Over the past three years, every digital transformation or trend report has reiterated the same key fact: the future is personalisation. We all dutifully nod our heads in agreement – what else could it be?
Indeed, in our most recent Asset Management Digital Marketing Survey from last year, over half of our respondents reiterated that personalisation and targeting would be the priority for their marketing in 2019, 62% in fact.
But allow me to take a step back: what exactly does personalisation mean? At face value, it is the tailoring of content to target a specific audience. However, how useful is that as a definition when one attempts to apply it in reality? Why would one even care, especially when your target audience is another business? In the B2B world, it’s too easy to jump ship at this stage and say it’s impossible, instead continuing to plan that trade show you’ve participated in for the last 5 years.
Before abandoning all hope, try approaching personalisation (even when targeting a business) in a more human way. First of all, remember that behind each company sits a group of humans who can be just as precocious and demanding as you or I. Therefore, if they don’t feel their needs are being met in this saturated market, it’s easy for them to go elsewhere.
The next key step is understanding what that group of people look like. This is where the mysterious world of persona building comes into play. Effectively, this means taking a handful of customers from each segment of your business and interviewing them to build a profile around their behaviour on your site. Typically, this is conducted by an independent third party who neatly package this information into averaged identities (personas) of the types of people that visit your site; outlining what they want both professionally and, briefly, holistically.
Now that you have an extensive amount of data on the individuals who interact with your site, how do you interpret that into actions and, more importantly, ROI?
Here it pays to have a content management system (CMS) that enables your marketing teams to operate in a flexible and autonomous way and to build and maintain multiple sites without requiring an army of developers. Even if your CMS isn’t quite there yet, you can still make changes, but the speed and efficiency of those changes will be limited.
Qualifying your visitor to serve them with the appropriate content can become an extension of your attestation. Depending on the extent of your personas this could mean adding additional investor types, creating a mini self-qualifying journey or the integration of a marketing automation tool.
The insights within the personas will provide you with the information necessary to map out the experience (or journeys) that that person is likely to make on your site. Your goal then is to try and improve the speed with which they are able to achieve their ultimate goal and the quality of that experience. For example, if one of your personas is a French IFA and their typical journey is to a particular ESG fund, then consider how many clicks it may take them to reach the fund page. How could that be reduced? Even a small change can be powerful; leverage the cookie functionality on your sites to enable a dynamic segment of the homepage that displays content based on their last action. In the case of my above example, that would mean displaying the last three funds visited, or the last fund visited and two suggestions based on behaviour.
It’s important to remember that simplifying the user’s journey to complete one action is valuable, especially if it is meaningful. However, it’s in your best interest to ensure they stay engaged and continue to move throughout your website. The best way to do this is to continue to leverage the persona information you have gained to offer them the next step that they didn’t realise they wanted to take. This can be as simple as inserting suggested funds and ensuring that your content is interlinked – too often you see sites where clicking through to any page becomes a dead end.
The final component to personalisation is analytics. Ideally you will already have analytics set up to track user behaviour on your site. Therefore, once you implement tracking specifically on the changes that you made to the site, regularly review the impact of those changes. Do visits dramatically diminish? Is the quality of the visitors better? The insights you are able to gain will be dependent on your implementation of analytics and any marketing automation tool integrations you have invested in.
These steps can be all it takes to map out a more personal journey for your website visitors, keeping them in the loop of what your firm can offer. Given the power that your website can have for your ROI, taking advantage of the digital tools available to you is not only a trend for the industry, but imperative to keep connected to a digital future as well as your potential customers – make sure you don’t fall behind.