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Wednesday, Apr. 4, 2012 at 5:23 pm

Content Targeting Is Still No Match for Persuasion Architecture

By Mariel Bacci
April 4th, 2012

This is the first of a two part series that will help you to understand and implement a proven and cost effective alternative to content targeting.  The first post in this series will outline the pros and cons of content targeting, a useful alternative to setting up a content targeting program and how to start identifying the different persona’s that land on your site.  The second pot of the series will cover how to use those persona’s to help guide prospects into conversions with persuasion architecture.

What is Content Targeting and is it right for you?

There is a lot of buzz about how to tailor your site to specific types of visitors.  Content targeting is surfacing in Beta within the internet marketing arena. Many people are serving different landing pages to repeat customers who are looking for specific information.  For instance, if you are a mortgage lender and someone searches for a $400,000 mortgage rates on your site, if they return, you can serve them a landing page that promotes a special offer on a $400,00o mortgage.  Or maybe you gather your visitor has poor credit, next time they come to your site, you can serve a landing page that assures them they can get a mortgage even if their credit is sub par.  This type on content targeting seems great when you’re looking at it from a surface level perspective.  A few questions you should ask yourself before you consider investing in content targeting:

1. How many of your visitors are actually repeat customers or are conducting a follow up action that makes this worthwhile?

2. How will you collect and organize data so you know what content to serve next time your repeat visitor arrives or proceeds through a follow up action that you’ve identified?  What kind of assumptions will you be making about your visitors?

3.  How much money will it cost to set up an effective content targeting campaign? Costs to consider: Strategy, Designing, Coding, Testing, and Opportunity Cost.

4.  Is there a more effective way to spend your money at this point in your optimization process? Not everyone is going to benefit from content targeting and not every site is at the point that it’s ready for this type of optimization. In other words, most have got bigger fish to fry first.

How To Identify Persona’s

Here at Future Now, we advocate Persuasion architecture and using Persona’s over content targeting. We appreciate content targeting because it focuses on the customer’s buying process and speaks to the visitor based on a behavior they are demonstrating. The problem is that, it’s impossible to know the buying modes and idiosyncracies of all the different visitors to your site based on a single data point that demonstrates a behavior.  There are very few things you can assume by a visitors initial experience with you, and the problem becomes even greater when you are a company whose visitors usually only stop by once. With persuasion architecture, you can lead them all happily to a sale or lead by planning out the experience in advance. Persuasion Architecture helps you to combine the data that can tell you some important things about your visitor’s buying behavior, with other aspects of their buying behavior and personality types because it involves conducting research in advance to understand your segments of visitors at a much deeper level.

You can have two visitors coming from the same keyword, from the same zip code, both experiencing your site for the first time and those two people can have very different needs and intent when on your site.  With Persuasion Architecture, you can pre- plan the buying styles of your visitors and create rewarding experiences for them before they even land on your site. With content targeting, you’re limited by the data; so you can only know so much about your visitors and how to prepare for them.

We can intuitively understand that everyone is an individual and has a different personality. The following is an example of how this plays out online:

Let’s say you’re creating a web site promoting Cancun vacation resorts to professional women, 25-54, with household incomes of $100,000 and up, and families with an average of 2 children. The objective of their vacation is some relaxation time and the assurance that their family will stay comfortable and occupied.

With a demographic like the one we described, it should be easy to create a site for this specific set of women, right?

Wrong. They approach the buying process in very different ways. One type of visitor may be an extroverted go-getter. She loves challenges and makes decisions quickly. The other type is an introverted woman who doesn’t like to be rushed. She likes to do a lot of research and take her time when making a buying decision. Even though these women look exactly the same on paper, they will all be looking for something different on your website. Plus, different women have very different visions of what “relaxation” looks like.

So, lets take a look at 4 types of women who may end up landing on your Cancun resort website

1. Gillian – Gillian will plan her vacation 6 months in advance. She will research every resort available in the Caribbean on the whole of the internet. She will pay attention to every detail. She will research the resorts and their amenities but  will pay special attention to price while shopping. She wants to take this vacation opportunity to relax, and she will book well in advance.

2. Miriam – Miriam wants to go on a cruise with nice people. She’s looking for a vacation where they offer the opportunity to swim with dolphins because she knows that will excite her children.  She will ask her friends for recommendations on Cancun Resorts.  Miriam will be slow to make a decision. She will browse the site and look for a resort that makes her excited to get to Cancun.

3. Agnes – Agnes wants the most luxurious room she can afford. She wants to stay in a resort with a reputation for outstanding service. She wants to be able to do what the locals do in Cancun so she can think of her trip as an exotic adventure and learn something from the experience. She would also like a resort that includes a fitness center so she can come home looking good and feeling refreshed.

4. Patty – Patty will decide where she wants to go at the last minute. She’ll check out the amenities each resort offers, the more the better. Patty is looking for fun. She likes the personal touch, like chocolates on her pillow or a family picture taken outside the resort framed as a gift left in her room. Price is not a factor for her.

These women all look the same on paper, but they approach the buying process in very different ways and are looking for very different things. To accommodate them, you need to combine demographics, psychographics, and topographical information. You need to understand how your customers approach their buying decision. Most importantly, you need to speak to ALL of them on your website.  It is a lot easier and more cost effective to welcome all of these women into their buying process than to try and predict which of them is landing on your site to give them a specific experience.

To see how these 4 women can be convinced to convert on your website, stay tuned for the second post in this series, Persuasion Architecture in Action.  You will be able to use some of the ideas to implement conversion strategies on your own website.

Do you have any experience with content marketing?  What about persona’s?  We would love to learn what has worked well for you in the past and what you would never try again.  We have experience increasing conversions using both content targeting and persuasion architecture, so if you need help implementing eiterh on your site, you can reach out to us!

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Comments (44)

  1. Predicting visitors to our site is difficult enough, especially for me. Sometime I get visitors from a segment or location I never predict it before…. I do wait for your second post.

  2. I must say you make it sound pretty profound. This is heavy stuff :) I like to use the AIDA approach. I like to use the AIDA formula. For a successful engagement, it must
    create Awareness, create Interest, create Desire, and promote Action.

  3. The AIDA formula makes alot of sense Henry, I agree.

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  5. I have learned about the Aida approach in Marketing school (its actually called Small Business & Retail Managament) and i loved it.

  6. Perhaps multiple landing pages that focus on each predictable type of buyer…then you get the benefit of Google seeing you as having more content and hopefully ranking you higher too.

  7. Even for something as straightforward as beauty, it’s hard to figure out exactly how to write content that’ll engage everyone at around equal footing. Some women want makeup tips, others have acne issues – it’s tough, even in a niche. Looking forward to part 2 of this post. :)

  8. Content targeting is a good approach but predicting the location where your visitors come from can be difficult at times. Sometimes, most of my prediction fail me because of huge visitors i get from some places i didn’t dream of. Thank for the post

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  11. The information sounds pretty well. So I can say that every site for any business rely on content of the website. Because this is the only medium to reach to a larger people. Your idea persuasion architecture quite helpful and informative.

  12. yes i agree with all perosn i also like AIDA formula

  13. i agree, the AIDA formula suits it all

  14. Some sample keywords or marketing strategies to appeal to your demographic?

    - Cancun vacation resorts
    - professional women, 25-54
    - household incomes of $100,000 and up
    - families with an average of 2 children

    Suggestions appreciated. I can see Cancun vacation resorts as an optimal key phrase. How do we narrow it down to women with familes, making a certain salary?

    Tough gig.

  15. Two of your four questions focus on money spent: “How much money will it cost…?” and “Is there a more effective way to spend your money…?”

    No offense intended, but this is one of the most common marketing mistakes made by businesses large and small.

    The focus should not be on money spent, but on properly-directed effort and optimal results. (Yes, it really is this simple.)

  16. Need more people just like AIDA formula

  17. @Joel
    No offense taken! We agree with 100%. We just want to make sure people are putting their resources (money or otherwise) into efforts that will get them great returns!

  18. [...] RetailDer Halo-Effekt: Der erste Eindruck zählt!Multi-Channel E-Commerce – nicht reden, machen!Content Targeting Is Still No Match for Persuasion…Remarketing – Conversion Rate im Online-Shop steigernHier finden Sie auch alle früheren Lesetipps [...]

  19. This is significant stuff i favor to use the AIDA approach. the knowledge sounds as good as. thus I will say that each website for any business deem content of the web site. as a result of this is often the sole medium to succeed in to a bigger individuals. Your plan persuasion design quite useful and informative.

  20. Agree with you mate..like AIDA formula

  21. Very interesting post. Especially breaking down the different personality traits of each prospect, as they approach the purchase in different ways. Thanks for sharing!

  22. This is very in-depth analysis. I can see this working and translating to very good results for big companies or business selling high-end products with fat margins. Content targeting is similar to targeted marketing, and gives very good conversion, and couple with persuasion architecture, its perfect.

  23. AIDA formula sounds pretty interesting and supporting….:-)

  24. i think Content targeting is really a nice way to get traffic.i love this AIDA approach.

  25. Hey Henry, i was about to say that but you beat me to it!))

  26. Your idea persuasion architecture quite helpful and informative.

  27. Gathering the information of your visitors is the difficult part here plus I don’t think a website will have only one type of visitors and that would mean providing different landing pages! I can’t but agree with you that it’s not really a good idea if you look at it in toto.

  28. What do you think about following this idea for local businesses?

  29. @Sara
    Persuasion architecture works for small and large business alike and in both on and offline settings. It is based on the theory that people communicate with the world in different ways, IE gather information, feel confident, etc. Essentially you are taking care to speak effectively to all the personality types that visit your site. This is very applicable to your local business.

  30. such a great formula

  31. That is so true that persuasion architecture is very important. I agree a hundred percent.

  32. Thanks for the great article! Persuasion architecture uses a very helpful formula.

  33. Thanks for explaining content targeting and persuasion architecture. They’re technical terms I’m not familiar with, so I’m going to have to explore how they can apply to marketing my business pages.

  34. i am just familiar with content targeting , but new to Persuasion Architecture, thx for your sharing

  35. As I said to my clients about creating an blog or a website: Words are stronger than the graphic design. Thx for the share!

  36. Layout and Design are just the requirements but content can convince people to stay (and buy).

  37. I always Used AIDA Formula Nothing Is better than it

  38. Content is always an King. To be the best your content should be of quality and attract visitors. It’s just a waste of time to copy and paste content from other sites. Great Post Though Mariel.

  39. Still lot work to do for my website then.

    Thought keyword research was enough but this article opened my mind on how to really get potential visitors.

    Thanks a lot in advance . . .

  40. Thanks for sharing such a good formula.

  41. @earn money

    We could not agree with you more! Valuable content is key to having a site worth viewing and spending time with. We would argue that presenting valuable content in ways that multiple personality types will process is more effective than delivering it to one personality type based on who you predict will land on your site. Keep up the good content!

  42. Persuasion may backfire. Suggesting things that a customer doesn’t want in the first place may turn off the customer. To succeed, it must be done properly I reckon.

  43. AIDA is great!

  44. [...] View the original article here [...]

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Mariel is a GA certified analyst at FutureNow, Inc.

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