Creating Conditional Content with Your CRM
In this month’s Marketing Automation Report, Chris will discuss conditional content and give you an idea of what that looks like relative to your CRM. Conditional content is not necessarily new technology, but it has never really evolved enough to make itself available for everyone to potentially implement in their marketing strategy with ease.
Just recently marketers have started to explore the possibilities and use software that offers a personalized experience for customers and beyond. For this report, Chris will highlight the platforms that allow you to create a customized experience directly from your CRM along with their possibilities and limitations.
Before we move on, if you haven’t already, listen to the All Systems Go! Podcast episode 52 to get more insight on the importance of conditional content.
This was a pleasant surprise to see Infusionsoft add conditional content (though I’m a bit late to the party). It’s important to note, on their platform they refer to it as dynamic content. This creates a disjointed experience where you have to create the conditional content outside of where you are placing it. This results in a less than desired user experience.
One thing I did like about Infusionsoft is that they have incorporated a dynamic content generator. This generator gives a bit of simplicity to the creation process that’s already a bit technical. It also offers fallback values in the event you’re using a custom field that doesn’t have any value stored in it. However, it does not offer any way to format your content or add HTML (only plain text, unless I’m overlooking something). This dynamic content is also limited to their landing pages and emails text only. So you won’t be able to make entire content blocks conditional.
Overall, it leaves a lot to be desired but is a welcomed addition. The options are there but they are not necessarily easy to use, especially for the non-tech savvy, and it lacks a lot of preferred features.
This is another area Ontraport disappoints me. Mainly because they continue to overlook and exclude industry standard features. If email marketing platforms like Mailchimp can include conditional content in their email, there is no excuse for this option to still be lacking in emails or Ontramails.
The content that they do allow you to make conditional is limited to their landing pages. A downfall about the way they set this up is that it has to be applied to an entire block on the page.
While this does check the box of being able to display content based on data you have collected (or device type), it lacks any visual indicator that the block has been made conditional. Though this may seem small it is extremely helpful when you start duplicating multiple blocks to personalize your landing page for various audiences. Because of their half setup they really require you to manually think through and apply the OR function yourself, which of course leaves room for error.
One thing I will give Ontraport credit for, however, is something I did not see any other CRM offer. That is conditional thank you page routing. When creating a form you can decide which thank you page a user is routed to based on the information they submit. This means based on information that you capture you can send them to a unique thank you page that is more specific to them than a general thank you.
Finally at least one area where Ontraport is leading the space in!
ActiveCampaign offers the most comprehensive experience thus far. From your emails to your website, they offer the most flexibility around personalization by way of conditional content(mainly due to their latest launch of website personalization).
For emails, you can make entire content blocks conditional with tags and custom fields, allowing you to create customized emails easily. In addition you can use merge fields (or personalization tags) to display personalized text within the body of the email from data captured in custom fields.
Where ActiveCampaign really starts to set itself apart from the rest is with the multiple options of where you can place conditional content. You can do this through not only email but also through their landing pages and your own website.
The website function allows you to personalize your entire page, based off tags only, and in turn displays a completely custom web page for that specific visitor. The interface is clean and easy to use, but doesn’t come without its shortcomings. For one, once you set a condition for your “Experience” there is no way to change it (or even refer back to it without exiting the builder). Another is it is only tag based. Unlike conditional content in email, you cannot only use tags and not custom field data as well.
Overall, ActiveCampaign is leading all other CRMs mentioned above with personalization options. It’s far from perfect, but is the most comprehensive offering. Hopefully we will see this feature become available to the Plus plans (as of now it is limited to Professional and Enterprise plans).
Hubspot’s dynamic content is a bit different as it is all based in their own ecosystem. They are the only marketing platform that has their own CMS (Content Management System). This allows them to provide personalization across all the web assets they provide to you for marketing and sales.
You can customize your emails, webpages, landing pages and templates since they are all Hubspot assets. Similar to ActiveCampaign, they allow you to make any block conditional as well as the content within those blocks.
One of the most limiting factors is that their personalization cannot span beyond their assets. Since there is no way to make content outside of their CMS conditional you are not able to create a personalized experience on a WordPress website.
Hubspot offers a nice personalized experience within their ecosystem but fails outside of it. If you’re all in with Hubspot, you’re in luck. If not, I’d recommend looking elsewhere if you’d like to truly personalize your marketing.
I’m excited for all of the implications of personalization through your CRM. I speak frequently about segmentation being the secret to automation. However, first you have to create personalization because that is what enhances your segmentation to the point of catapulting your success.
How are you currently creating a personalized experience beyond email? Share in the comments below.