Here’s yet another opportunity to level up your marketing vocabulary. So, what exactly is contextual marketing?
Basically, contextual marketing takes your inbound strategy to the next level by getting personal with your target audience.
Creating a personalized user experience for your audience allows you to meet your potential customers where they are by understanding who they are. In fact, you may already be practicing contextual marketing without realizing it.
Picture the last email you sent to a prospective buyer. You probably didn’t start off with “Hello generic customer,” and if you did, your marketing strategy could probably use an upgrade.
Contextual marketing takes the personal connections between your clients and your strongest sales rep—the one that picks up the phone with a “Hey! How’ve you been? How are the kids? How’d your product launch go?”—and applies them to your overall business strategy.
You already know how closely aligned your sales and marketing goals are. With contextual marketing, it’s easier than ever to find that perfect harmony.
How It Works
Depending on your software, your automated personalization capabilities may vary—as a HubSpot Gold Certified Partner, we specialize in the Smart Content and Personalization Tokens the system offers.
Either way, your CRM won’t do all of the work. It’s important to keep in mind that you need certain information from users in order to create personalized content that caters to them.
For example, if a user has filled out a form to receive a free consultation from your business and you didn’t ask them their company name, you won’t be able to reply with an email saying, “We know exactly how to make [INSERT YOUR BUSINESS NAME HERE] more effective in the [INSERT YOUR INDUSTRY HERE] industry.”
(That’s why HubSpot’s Smart Content offers the “default value” option. If you don’t know their company name, instead of seeing a blank space, they’ll see a generic, logical value like “your business.”)
Even without a sophisticated marketing CRM, there are ways to personalize your online marketing strategy—and countless benefits. Here are three ways contextual marketing can amplify your business.
1. Connect with Your Audience
Whether you’re sending an email, publishing a web page, posting a blog, or designing a landing page, incorporating personalization tokens or smart content lets users know that you’ve met before.
Instead of always saying, “Hello, it’s a pleasure to meet you,” contextual marketing allows you to say, “It’s nice to see you again!”
One of the biggest obstacles for SMEs is finding the capacity to create effective, efficient customer service on a grand scale from the beginning to the end of their buyers’ journey—especially the beginning.
Instead of sending out hundreds of individual emails, your CRM should enable email automation through your marketing software, allowing you to send out correspondence in bulk.
That’s where contextual marketing comes in.
You can insert personalization tokens that will allow you to say “Hi Kelly, How is your role as a Marketing Copywriter contributing to Hudson Fusion’s business goals?” instead of “Hey you, How is your role contributing to your company’s goals?”
People love personalization. We instinctually crave customized experiences. It shows a human connection that goes above and beyond a buyer and a seller, and allows you to send more relevant content based on their interests.
2. Test Success
As marketers, we know the power of consumer insights. Businesses would miss out on countless opportunities if they didn’t test out different approaches.
There are benefits beyond personalization when it comes to contextual marketing. It allows you to comprehensively test out different pieces of content, workflows, and interactions to determine the most effective approach for future campaigns.
How can you know if simple word or graphic choice will generate more engagement if you don’t test it out? Smart HTML gives you the ability to show certain users specifically coded web pages.
Let’s use our Portfolio as an example. Our tagline is “Real-World Successes for Businesses Like Yours”—but we can take that one step further in terms of speaking to your business in particular.
Say you belong to a law firm. We can generate smart HTML that will show you all of the law firms we’ve worked with previously at the top of the list.
Be careful about smart content, however. Your users may have shared sensitive information with you—not confidential, but, say, they’re average annual revenue. If they visit a page that says, “We know your business brings in about $5.6 million per year. Here’s what services fall into that budget,” then they may be a little freaked out.
Smart content should work to serve user experience. Here are the five basic tenants of a good user experience:
If your Smart content doesn’t contribute to all (or any) of these, then you’re likely overcomplicating things.
3. Guide Customers Through the Buyer’s Journey
Most importantly, contextual marketing allows you to take users by the hand and guide them through the Buyer’s Journey—regardless of their starting point.
You’re likely already including content in your marketing strategy (if you aren’t, you should be), and each piece you publish speaks specifically to customers at various stages of their purchasing decision process.
Instead of hoping that a potential sale will happen to stumble on the most relevant content, you can create a contextual marketing plan that will ensure they see what you want them to per their lifecycle stage.
That means you have the power to show your first-time user a general interest piece where a Sales Qualified Lead will see specific content relevant to their industry, interests, and needs.
Contextual marketing is a huge asset for lead nurturing. You can design a strategy that walks first-time visitors step-by-step through the most relevant information, increasing the chances of conversion.
What are you waiting for? You know your audience—so let’s get personal.