Changing Technologies

Why you should be using personalisation as a PR professional

They say someone's name, to them, is the sweetest word in the English language. Unsurprisingly then, companies have caught on and are using personalisation to tailor their communication for every lead and customer. Here's how they do it in PR.

If you use Netflix, Facebook or a service like Airbnb, you’ve been exposed to personalisation. Personalisation as a marketing tactic goes way back. Remember the first time you got an email with your first name in the greeting? Nothing new about that.

What’s new in today’s context is that companies are using personalisation to tailor their communication for every lead and customer and the best part is, you don’t need to be a large tech company to do this anymore. In a time when authenticity and relevance reign supreme, this should come as welcome news for most companies.

Let’s look into what personalisation can do for you as a PR professional and how you can achieve personalisation at scale. 

Providing a relevant message for everyone 

Until recently, personalisation was mainly used for preferences, product suggestions, and dynamic pricing. New software providers have emerged that make all of these things more affordable and also allow you to implement contextualisation at scale. With contextualisation, it’s not about what you say, but how you package that message. Think of the choice of words, images, examples and social proof, and tweaking them to appeal to the informational background of each unique visitor. This can go as far as showing different versions of the page to people based on their job title, their mood or even the weather. Vendors that specialise in this include Evergage, Nosto and my own startup, Unless. How does it work in practice? Let’s review 4 use cases for PR professionals. 

Personalisation and earned media: deepening trust 

Bloggers and influencers have changed the PR landscape. Are you already collaborating with these influencers to promote your brand or company? Piggyback on the trust they’ve built with their followers by mirroring their message and repeating their endorsement on your site. You can use referral parameters to personalise your landing pages or follow up pages with the influencer’s name, picture, and testimonial. If you collaborate with many small partners and find it cumbersome to create page variations for each, you can use dynamic content insertion to customise bits of text on your landing page for referral tracking. 

This type of influencer-based personalisation is great to get started, but there’s more in store. Personalisation can be even more powerful when you have additional information on the people visiting your site. 

Personalisation and owned media: gathering data to understand your audience 

Do you feel like you don’t know enough about your visitors to personalise your website? You’re not alone. About 55% of marketing professionals think that they don’t have enough data to do personalisation effectively. There are two ways to solve this problem. Wait until you have enough signals of intent, or simply ask your visitors who they are and what they need. Here’s where self-segmentation comes in handy. 

Self-segmentation, like it’s name implies, is asking your visitors which audience segment fits them best. You can do this by running a short or single-question survey on your site. Once you’ve collected their data, you can use personalisation software to dynamically adjust your website to better fit their needs. Companies like Third Love and Stitch Fix use this approach to help customers discover the right products. Similarly, app companies like ClassTag leverage self-segmentation to identify visitor types and personalise their sign up pages, reaching conversion increases of up to 150%. As a communications or PR professional, you can use the same tactic to learn more about your audience and drive better content discovery. 

Personalisation and events: driving social proof 

Are events an important part of your strategy? Everyone knows that preparing a great event is only half the battle. Getting people to sign up and attend is the other half. If you have an all-star speaker line up, you can use personalisation to maximise their impact and drive social proof. Much like the influencer example above, you can generate speaker-specific links (for example: with customised images and messaging and give the personalized link to the speaker who will then share it with his/her network. If speakers are promoting your event on their site, you can use referral tracking to personalise your event’s landing page. Show them as social proof on your event page, feature the speaker near the header and at the top of your event program - you know the drill. 

Let’s look at another use case that’s very close to home. 

Personalisation and press relations: pages that speak to each journalist 

Typically, when emailing press releases, you pitch your news from different angles. Tech publications may be more interested in your product’s features or your investment partners, for instance. More general publications may want to hear from your management team and customers instead. Your press release and the information in your press kit should be aligned with your email pitch. You can go as far as personalising your product landing page and press kit for each journalist. Using data stored in your CRM and coupling that with dynamic content, you can do this type of 1:1 personalisation at scale. 

Wrapping up: personalisation can help you step up your game 

1:1 marketing is not new, but we’re seeing some really exciting applications across industries. There’s no reason PR professionals shouldn’t start enjoying its benefits. Ask yourself: could your communications be more effective and personal? Are you keen on following a more data-driven approach to PR? Then it’s a great time to start exploring what this technology can do for you.

Sander Nagtegaal Co-founder and CEO, Unless