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The Novel Approach to Email Hyper-Personalization

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The Novel Approach to Email Hyper-Personalization

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Marketing is all about standing out and drawing attention to your product. Now that most marketing campaigns make use of personalization, it may no longer be enough. Moreover, targeting is an essential part of any marketing campaign, so it may no longer suffice to broadly target an audience solely based on gender, age, and previous engagement.

Nowadays, marketing strategists are relying on more than surveys and data entered upon signup. Good marketers know that the customer communicates with more than just words. It’s also about what the customer is doing. Thankfully, there are ways to collect such data and ways to leverage it to our advantage.

So what is hyper-personalization?

Artificial intelligence (AI), as well as real-time customer data, allow marketers to display the most relevant content, information, and products to consumers. This new form of personalization is a result of the digital era’s new trend of hyper-relevance. It is all about leveraging data, AI, machine learning, and predictive analytics to better understand your audience’s unique habits and tailor interactions to them.

This method allows brands to engage customers in meaningful ways that feel like engagement is done on a personal basis. It makes a world of difference if your brand strategy is the one that gets them in the sea of information that is the internet. So much so, in fact, that personalized emails deliver 6x higher transaction rates.

What’s new in the field of email hyper-personalization?

The more data we have, the better we can reach our target audience. The more tools for personalization we have, the clearer our message will be. Thankfully, the tools for both of these elements are plenty with the tendency to grow exponentially.

Costs

If all this is getting your head to spin at the thought of more marketing costs, it may surprise you to learn that hyper-personalization tends to cut down on those costs relative to earnings. It seems counterintuitive at first but remember – marketing is all about targeting. If you can find just the right people in the sea of potential customers, then every dollar spent reaching them is well worth it.

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Personalized email marketing is said to generate a median ROI of 122% according to the survey of US marketers conducted by the Direct Marketing Association and Demand Metric. Segmented and targeted emails are said to generate 58% of all revenue.

Now that we’ve settled that, let’s move on to hyper-personalization.

How does it start?

It starts with data collection. Think Website analytics, mobile application analytics, social listening tools, welcome emails, and email quizzes and surveys. It is all about paying attention to what the customer is doing as well as buying. People want to be discovered and known. It is up to a skilled and motivated marketer to look for what they are telling us about themselves.

A marketer delving into hyper-personalization will listen in on social media trends and mentions. They will look at what the users are telling them about themselves through quizzes, surveys and profile data. They will sit down and really do their homework incorporating website and mobile application analytics. Even the current email marketing metrics will provide good insight into the starting point.

Only then are they ready to connect with the audience in this new, unprecedented way. The next step will be to leverage this advantage to enhance brand engagement, but more on that later.

What can we do with all that data?

1. Keep Personalizing email subject lines

Hyper-personalization is really just an extension of personalization. Whereas marketers used to add names to subject lines and deliver season’s greetings coupled with offers, now the message can be tailor-made for a very narrow group.

Going the extra length of crafting a special message can really have people feel like you are thinking of them and, in the case of holidays, it can really help hitch your brand to that festive train ride everyone loves. These are all good practices and 62.26% of consumers have said that they feel “happy” and “excited” to respond to a personalized message from a retailer.

As more and more brands adopt personalization, these practices will not be enough for a brand’s email to stand out in a sea of similar titles. Website and app analytics allow us to collect information about behavior.

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Perhaps the website visitor put something in their cart and left or maybe there is an item sitting in their wishlist for a long time. Mentioning a product or other keywords may help jog their memory even before opening the email and help pick up where they left off.

2. Personalize email copy

Dynamic content. So, your targeted audience has seen the tailored email title and it has tickled their imagination. Once they open it, should they see a generic email? The tools we have at our disposal allow us to keep going here. Whether you’re emailing the latest blog posts you’ve published or your monthly newsletter, personalization sets you apart from the sea of other emails vying for inbox space.  

A brand could generate a special offer based on previous purchases of the customer. Another option is a triggered email. If there was an abandoned and forgotten cart, an email with just those items the customer was looking for will feel much different than a generic offer.

Similarly, if there is an event your targeted audience has shown interest in, or perhaps even signed up for, an email reminder will surely increase attendance.

It is actually possible to go even deeper than that. A marketer could create multiple versions of the same email that is personalized for different groups of subscribers. Perhaps the brand in question has different levels of membership or would like to differentiate between customers based on the level of past engagement.

Showing different segments of an email based on these is possible, but it doesn’t stop there. You could differentiate by gender, age, or any other characteristic that works for your particular brand and its type of customer engagement.

3. Personalize images

People are already starting to get used to tailored messages. Holiday and birthday greetings have been with us for a while. However, not many people assume images, drawings, and animations can be customized too. Why not surprise your users with something they don’t expect? Make it something that feels like a small gift in and of itself.

Some brands have recorded as much as an 8x improvement on click-through rates with a personalized video versus standard outbound email campaigns.

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4. Personalize landing pages

In the end, there is no reason to stop at the email itself. Help further smoothen the transition from a killer email and call-to-action button to a landing page by using everything a customer reveals about themselves. Personalized calls to action are said to convert more than 200% better than default calls to action!

Even as some users are beginning to expect customized advertising, not many have gotten used to the web pages themselves being tailored to them. This will be sure to enhance brand loyalty. Moreover, marketers see an average increase of 20% in sales when using personalized experiences.

5. Fine-tune the offer

So far we’ve talked about the content of the offer, but timing is important as well. Analyzing the mass of data will allow you to see not only the time when a specific customer is perusing, but what the end result of that engagement tends to be. Right now you should be able to time your emails perfectly and deliver your message, but that might not be the end of it.

We should be wary of tall promises, but it doesn’t seem far-fetched to say that you may end up making discoveries through correlating data.

If Google data engineers were able to make insightful discoveries about intimate topics solely through correlation, then there is good reason to think we may vastly improve our marketing practices by correlating the immense amount of data we collect nowadays. We will start to collect data that will provide further insights into purchase intent and then be able to correlate that into a larger picture that will work best for a particular brand.

The future of email personalization

Current trends in data collection and advancements in video and image manipulation technology, as well as machine learning, give a lot of cause to be excited. For early adopters of these trends, the future has in store a very positive self-reinforcing cycle.

Interacting with a brand that gets them will ensure that a customer is excited when they receive an email. If they are met with an intimate and familiar message, it will only serve to reinforce brand loyalty and brand awareness. They are then more likely to be elated when they receive their next email and… you get it.

To wrap up

Modern technologies and trends are giving rise to amazing new opportunities. Many brands are already making use of these to great success. Do not be afraid to be one of the early adopters and do not be afraid to carve your own path.

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This field is relatively unexploited which makes the advantages all the greater. The data needed for this kind of marketing is out there, ready for taking. The customers are already responding well. The rest is up to you.

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How We Increased a Client’s Leads by 384% in Six Months by Focusing on One Topic Cluster [Case Study]

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How We Increased a Client’s Leads by 384% in Six Months by Focusing on One Topic Cluster [Case Study]

The author’s views are entirely his or her own (excluding the unlikely event of hypnosis) and may not always reflect the views of Moz.

Content marketing is an essential part of any SEO strategy. Without it, how are you going to attract customers looking for answers to their questions, and who are potentially in the market for your products or services?

At Tao Digital Marketing, we’ve recently generated some great results for one of our clients operating in the business financial space, The Insolvency Experts, mainly by focusing on just one “cluster topic” that was a huge money maker for them.

When looking at six month comparison stats (August 2021-January 2022 to February-July 2022), we’ve achieved the following:

  • Leads: 95 to 460 (384%)

  • Clicks: 4,503 to 23,013 (411%)

  • Impressions: 856,683 to 2,033,355 (137%)

  • Average position: 33.4 to 23.6 (increased almost 10 spots)

This was mostly achieved by absolutely hammering one topic area: company liquidation. In this case study, we’re going to explain how we did this step by step, so that hopefully you can generate similar results for your own business!

Objectives

If you really break it down, the objective of all SEO consultancy work is essentially the same: increase the number of leads for a business. This was our ultimate goal.

It’s not just as simple as that, though. We all know you can’t get to number one on Google overnight. So, like other SEO geeks out there, we tracked our successes through additional factors such as clicks, impressions, and average position, to show our efforts were worthwhile.

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In January this year (2022) our goals for the next six months were as follows:

  • Leads: Just over double from 95 to 200 (110%)

  • Clicks: 4,503 to 13,500 (around 200%)

  • Impressions: 856,683 to 1,700,000 (around 100%)

  • Average position: 33.4 to 25 (around eight spots)

Insolvency Experts’ audience is primarily directors of UK businesses that are going insolvent, closely followed by business owners looking for financial advice. The majority of Insolvency Expert’s cash flow comes from formal insolvency processes, such as liquidation, administration, and CVAs (Company Voluntary Agreements), so it was really important for us to push these areas.

Our strategy

1. Research “company liquidation” search volume and related queries

We first picked this client up in November 2020. Initially, our focus was on the basics: updating all the top level pages (such as service pages and guides) to make sure they fit the intention of the user and clearly explained the services that Insolvency Experts offer.

Researching what works well at present

One of the pages that our content team updated was their company liquidation guide. After updating, the page started to perform very well in the SERP, and ranked at position #4 for “company liquidation”. Clearly, this sort of content was working, and we wanted to hit it even more.

After pulling some research together, one of our strategists proposed the idea of a “Company Liquidation Content Hub”, as the company liquidation guide was ranking for a lot of long tail questions:

Screenshot showing ‘what’ queries in Google Search Console, such as ‘what is voluntary liquidation’ and ‘what happens to a director of a company in liquidation’

After cross referencing with the monthly search volume for these questions, she added some of these as H3s within the guide to see how they would perform. They resulted in so much more traffic that she decided they warranted their own individual guides, hence the idea for the hub. This would mean we weren’t putting all of our eggs into one basket, and that we could also internally link all of them together for users wanting to read more.

Users that are further down the marketing funnel don’t want to scroll down a huge guide to find the answer to their specific question, and we were certain that this would positively affect bounce rate. We therefore made sure that nine times out of 10, the H1 contained the question that was being answered.

Infographic explaining the sales funnel, starting with reach followed by act, convert and finally, engage

In order to further target those at the bottom of the marketing funnel who want to speak to someone quickly, we placed regular “Contact Us” CTAs throughout the content so that they don’t have to scroll right to the bottom of the page to get in touch with Insolvency Experts.

An example of a piece of content with a ‘Get Free Liquidation Advice’ CTA in the middle

Undertaking a competitor analysis

We also conducted a competitor analysis on this topic, focusing on three key players in the industry that were all ranking well for the phrase “company liquidation”. We found that the key competitors had the following:

Competitor A – 38 indexed articles on liquidation

Competitor B – 23 indexed articles on liquidation

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Competitor C – 47 indexed articles on liquidation

Insolvency Experts only had six indexed articles on liquidation at the time, so it was clear we needed to be on their level – this was an obvious content gap.

Pitching the content hub to the client

We suggested this idea to the client alongside a forecasting spreadsheet created by our founder, in order to justify the resource that was needed to push the client as high as possible in the rankings for company liquidation.

This spreadsheet broke down a huge list of keywords alongside monthly search volume, average click through rate for positions 1-10 on the SERP, domain authority of competitors who are currently ranking for these keywords, and average conversion rate on the site at the moment.

Table demonstrating projected revenue for Insolvency Experts depending on where they ranked on the SERP

This unique formula would then allow us to explain to the client that for X amount of work, we predict we can get you to position X in X timeframe, and this would result in approximately X annual revenue. After pitching this to the client alongside infographics and current performance statistics, they told us they loved our ideas and agreed to let us go ahead.

2. Plan the content after client approval

After the client gave us the go-ahead, the next step was to plan all of this work based on search volume, and therefore priority order.

It’s easy to get lost in all the data within SEO, so it was incredibly important for us to have a solid plan and timeline for these changes. Topics were going to range from How to Liquidate a Company with No Money through to Administration vs Liquidation.

How we communicate planned works to our clients

In order to orchestrate clear communication between ourselves and our clients, we create a Traffic Light Report, which is a live Google Sheets document detailing all work to be undertaken for the current and next quarter. This is split into sections for technical SEO, content, and digital PR/link building (the three pillars of SEO).

This includes justification for each change we make, as well as a link to any live changes or documents. It also details when this will be done and if the action is with us or the client. The tasks are coloured in green for live changes, yellow for action needed, orange for in progress, red for anything on hold and clear for not started.

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Here’s an example of what the content section of Insolvency Expert’s traffic light report looks like for their current quarter (July-September 2022):

Screenshot detailing content to be undertaken between July-September 2022, and justifications for each action

Scheduling the tasks

We then scheduled these topics for our various content writers to work on using our project management software, ClickUp. Within each task we placed a link to a skeleton document consisting of H1s, H2s, and H3s, as well as a title, meta description and keywords to include.

3. Write the content while implementing technical SEO

By this time it was around April 2022, and it was time for us to fully attack the content portion of our task list. Since then, we’ve written 18 pieces of content around company liquidation, and still have quite a few left to go before we consider this area of focus complete.

As part of our uploads, our technical SEO adds FAQ schema, which has helped Insolvency Experts showing up for several featured snippets (more details in results section).

Analyzing as we go along

Once we covered the big topics in the first couple of months of writing, we started to use Low Fruits to find smaller queries which are estimated at around 10 or fewer monthly searches. We’ve had a lot of success targeting lower search volume phrases, as these users seem to be more focused and lower down the sales funnel, so are more likely to be better engaged and convert better. A lot of the time they are pleased that you have answered their very niche question!

The below is a screenshot from a keyword analysis. We trawled through hundreds of keywords to pull out the ones relevant to the client.

A screenshot of queries from LowFruits.io featuring questions such as ‘can you still trade while in liquidation?’ and ‘can you trade out of insolvency?’

We then used Low Fruit’s Keyword Extraction and SERP Analysis tool to give us further details on a select few key terms.

These terms are shown as having a search volume of either 10, less than 10 or 0. Of course, we know that this is still hugely important to cover, and targeting these will bring in a very niche reader who is much more likely to convert due to the nature of the long-tail queries.

Finalizing the hub

Our plan is to finalize the hub this fall, and ensure that everything is internally linked. There will also be a menu change to make the addition of the hub very clear. See screenshots below for the current hub vs. how it will be presented once all content is ready (screenshot taken from their staging site in Kinsta, our hosting platform where we make design changes so that the client can approve them before they go live).

Current ‘hub’ in the menu:

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Screenshot of the current ‘liquidation’ drop down menu, featuring four pieces of content

How the hub will look once all content is complete:

Screenshot sharing newer version of liquidation hub menu from Kinsta staging site

As part of our content process within ClickUp, we have a recurring task to check a new URL in Google Search Console two weeks after upload. This allows us to see if we have the “Google Spike of Acceptance”, which is a sharp incline of impressions/traffic indicating that the content will do well, before it falls then slowly rises again.

A screenshot showing the ‘Google Spike of Acceptance’ in Google Search Console - a sharp spike of clicks and impressions after upload

If we don’t see this spike, we carry out multiple checks, including: Is it an orphan page? Are there any technical errors? Is it indexed? If it is not indexed, we push the URL through Index Me Now.

If the issue is just that the piece isn’t getting picked up, we will take another look at the content to see if there is something else we can do to improve it, e.g. tweak the H1 or expand the content.

4. Build links to the relevant pages and homepage

Once we’d uploaded the content, it was time to build links to the priority pages and homepage in order to build the domain authority.

We wanted to really hone in on generating links for our company liquidation page. The page has 36 backlinks, many of which were built through link building efforts. This was largely done by working with business site publications and creating natural anchor text that would help with certain keyword rankings.

Example of a guest blog titled ‘The Advantages of Business Liquidation’

As well as building links specifically to the company liquidation page, we also built links to the main URL in order to boost overall domain authority. This was done through answering queries through platforms such as HARO and Response Source, as well as working with the client to create relevant, time-specific thought leadership pieces. Here’s an example of a HARO request we responded to, the topic being “Recession-proofing tips for small businesses”:

Although the site’s domain authority tends to fluctuate between 30-33 depending on links lost and general algorithm updates, the links to specific pages have still resulted in an increase in rankings, detailed further below.

Results compared to objectives

Although we knew that our strategy was going to work well based on our experience with our other clients, we were very pleasantly surprised by the huge positive effect our work has made, which enabled us to smash the targets we set!

Leads

Goal: Increase from 95 to 200 (110%)

Result: Increased from 95 to 460 (384%)

As a result of creating incredibly useful, lengthy content and placing regular CTAs throughout the content, we managed to almost quadruple the amount of leads coming through to the client in the space of just six months.

In the six months before our liquidation project began, our Leads Dashboard within WhatConverts shows that Insolvency Experts had five liquidation leads via phone call and 10 leads via their contact form on a liquidation-focused page.

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In the six-month period since we’ve been working on the content hub, they have had 38 liquidation leads via phone call and 52 leads via contact form on a liquidation-focused page.

Result: 660% increase in phone call leads and 420% increase in contact form leads.

Previous six months:

Screenshot of the leads dashboard within What Converts showing that five leads were generated before work on the content hub began

Current:

Screenshot of the leads dashboard within What Converts showing that 38 leads were generated after work on the content hub began

Clicks

Goal: Increase from 4,503 to 13,500 (around 200%)

Result: Increased from 4,503 to 23,013 (411%)

By creating highly relevant content that matched the user’s search intent, we managed to almost quadruple the clicks over the space of six months, doubling our original 200% goal.

The site has received 29,400 clicks overall across the past 12 months. Below, you can see the huge spike in clicks and impressions from January onwards when we really started to focus on the liquidation content.

Screenshot showing spike in clicks and impressions once focus on ‘company liquidation’ began

Impressions

Goal: Increase from 856,683 to 1,700,000 (around 100%)

Result: Increased from 856,683 to 2,033,355 (137%)

Again, by creating highly relevant blogs, Google started to understand the relevancy of our content, so the number of impressions hugely increased. Along with the 137% increase above, over the past 12 months (August 2021-August 2022) the site has received 485,000 impressions for the query ‘liquidation’ alone.

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Google Search Console Graph detailing huge spike in impressions between August 2021-August 2022

The main company liquidation guide that we updated had a total of 732K impressions over the past 12 months, too, with a huge spike from February onwards, when we updated the guide.

Google Search Console Graph detailing huge spike in impressions in February for the updated company liquidation guide

Average position

Goal: Increase from 33.4 to 25 (around 8 spots)

Result: Increased from 33.4 to 23.6 (increased 10 spots)

This increase is due to the relevancy of our content and the amount of keywords each piece ranked for. As mentioned, the main company liquidation guide has worked incredibly well, ranking for 181 keywords, 67 of which are page one (37%). It now has the number one spot for the term “company liquidation”. See below for an example of queries the page is showing up for.

Google Search Console Screenshot sharing queries the company liquidation guide is appearing for, such as ‘members voluntary liquidation’, ‘liquidation of company’, ‘how long does liquidation take’ and more

The page also shows up for six featured snippets as a result of us implementing FAQ schema.

Screenshot showing the company liquidation guide appearing in a featured snippet query for ‘process of liquidation’

335 clicks and 93,663 impressions have come from the FAQ rich results alone.

Screenshot of Google Search Console showing ‘FAQ Rich Results’ within the search appearance column

In the six months before we updated the guide, it pulled in around 650 clicks and 227K impressions. In the six months following, it brought in around 1,180 clicks and 382K impressions. We’ve practically doubled clicks on one single guide.

As mentioned, this particular piece of content has 36 backlinks, and actually ranks ABOVE the official UK government company liquidation guide, which has a domain authority of 93 (about 60 higher than ours). Clearly, we’re meeting the searcher’s intent and giving them what they are looking for.

Screenshot of the SERP showing that Insolvency Experts’ company liquidation guide appears above official UK government advice.

In the six month period before we started work on liquidation, Insolvency Experts had an average click through rate of 0.5%. Over a six month period of us working with them, this more than doubled to 1.2%.

Another success worth noting is that 3 out of 6 of our latest articles have an average page view duration of between 9 and 10 minutes! The other half are averaging around 5 to 6 minutes, which is still very good. Clearly, users are wanting in-depth information on this topic.

The “What happens to a director of a company in liquidation?” guide, which went live in May, is now the fifth most clicked page on the site. when filtered on GSC by the term “liquidation”.

Overall, we’re extremely pleased with the results we generated, and so are Insolvency Experts — the company liquidation department is now inundated with queries and they are rushed off their feet!

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