Marketing Bootcamp

5 Low-Cost Ways to Personalize When You're Bootstrapping Content

5 Low-Cost Ways to Personalize When You're Bootstrapping Content
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Content personalization has become a big concern. A recent report co-authored by PwC found that 94 percent of marketers believe delivering personalization is critical or important to reaching customers.

Yet recent polls by Forrester, Rapt Media, and others have found content personalization to also be the biggest challenge for marketers. In my experience, one common problem that marketers face in implementing it is budget.

Content personalization may be an advanced marketing strategy, but there are plenty of affordable ways to do it. Here are five easy tips to get started today:

1. Start with your landing page form.

The lead capture form is how most brands begin content personalization, because it’s cheap and easy to operationalize. Landing page forms capture contact information and other important details about your audience, such as:

  • Name
  • Job title/Company name
  • Product interests
  • Whatever else you include in the form

This information can then be used to deliver personalized content. If you use Hubspot, for example, you can use these factors to personalize blog content.

Most major email marketing services make it easy to segment and personalize based on this information as well. This might seem like a small effort at personalization, but it can go a long way. According to Campaign Monitor, emails with personalized subject lines (e.g. including the recipient’s first name), are 26 percent more likely to be opened.

Related: Why You Need a Stellar Landing Page to Convert Prospects 

It might be tempting to include many fields in your landing page form to get more opportunities to personalize, but tread carefully here. Too many fields might discourage people from signing up at all.

2. Monitor behavior.

Pay close attention to how your audience interacts with your brand. In my experience, this can offer the most insight for content personalization.

Website behavior: Seventy-four percent of online consumers get frustrated with websites when content appears that has nothing to do with their interests. You can avoid this problem by displaying content based on visitor behavior. For example, if someone visits your travel website and immediately starts clicking on content related to international travel, you can start displaying more content related to international travel and less related to domestic.

Email engagement: Email automation tools allow you to create email segments based on your audience’s behavior, such as open rate and clickthrough rate. Say I’m an online sporting goods retailer, and I send out emails featuring different sports, like tennis, lacrosse, rock climbing, etc. Subscribers who engaged with content related to one of these sports may appreciate more personalized content related to it. These actions are good indicators of consumer interest, and they can help you further target consumers with similar messages.

Purchase behavior: Purchases are another behavior that can help you create personalized content for current and former customers. MailChimp makes it easy to create these segments.

Suggest content and products based on a consumer’s past purchases both on your website and in your email marketing.

3. Engage with polls and quizzes.

You can get even more nuanced data about your audience’s tastes, preferences, and beliefs by creating engaging polls or quizzes. They’re a great affordable content idea in general, because they encourage visitors to engage with your content, they entertain, and they give you an opportunity to turn the results into valuable user-generated content.

Related: 4 Secrets to Better Interactive Social-Media Content 

Here are just a few of the many (free or affordable) tools you can use to create polls and quizzes:

Integrate them into your web content and email marketing. The results will help you gather more information about your audience’s thoughts, interests, and knowledge gaps. Then, use these insights in your email marketing or content personalization strategies.

4. Use geolocation.

Visit from Seattle, and you’re sent to a landing page with a photo of the Space Needle and Mt. Rainer in the background:

And it’s not a coincidence.

It’s a simple matter of detecting a visitor’s IP address. Use geotargeting to:

  • Show the right products (e.g. lawn furniture for Florida and indoor items for Alaska)
  • Display the right language for global visitors
  • Customize visuals (like on
  • List nearby products and stores (for brick and mortar businesses)

Here are a few tools that can help you with geolocation personalization:

5. Just ask.

In my opinion, too few marketers take advantage of this tip. You probably have an account with sites like Amazon, Netflix, Goodreads, and more that outright ask you detailed questions about your interests and preferences so they can deliver targeted content. This is something you can do, too, without the huge web design budget.

Related: 25 Reasons Your Business Should Switch to WordPress

If you use WordPress, there are many plugins out there that allow you to create user profiles for your website and deliver personalized content. Here are some of them:

Encourage your audience to set up a profile and select preferences when they fill out your landing page form, when they make a purchase, or when they read your marketing emails.