A three-step plan to kickstart your marketing and engage holiday shoppers

Marketers have gone crazy for content, and for good reason. From site content and photos, to recipes, ebooks, videos and blogs—content drives interest and interest drives sales. Having more pageviews, more time on your site, and a smaller bounce rate means more eyeballs on your product or service, which means you have more opportunities to make a sale — which is every retailer’s goal during the holiday shopping season.

This all sounds great, but how can we as marketers make the most of our existing content assets—or figure out how to create better content using the resources they have? By leveraging data.

We can probably all agree that personalization is a key part of successfully marketing to your audience—and data is key to creating the personalized experiences that consumers demand

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. Brands and retailers are sitting on a goldmine of data—including page views, clicks, purchase behavior and even app downloads—that can be used to do just that. Here are three easy steps to put your data to work on your content and kickstart your marketing plan to reach and engage with your ideal holiday shoppers.

  1. Optimize your existing content tools

The first step is taking a look at the mountain of data you have at your fingertips to understand who your audience is, what they interact with and what engages them most effectively. Creative content is important, but you should make sure the messaging you are using actually speaks to the audience. Not every one of your customers will be motivated by the same things and you need to let your knowledge and insights about the consumer lead the way.

For example, a fashion retailer might discover that their best shoppers consistently spend time with the outfit inspiration pages of their site. The brand can then use this insight to put more suggested outfits into their holiday email and social campaigns targeted to these shoppers. By leveraging data in this way, your existing marketing assets become more personal.

  1. Supercharge your CMS

You have site visitors that are already interested in your products and services—why not figure out what content actually makes them tick? Integrating a data management platform, or DMP, with your content management system (CMS) gives you the ability to understand who your ideal customers are, both in terms of demographics, interests and actions online, and serve them specific content on your website.

For example, you can build an audience of consumers who have previously purchased or even added certain products to their cart, or who are interested in other topics not related to your product offering. Then, use this audience to offer customized content that keeps them on your site longer, increasing the likelihood of a purchase and helping to drive brand loyalty. An electronics retailer could retarget consumers who previously purchased a stereo system with an ad for complimentary speakers or CDs.

Once again, the goal is giving the consumers what they want and care about using the insights you have about your audience. And hopefully, by giving the audience what they want engagement increases, meaning your holiday sales increase too. So you are reaching the audience who wants to know about your products and not wasting ads on those who aren’t interested.

  1. Avoid redundancy

How many times have you visited one of your favorite sites, only to be greeted with the same ad for a product you’re no longer interested in? Probably more times than you can count.

Avoiding redundant messaging is a huge component of content personalization. And as more people move between mobile, desktop and the web, your messages need to feel native and unique to each platform. By segmenting your consumers into audiences, you have the ability to deliver fresh ads to users based on their interests, their purchase histories and even the type of device they use.

Send a user a mobile coupon for a product they just viewed on desktop, for example, or target a user who has abandoned her online shopping cart with a social ad containing a “Buy Now” button and a coupon that makes the buying process seamless.

At the same time, you can choose to suppress your continuing campaign to an audience who has already been exposed to it a certain number of times. This can help you avoid becoming that advertiser who seems to spray their ad at you continuously. This will have a positive effect on your overall advertising spend. You will either pay less overall, or only spend money reaching the audience who is interested, which is likely where you want your money to be going anyway.

Personalization is the future, but that future is approaching faster than you think. If you want to win—and keep—customers this holiday shopping season, you need to view personalization as more than just the cherry on top. It’s a key ingredient in your content marketing mix. And a well thought out data strategy is the engine that will drive success.

This article originally appeared in the July/August 2017 issue of Direct Marketing.

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Michel Benjamin

After jumping head first into the marketing world at advertising agency Koroberi upon graduating from the University of North Carolina, Michel Benjamin has held various marketing roles encompassing everything from media buying to event planning to public relations to launching websites. She is currently the director of corporate marketing at Lotame and is based out of Montreal, Canada.

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