Inbound Marketing Blog

8 November, 2016

How Smart Content Can Personalise Your Customer Journeys

Written by Josh Mason

on 8 November, 2016

Marketing isn’t always that clever.

How often do you immediately close pop ups before you’ve even read what they’ve got to say? How many times do you receive an email that has nothing to do with your interests whatsoever?

This is because more often than not you’re being served up the same content as everyone else.

But you’re not the same as everyone else.

If you’re a loyal customer of a brand for the past 10 years then you don’t need to be pitched with marketing offers when you land on their home page. Whereas If a new visitor landed on their site for the first time it might be more appropriate.

The point is that effective marketing is about appreciating everyone’s unique customer journeys and trying to make their entire experience as personalised as possible. One of the most effective ways to do this is through the use of smart content.

So throughout this article I’m going to take a look at what exactly smart content is and how you can be using it to your advantage.

What is smart content?

Smart content is basically a way of personalising a customer’s journey to enhance their user experience.

It lets you target content specifically at customers based upon what you know about them. So it’s a continuous progression, the more you find out about your customers, the more you can personalise their journey.

The more relevant and timely your content is to your personas, the more engaged they’re going to be, it’s a no brainer.

You want them to feel like you’re talking directly to them, rather than just shouting out to everyone and marketing by the laws of probability.

What’s so smart about it?

The beauty of smart content is that it allows you to display different content to your customers based upon different criteria such as:

  • Preferred language
  • Referral source
  • Device type
  • Country
  • Contact list membership
  • Lifecycle stage

So a perfect example of when smart content would be extremely effective is by recognising the IP of a website visitor and showing them the page in German as opposed to english. This is obviously going to have a huge impact on their user experience and is especially helpful when you’re aware of the different customer bases you have in various countries.

You may even just want to use smart content so that any US visitors will see the american english spelling of words where the letter ‘s’ is replaced with a ‘z’. This may seem very minor but often it’s this careful attention to detail that can really help to improve user experience.

Another good example is if you know that a contact is from a certain industry, you can use smart content to display an industry specific piece of content to them.

Imagine if it worked like that in restaurants. Instead of everyone getting the same menu you received a tailored menu based on all of your previous eating and drinking choices in the past. You’d be pretty blown away right?

Well it’s the same with your website, you want them to feel like they are in the right place and they are making the right decision by buying from you.

Using smart content to change what content is displayed based upon what device the user is on is also really important. I’m sure you’ve had it before where a form that would usually just open up on a web page normally takes over your entire phone screen and you end up closing the whole window out of frustration.

So you can see that some smart content is used specifically for lead nurturing, whereas it can also be improved to simply improve the user experience. Whichever way you look at it it works most effectively when you place yourself in your personas shoes and imagine that they were navigating through your website. How can you make that journey as personal for each of them as possible?  

Final Thoughts

While smart content may sound like it can do nothing but good, there a few points to consider before you start adding personalisation tokens throughout your site.

Don’t get carried away.

It is possible to over personalise an experience for your customers to the point where it either creeps them out and they go running for the hills or your website just doesn’t feel or behave like a normal website. What I mean by this is that smart content is dependant on cookies, that’s how it knows what to show to how.


If someone signs in on a friends computer and logs on to your website, you don’t want them to see a completely unrecognizable website from the one they’ve spent the past few months using.

So be smart but don’t try and be too smart. No one likes a show off.

Topics: Personalisation Customer Experience Customer Journeys Smart Content