So you have a brand new website and it’s running on a super-fancy CMS/DMS that allows you to turn your content into a user profiling powerhouse. All you need to do is turn the switch “on” and watch visitors to your website fall into neat, profiled buckets…right?
Your content needs some serious attention before any user profiling starts to happen. Artificial Intelligence has not yet been incorporated into CMS, so you — the content owner — must provide that intelligence. That’s how you can profile your content effectively.
What does “content profiling” even mean?
It’s you describing to your CMS what your content should accomplish. Your CMS doesn’t know that a paragraph of cross-sell information is supposed to help you sell a bolt when somebody buys a crossbow. You have to tell it that.
Content profiling (within a CMS) allows you to overtly state content connections that a CMS will pay attention to. Additionally, you can even specify what happens once the CMS finds a user browsing content in a specific pattern (e.g., adding a crossbow to their online shopping cart). Starting to make sense?
I’ve outlined 5 simple tips below to help you kick off your content profiling efforts. Let’s get started!
TIP 1: Profile ALL content, all the time!
This is extremely important. Your CMS/DMS doesn’t inherently know what you consider important and what you consider filler. So make a rule that your content editors have to profile all existing pieces of content and all new pieces of content being developed. No exceptions. No excuses. You’ll thank me later.
TIP 2: Think of profiles as descriptors.
Most of your website users can probably be described within a finite set of attributes and adjectives. For websites involved in selling products or services, the following set of attributes will usually make good sense:
- Market Categories
- If your website caters to multiple markets (let’s stick with the crossbow example, so: Hunters, Sportsmen, History Buffs), make sure that your markets profile includes those dimensions: Hunters, Sportsmen, History Buffs.
- When your content editors start profiling content, they can say that a certain crossbow is 80% likely to be used by a Hunter, 20% likely to be used by a Sportsman, and 0% likely to be used by a History Buff (‘Cause it’s carbon fiber!).
- Product Categories
- This is where you get to decide whether users are broadly interested in one category of products versus another. In the case of the website that sells crossbows, they may also sell normal bows, arrows, camping equipment, kayaks, guns, and ammo. Make sure you tag product pages AND product category pages with the appropriate product category.
- Service Categories
- Service categories work like product categories. If your website makes a point to offer and differentiate between a number of service categories, make the corresponding profiles and use them.
- User Personas
- This part gets a little tricky. It requires getting in your customer’s head and rummaging around to see what might motivate them.
- For example, if a customer looks and compares 12 crossbows against each other, they may be tagged as “Analytical.” If a customer puts a crossbow into their cart after looking at it for one minute, they may be considered “Impulsive.” If they look at safety and return information they may be considered a “Responsible Parent.” So, based on their browsing behavior and the content they see on your website, a user may be classified as 20% Analytical, 80% Impulsive, and 100% Responsible Parent.
- Some user personas will be exclusive (Analytical vs. Impulsive), while others will just add a dimension to the persona (Responsible Parent).
- Buying Cycle
- This is another interesting attribute. If a user is consistently moving between high level sections of your website (e.g., from crossbows to bows and back), they may be tagged as being in the “Browsing” stage. If a user is moving between individual items within a product or service category, they can be tagged as being in the “Evaluating” stage. When they start looking at reviews and comments about a certain product, they can be moved to the “Deciding” stage.
- All of these descriptors can be content profiles that content editors attach to specific pieces of content to inform on what a user might be thinking. A user may progress from “Browsing” to “Evaluating” to “Deciding” within the same session, or they could take days or weeks to move from one stage to the next.
TIP 3: Think of users as collecting cards.
When users move through your site (assuming your content is fully profiled — see Tip 1), they’ll start acquiring a complex profile that keeps growing and updating across Market Categories, Product Categories, Service Categories, User Personas, and Buying Cycles. Your website starts to build a nuanced understanding of each user based on their behavior pattern. As time goes on and users come back to your site, these behavior patterns become better defined.
For example, let’s imagine a user came to your site seven times and this is how it broke down:
- Visit 1-3: They looked broadly at your product offerings.
- Visit 4: They looked at crossbows and bows.
- Visit 5: They looked at crossbows and bows again.
- Visit 6: They looked at 4 specific crossbows (2 were tagged as “Hunters” and 2 as “Sportsmen”).
- Visit 7: They looked at 9 more crossbows (8 were tagged as “Hunters” and 1 as “Sportsmen”).
If your content is properly tagged, your website will develop a profile of a hunter who is interested in crossbows, that’s currently in the evaluating stage of the buying cycle. And if your website is properly designed and configured, it could even offer this user a 15% discount on hunting crossbows if the user makes their purchase within the next 24 hours. See the potential?
TIP 4: Look Ma, no hands!
A modern CMS/DMS allows you to set up complex actions that execute once a user has been profiled a certain way. In our previous example, we have a crossbow hunter evaluating products, so the website can automatically offer them a 15% discount right on the crossbow page they are currently viewing. If the user doesn’t buy the crossbow, it can instead initiate a different action that puts their most viewed crossbow with a 20% discount in their Facebook feed (as an ad).
All without you having to lift a finger.
This type of website power requires you to spend time planning and configuring functionality but in return, it provides a relentless barrage of well-qualified leads that are continuously evaluated in order to become real.
TIP 5: Monitor, report and improve.
So your content is profiled, evaluation rules are set, automated actions are specified, and content personalization is a go. What now?
It’s finally time to step back and learn from your efforts to fine-tune the engine you’ve built. As you monitor website users moving through the profiling process, you’ll see that some of them—maybe a lot of them—don’t fall neatly into the categories and rules you’ve set out. That’s OK. This just means you don’t know everything you thought you did about your users.
As you analyze where users get stuck in your “engine,” go back to the first four tips for easily identifiable subsets of users. You’ll eventually end up with a set of well-defined user segments that you can use for ongoing marketing efforts.
Need help getting started? We can help.
Need more detailed information? Contact one of our content specialists.
Need a real-life case study? This is how we did content profiling for a large chemical company.