 (for example, all European site 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 “X” content more than 5 times in 30 days, show them “X” content from the Service or Industry pages.

  • Browsing behavior: Contextualize the site based on the types of pages someone has visited. If a visitor has looked at more "X" over "Y" content, show more "X" CTAs. 

  • 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: For example, show US B2B cases studies to visitors from the US who came in through a B2B PPC ad.

  • Combine Crawl and Walk use cases: For example, show the “Next Steps Video” to a mobile visitor who has viewed “Awareness” content more than 3 times in 30 days.

4. Run

Now that you've created multiple personalization campaigns across a number of segments, and measuring success. It’s time to take everything we’ve learned about your customer activity and create an orchestrated customer journey across multiple touch points.

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.

Content examples for a personalized customer journey:

  • Website design elements like fonts, colors and graphics

  • Email marketing campaigns messages, subject lines and promotions.

  • Case studies and blogs that tell the specific stories specific segments don't know they need to hear.

Focus on optimizing these touch points 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, it is important to ensure that any changes made are properly monitored and tracked so that you can easily identify which elements are having the most success and continue optimizing the customer experience accordingly. Utilizing analytics dashboards can provide real-time insights into customer behavior across various channels while also highlighting areas where improvements need to be made. Through rigorous analysis of your metrics, you can continuously refine your personalization efforts for maximum benefit.

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