Not Just Content, Dynamic Content

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Adam Blitzer, ExactTarget
Adam Blitzer, ExactTarget

When it comes to dynamic content, there are two things we can say with confidence: dynamic content is powerful, and it's underused. With dynamic content, marketers can set criteria that, when matched, will display variations of personalized callouts, messages, images, headlines, and more—meaning that marketers now have the ability to tailor content to specific viewers based on demographics, past behavior, and even customer preferences. Unlike multivariate or A/B testing, dynamic content is about using what you already know about your prospects or customers, rather than running experiments and choosing winners.

But even with insight into customer and prospect data like industry, location, and activity levels, a majority of marketers are still showing the same website to all of their visitors. Fortunately, companies are beginning to demonstrate the value in having smarter, dynamic web content that can create a completely customized experience for every user.

Not only can dynamic content improve engagement levels with more relevant messaging, but it can also impact your bottom line, make your calls to action more persuasive, and increase the likelihood of conversion. So what are some ways that companies can start using dynamic content as a part of their marketing strategies, and what are the benefits of doing so?

1. Change website content based on visitors' interests.

You can tell a lot about customers and prospects based on how they engage with your site, and dynamic content gives you the power to act on this information. If they're interested in a specific product that you offer, you can use dynamic content to emphasize information about that particular product line. Similarly, you can adjust callouts and images on your site to suit your visitors' interests. If they tend to migrate toward your email marketing content, for instance, you can display the most relevant email marketing whitepapers or webcasts in callouts on your site. Refining your content based on what your users want to see offers the most optimized Web experience possible.

2. Take advantage of knowing your customer/prospect's location.

If you know a visitors' location, not only can you notify him when events are happening in his backyard, but you can also personalize other location-based information on your site. For example, knowing whether customers or prospects are local gives you the option to offer in-person product demos rather than relying on impersonal phone calls. Using dynamic content to display client quotes based on location is another valuable tactic. If you have an area on your site devoted to client testimonials, you can employ dynamic content to showcase quotes from clients who are located in a similar area as your site visitors. Personalizing content based on location can add a degree of relevancy to your content that it may have been lacking before.

3. Avoid overusing forms and gated content.

Dynamic content can enhance user experience by cutting out unnecessary steps. If you have forms and gated content on your site, don't make it any harder on prospects than it has to be for them to access what they need. If they've already filled out a form to download something from your site, you can use dynamic content to show a button for a one-click download instead of forcing them to fill out another form. Dynamic content can also be used to display callouts to new content, instead of content that prospects have already seen or downloaded.

4. Customize based on buyer personas.

These days, it's becoming more and more important to target content to specific buyer personas. For example, for a technology product, executives and IT personnel are looking for different things when they come to your site. While the IT person wants to know how your product or service can help them solve their business problem, executives want to know how it will affect their bottom line. If you know the buyer personas of your prospects, you can use dynamic content to show them exactly what they want to see.

5.  Use lifecycle stage to target content.

Dynamic content can help marketers use the knowledge of where prospects are in the buying cycle to target content to their specific needs. If prospects have just entered the sales funnel, dynamic content can help ensure that they're seeing the right educational materials to move them through the buying cycle. Conversely, prospects that are further along in the process should see more calls to action that will prompt them to convert. Dynamic content gives marketers the opportunity to optimize their sales funnels by showing prospects the right content at the right time.

Few B2B companies today are customizing website content to individual users, so even the slightest amount of personalization can be invaluable. While dynamic content may seem intimidating at first glance, the benefits you can provide by simply implementing one or two of the suggestions above are unrivaled.

Adam Blitzer is VP of B2B marketing automation at ExactTarget.

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