Getting the tone of your content right is absolutely critical, but it can come as a challenge to many businesses. Everyone wants to make sure that their language matches their target audience, but do you make those crucial gender, age and occupation assumptions? If you follow our top tips you won’t go wrong!
Tip 1) Don’t rush in
It’s fair to say that if you’ve come so far with your content that you’re looking at personalising website content to this level, then you have once crucial element right already: you know your target market. Tip one is that you shouldn’t rush in to changing all of your content just because you have this all figured out; first, analyse what interaction you have on your site and check whether the people who have the highest level of interaction with you actually fit that target customer.
If they do, what language are they using? How do they refer to your products? How do they converse with you? If you look at customers in this detail, you’ll be able to personalise your language and so engage with them on a level you couldn’t before. Don’t be afraid to ask the consumer what they think about this either; showing that you value their opinion can only be seen in their eyes as a positive move, so ask them what they think of their interaction with you – a poll on Facebook or a few direct messages on Twitter to top contributors about their experience could go a long way to helping you up your content game.
Tip 2) Gender
This can be a huge factor in your strategy. There are so many businesses that are gender specific, so this is a no-brainer for them, but what about those businesses where it isn’t so cut and dry? Your market research and analytics data may well be telling you that 95% of your customer base is male, so you may ask yourself: “Is it worth alienating that remaining 5% for the sake of a better customer experience for the rest of our market?” Similarly, you may be under the impression that it is mostly women in your target audience, in which case you might want to test out some variations of language with your email marketing, then look into its reception.
Gender-specific content is a risk, but for some businesses it can pay off, it just depends on how well you execute it and how well you know your consumer. Shoeaholics have built up a reputation as the go-to website for discount designer shoes, so they have a strong brand with a young, fashionista-style consumer as their target market. Using “OMG babes” in the headline (although not appealing to myself) is language that would appeal to most of their target market, and certainly stand out in the email title – for them, it works.
You need to ask yourself if it is worth the risk, whether the evidence for the bias in target market is strong enough, and where you test the waters to begin with. However, if you have account login functionality, you can remove this risk; by enabling the user to build up a personalised profile for themselves, you can tailor the content that appears in this way. For example, you can put a command into the system that states when a user is female and between 30-40 years old, display the following content. By utilising a comprehensive system like this, you get all the benefits and none of the risk.
Tip 3) Age
This area is something that you need to bear in mind when looking at touchpoints; where is your customer likely to find you? The age range of your target consumer will no doubt already be rigorously instilled into your staff, but you need to think about where they will be comfortable getting in touch with you, and age can play a huge part in that. If they’re in the 16-25 category, you can bet that Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook will feature prominently, while the 26-35 “young professional” category will most likely be found on the three just mentioned as well as LinkedIn and Twitter. Anything upwards of the 36 mark tends to be more of a professional mind-set where social media is concerned, so you’re likely to find them on Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn, with Facebook being used mainly for social interaction with family and friends, and perhaps search.
If you can look at your target customer and ask yourself if they fit into these brackets, it will greatly help your efforts to personalise your content. By asking them to share things on their most preferred method of social media, not only does it show that you understand them, but it gives you the opportunity to ensure that the content going out on those networks is specific to those channels, improving your omni-channel operation. However, the age factor could be greatly influenced by occupation…
Tip 4) Occupation
The occupation of your consumer may be very important to one type of business and somewhat irrelevant to others, so it can have a range of effects on your site depending on what your company sells. For some B2B businesses, it may be only people in very specific employment positions that visit your site to purchase supplies or equipment for the company they work for, in which case, the tailoring of your content to that individual can be hugely beneficial for you. You can arrange everything to coincide with the needs of that specific consumer, improving their experience, their memory of you and the likelihood of them returning. However, a fashion retailer who appeals to a huge market of 18-30 year old women would be completely uninterested in the occupation, other than to aim at “young professionals who care about their appearance”.
If you fit into the former category, look at the navigation of the page – what would someone in that job role need to find first and how would they search? Via category or intelligent search? Look at the keyword searches on your site and how you can go about incorporating those elements into a format that appeals to that job role.
Tip 5) Reinforce, monitor and react
Use your touchpoints as opportunities to expand on this personalisation; make sure that the language, format and style of your content is consistent across social media, websites, apps and so on, so that you get a cohesive content campaign. Once you’ve made this bold move, measure the effects! Despite what people think when it comes to social media, there is nothing that cannot be measured, and if you think it can’t, you’re doing it wrong.
Monitor how the consumer reacts to the tailored messages you’re putting out; have you had a higher response rate since you personalised it? Since you made the language match theirs, has the reaction been a positive or a negative one? If positive, fantastic! If negative listen to it. No one likes it when their strategy fails, but a lot of personalisation in the early stages is trial and error and the only way to find out if it was successful is to ask.
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