Surprise—not everyone wants the same thing! I guarantee the last time you went out to eat at a restaurant with a group of people, not everyone ordered the salmon. So why are you serving up the exact same content recommendations to all of your visitors?
The need for a personalized approach in your marketing is more critical than ever. Buyers are self-educating with content at every stage of the customer journey, and there are now an average of seven different buyers involved in a purchasing decision. That’s a lot of people, each who have individual needs for the right content in the right format, at the right time in their journey.
Sure, you’ve been targeted in your approach to get them to your content, but now that they’re here, are you confident you can get them to that next piece, every time?
If not, you need a content recommendation strategy. Here are four ways today’s best marketers are using content recommendations.
Call Them to Action With CTAs!
Calls-to-action are a powerful tool for engaging visitors when you have a conversion goal in mind. When placed strategically at the end of an article, providing a link to a related article (what marketers generally call text-link CTAs) can compel your visitors to consume that next piece of content. The key is to be contextual. Recommending an article or video on the same topic as the one they just read will increase the chances they’ll click through to consume it.
In The Content Experience Report, we shared data supporting the importance of using contextual CTAs throughout your content. In fact, contextualizing your CTAs to the content they are placed beside makes them 2x as effective.
Your ultimate goal is to compel action, and link CTAs—whether they’re a text link or tile, or appear below, beside, or amongst your content—are the perfect way to serve up content recommendations that will make your readers more likely to complete an action. Link CTAs in Uberflip allow you to link out to another page or piece of content, making it easy to integrate action items like sending traffic to key product pages, promoting specific streams of content, driving sign-ups for demo requests, and more!
In the above example from LeanData, you can see that they’ve used a link CTA in their resource center to recommend content, in this case a new ebook, for their visitors to download. This link CTA is seamlessly woven into the content experience, and invites visitors to keep engaging with relevant content recommendations.
It’s important to customize the placement of CTAs as well, so you can engage at the most relevant times with personalized content recommendations. For example, use a show-beside CTA to grab a reader’s attention when they’re most engaged with your content and promote a relevant next step that moves them further down the funnel. You can see an example of this below:
When using a link CTA to recommend content, ensure it’s personalized, relevant, and contextual. Never ever send visitors to another experience that doesn’t line up! Personalize your CTAs so they are in line with the experience at hand.
Map It Out With Decision Trees
Being able to effectively recommend the right content to your target audience starts with properly organizing all your content. What are your topics? Who is your audience? What stage of the funnel are they in, and what kind of content do you have? When your content is organized, it can then be categorized and tagged for easier discoverability so you can quickly build out content recommendations.
This is where decision trees come into play. Smart marketers having been using decision trees in a number of ways to make their content marketing efforts effective. Decision trees are a flowchart-style diagram and are a great way to visually analyze different courses of action. They can help you and your team take the content you’ve organized and create a step-by-step plan for how you want prospects and customers to navigate the experience, so you can serve relevant content recommendations that will have a greater appeal to your audience.
This process is very manual and not so sexy (unless you think spreadsheets are), but having a content experience platform in place can help you get organized, and thereby recommend relevant content that drives results.
Remember, personalized content experiences have a direct impact on how visitors move through the buyer journey and view your brand!
Deliver the Right Content Every Time With a Recommendation Engine
Your prospects are people too! Expectations of personalized content experiences have now been set in a world where Spotify and Netflix cater to an individual’s specific needs and tastes. Suggesting “popular” or “recent” articles is a thing of the past. In fact, B2B marketers who personalize their content recommendations increase the chances of visitors consuming more content than generic recommendations by 60 percent!
You, too, can be a rockstar content recommender with the power of artificial intelligence! Recommendation engines, like Uberflip AI, combine science with marketing strategy to engage visitors with tailor-made experiences that dramatically shorten the sales cycle.
For example, if a visitor is already engaged with your content, you can continue to fuel their interest with even more relevant content using a recommendation engine. Using AI can help you optimize the content experience, and engage with more relevancy.
In order for a recommendation engine to do its job properly, you need to first have your content centralized and organized (tagged, categorized, filtered), then set up recommendation rules. You can create recommendation rules manually using the decision tree method mentioned above, or through AI to let machine learning recommend content to your visitors based on historical data.
Suggesting highly relevant content to your target audience though a recommendation engine builds trust, and helps to keep buyers engaged with the experiences you create, which compels them to eventually take action.
Be Scary Accurate Using Intent Data to Serve Content Recommendations
You’re not a mind reader, but what if you could become one? With the power of intent data, you could fool anyone with your ability to predict and recommend content!
The hype for artificial intelligence is very real, because it works. AI combined with intent data is a marketer’s secret tool to mastering personalization at scale. We have the technology—but are you investing in it yet?
Intent data is the data collected on what content is being consumed and how visitors interact with that content, otherwise known as their “observed behaviors.” This data provides insights into their interests and intent to take action. Intent data firms, like our Uberflip AI integration partner Bombora, use a deep network of data points (billions!) aggregated from a network of sources across the B2B web.
B2B buyers now expect personalization throughout the sales cycle, yet marketers are still struggling with mastering personalized content at scale. Prospects who perceived content to be tailored to their specific needs were 40 percent more willing to buy from that supplier than those who didn’t. Marketers who excel at content recommendations have stopped thinking about AI as the future of their marketing, and have started leveraging it today to create personalized experiences that drive results.
Marketing is no longer a one-size-fits-all approach, and you too can leverage visitor intent data and machine learning to understand your prospects on a deeper level. You might even convince them you’re a mind reader.
Better Content Recommendations = Better Marketing Results
It’s easy to see that with the right content recommendation strategy in place, you’ll be able to drive better marketing results.
By personalizing the content experience using these four strategies, you’ll be able to move prospects from initial engagement all the way to conversion, to eventually becoming your biggest cheerleaders!