Expedite the Buyer's Journey with this Smart Content Overview

“Smart Content” is a HubSpot feature that allows you to personalize your website’s content according to each visitor’s unique needs and characteristics. This function enables content displayed on your website within rich text, form, custom HTML, and Call-to-Action (CTA) modules to be altered depending on specific criteria that you set. The key to making this work is to strategically (and not creepily) use the information you already know about your website visitors and HubSpot contacts.

Doing this effectively can facilitate a more personalized user experience for your visitors that enables them to slide down the buyer's journey with less friction. In fact, HubSpot examined data for 93,000+ Calls-to-Action created using HubSpot over a period of twelve months and discovered that CTAs targeted to the user performed 42% better than those that were generic. Where you start simply depends on the information you have at your fingertips – and, of course, on your goals.

Here’s an overview of Smart Content to get your feet wet!

When to use Smart Content

A quick FYI – the Smart Content functionality is only available to HubSpot Professional or Enterprise users. Below are a few examples of when it's a great idea to use Smart Content to enhance website user experience:

  • If you want to control what contacts see based on what you already know, like their industry, buyer persona or lifecycle stage

  • If you want an easy way to provide your visitors with the next step in a particular lead nurturing campaign

  • If a large number of visitors who speak a different language come to your site

  • If you have anonymous website visitors! (and who doesn't?)

Your Targeting Options

The six general ways you can currently target visitors with Smart Content are by:

  • Country* (determined by IP address)

  • Device type* (mobile, tablet or desktop)

  • Referral source* (how they got to your website)

  • Preferred language* (the language set within their browser)

  • Contact list membership (this is where it can get interesting based on the contact info you’ve collected)

  • Lifecycle stage

* only available on HubSpot website and landing pages.

Start by determining if it makes sense to target your current contacts or anonymous website visitors. Your ultimate goal can also help you make this decision.

For instance, if your goal is to convert more website visitors from a specific referral source—such as a listing from an important industry directory—it's a good idea to serve up content to these visitors that addresses the source from which they came (a welcome message, for instace), as well as content that relates to the topics covered on that website.

If your goal is to nurture returning visitors and increase your number of sales qualified leads, incorporate Smart CTAs that automatically replace top-of-the-funnel offers they've already downloaded with Calls-to-Action that highlight a case study, webinar, assessment or another piece of content that dives deeper into the topic in which your visitor has already demonstrated an interest.

Targeting Current Contacts

If you’re looking to target current contacts, you’ll want to make sure that you have clean and thorough contact records to work with. The best way to get a complete overview of the status of your database is to export the data into an Excel file that shows all of your contacts and their complete set of HubSpot contact properties. This will show you what properties are best fit to use for targeting because they have been correctly filled out by your contacts, your team or HubSpot.

Note that blank contact properties will show your predetermined default value if you've set one (you can do this in Content Settings under Page Publishing).

Here’s a simple example. If you want to use the First Name property to personalize a “Welcome Back” message on your homepage for returning contacts, you’ll want to make sure that the names are input correctly in the database so that they can propagate correctly for the contact (ALLEN vs. allen vs. Allen). In this case, if the First Name contact property for Allen was blank, you could have it say something like “Welcome back, Valued Member”

After you’ve cleaned up the properties and uploaded the edits to HubSpot, you’ll want to create lists based on your desired targets. Perhaps you want to segment by industry, persona, or by people who showed interest in a certain product feature. Create that list in HubSpot so that it could be pulled for your Smart Content creation.

Targeting Anonymous Website Visitors

If you don’t have a lot of contact properties to work with or you’re more interested in providing anonymous new website visitors with a personalized website experience, you can work with the visitor’s...

  • Country* (determined by IP address)

  • Device type* (mobile, tablet or desktop)

  • Referral source* (how they got to your website)

  • Preferred language* (the language set within their browser)

All this information is automatically collected by HubSpot. You don’t even have to create a list when you start setting up your Smart Content settings because they are default options.

Your Smart Content Options

HubSpot Smart Content

After you’ve determined who you want to target, you can start the actual Smart Content creation! Use smart content on your web pages and landing pages and in your emails. It’s as easy as popping into the web page or email editor, locating the module you would like to personalize, and clicking the smart icon on the module. Follow this HubSpot User Guide to set up your rules.

Once you’ve set up your Smart Content, you’ll want to test it as if you were one of the website visitors. Here’s how to do that. Know that you’re not done when you hit Publish. Like any content, you’ll want to monitor it over time and optimize it accordingly.

Have more questions about HubSpot’s Smart Content feature? Visit the HubSpot Academy! Personalization can get messy. That’s why Hubpot provides a plethora of information on that topic alone. But don’t let that scare you! Remember to start small. Little by little you’ll be able to weave customized experiences for your visitors that will keep them coming back for more.

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Sheila Villalobos | Account Manager

About the Author

Sheila Villalobos, Account Manager

Sheila Villalobos is a PMG Account Manager and trend tracking extraordinaire. When she’s not being her naturally resourceful self and figuring out new ways to use old marketing tools, you can find her staying up to date on all things web design, ABM, contextual marketing and strategy (and writing blogs about them).