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Video: Why Is Segmentation Important With Smart Content? (3:47)

Learn about segmentation and how it applies to smart content.

Hi there. I’m Angela with HubSpot Academy. This class is going to teach you all about planning content for different segmentations of users. Segmentation is going to help you better personalize your content and in the end, better targeting results and better conversion rates.

Showing the most relevant information to your users creates a great experience for them. Segmentation is what makes contextual marketing possible.

HubSpot evaluated over 93,000 calls-to-action from HubSpot users and found that CTAs targeted to the user had a 42% higher view-to-submission rate than if the CTA was generic and the same for all visitors. 

You’ll be able to target specific groups of users through smart tools in HubSpot. Segmentation is going to be happening in real-time when a user is on your website.

If you segment by country, device type, referral source or preferred language, you will not need to set those segments up.

There are two segments that you will need to set up beforehand, however. You’ll need to set up your lifecycle stages and lists of contacts in HubSpot, if you wish to use contextual marketing to reach those groups with personalized content.

So before you try to use the lifecycle stage segment or the list membership segment, make sure that you have your lifecycle stages and lists set up properly. 

It’s important to keep in mind that you’ll only use one segment at a time. If you wanted to create a form that’s specific to leads from Japan, coming from Facebook, and on a mobile device, that’s too specific.

To get the most out of your contextual marketing efforts, your segmentation needs to be broad enough for you to engage a group of people. Keep in mind that you’re targeting a group of users, not individuals.

Segmentation is the key to creating contextual marketing. Setting up segmentation is what will trigger smart content to display different content to different people.

Segmenting your audience should be very familiar to you, since you’ve segmented your contacts in order to have lists for workflows and emails. When it comes to your smart content however, you want to make sure you have the right segments set up.

This class is designed to show you some of the segmentation possibilities. Let’s go ahead and learn about different ways to segment your users in order to show them targeted and personalized content.


Quiz: What Is Smart Content?

Test your knowledge and quiz yourself on what you just learned.

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Video: How Do You Create Content for a Specific Segment? (15:40)

Learn segmentation best practices for your smart content to create successful contextual marketing.

When creating smart content, you have the ability to segment a list of contacts and provide them with content that is different from the average visitor.

This means any time a member of that list visits, you can provide content that is specifically tailored to them. Don’t forget that you can be most efficient with your contextual marketing efforts by targeting the largest group of similar users as possible. Let’s take a look at a couple of contact lists that you may want to target.              

One contact list that you may want to create specialized content for, is one of your buyer personas. Now, you’ve probably defined buyer personas for your business already and conducted some good research on the various qualities that those personas have.

Since most companies serve a number of different buyer personas, pick one or two personas to focus on. Create a customized experience for your highest-value personas at first and you can expand to other personas later on.

In order to target your personas, you’ll need two things.

First, you need to have the list set up. The buyer persona smart list is set up for you after you create your personas in HubSpot. Not much to do there. However, you’ll need to decide which list - Customers, Leads, MQLs, or All Contacts of that persona. 

Second, you’ll need to make sure that you have assigned contacts to that particular persona! If your persona smart list is empty, then you won’t be targeting that persona and you won’t show those personas that unique content.

Another contact list that you may want to segment and target in order to provide unique content is a smart list based on the user’s activity.

For this type of segmenting, examine the past online behavior of your users to dictate how to build these smart list segments. Maybe one group of users have watched your product video and another is for any users that have downloaded an ebook and yet another group that requested a live demo.

You might have noticed that those smart list examples are closely tied to the buyer’s journey -- the user’s activity and content needs infers what buyer stage the user is in.

The beauty, and difficulty, in this segmentation based on user activity is that there’s really no limit to how you can approach it building those smart lists. Don’t forget that there are a number of other ways to target different users. You aren’t limited to using lists of contacts. Let’s keep learning about other segmentation types.

Next, you can create smart content for lifecycle stage segments.

Lifecycle stages allow you to categorize your users by how far along in their decision-making process they are. Is this a user’s first visit? Are they talking to your sales team? Have they been a customer for a while?  

This type of segmenting is most likely already in your contacts tool, and you’ve probably been using it for your emails already. In HubSpot, the lifecycle segments are:

Subscriber (that is, to your blog), Lead, Marketing Qualified Lead, Sales Qualified Lead, Opportunity, Customer, Evangelist. Use the resources on the page if you aren’t sure how to set up lifecycle stages, or if you need a quick review on HubSpot’s lifecycle definitions.

Otherwise, consider what kind of content you’d want to show customer compared to a first-time visitor. How about content for a lead compared to a customer? Targeting users based on their lifecycle stage is one of the simplest ways to segment your contacts and provide customized content. Stay tuned for more options.

On website pages and landing pages hosted in HubSpot, you can target a user based on their country.

This is suitable not only for your customers and leads, but also first-time visitors. This can be especially useful if you want to provide content that is specific to a country.

For example, if you are a European-based company and conduct a lot of business with users in the US, you can use the country context to show US users the right currency on your pricing page.

Or, let’s say your company has a booth at a tradeshow in Canada next month. Show all of your Canadian visitors a CTA on the homepage so they can get all the details about the tradeshow and where to find your booth.  

As another example, let’s say that this travel company gets a lot of leads from Ireland. On their contact us page, they want to make sure that their Irish visitors are able to get in touch with the right person in the sales department. Rather than talking to Ted in the US, all Ireland-based users would see Emily’s information so they could get in touch with her directly.

How is this possible? Well, a visitor’s location is determined by their IP address. While no IP lookup is perfect, three data sources are evaluated to improve the data quality. When the three data sources cannot agree on accurate location data, HubSpot will default to not show the smart rule rather than using inaccurate data to power the context.

On a related note, it’s important to remember that search engines are only looking at the default content. With those two caveats in mind, you won’t want to change the entire language of your website based on IP address.

Instead, you’ll find specific high-traffic areas across your website and landing pages that can benefit from country-specific content.

For some businesses, understanding a user’s country may not provide that much context and in turn, those companies may choose to segment their visitors in different ways. You’ll determine the best segmentation mix for your contextual marketing.

The next segmentation option is based on the type of device that the user is browsing on. This segment type allows you to display variations of your landing page or website page content that’s optimized for mobile, tablet or desktop device.

For instance, you can add useful instructions like "Turn your tablet horizontal to see this better”. Or you can change the copy entirely. If you are a parking ticket company, you may want to give mobile users a direct link to pay their tickets, since they're likely looking at your website, standing next to their car with a new ticket.

You can also use the device type segment to provide a better experience for your users. Mobile users focus their browsing energy in short bursts and typically don’t commit extended periods of time to reading on this device type.

Therefore, shorter-form, simplified content is vital to driving engagement with your mobile users. There’s a chance that a mobile user is splitting their focus with walking, riding, eating a meal and hopefully not driving, all while they are looking at your content.

Consider the user’s intentions and think through why a person is accessing your content on their mobile, rather than a computer.

To guide you in creating shorter-form content for this group, ask yourself “What kinds of time-restraints might a mobile user have? What are their surroundings and distractions like? What questions are they trying to answer? And am I able to address those questions in the user’s time-frame?”

By asking yourself those questions, you’ll be able to recognize the particular needs of this segmented group. A good way to start to tailor your content based on the context of the user’s device type, is to evaluate the form length on your landing pages.

You can ask different questions to your mobile users or even omit some questions so the mobile user doesn’t have tons for form fields to fill out. Again, one landing page, but different content based on the user’s context.

Lastly, for your web designer or if you know a little HTML, know that you can use the device type segment to display HTML content based on device type.

Let’s say you want to show desktop users a live chat option that you’ve integrated on your website and encourage mobile users to call you instead. Or if you want to display a map to your office location and directions only to mobile users on your contact us page, this is the segment to use. There are many possibilities with HTML content, but don’t feel like you have to use custom HTML and the device type segment.

Put the user’s needs and context first to help you determine what to display based on their device type.

Another way to use context to present the right content to your users is by referral source. You can use the referral source context on website pages and landing pages hosted in HubSpot.

Referral sources refers to the way in which a user reached your website. The segmentation options by referral source are: by organic source, referrals, social media, email marketing, paid search, direct traffic, or by other campaigns. Let’s break these down.

First, by organic search. You can segment visitors that have found your website through a search engine result based on a keyword that you’ve used on your website.

As an example, a marketing agency has been monitoring their long tail keywords and generates a significant amount of traffic based on the keyword “copywriting services for small businesses.” What the company would like to do is shorten the amount of time that visitors have to look around and find their copywriting services.

And so, for visitors that search for “copywriting services for small businesses” the company can show content on their homepage or landing pages that aligns with this visitor. This can be a powerful way to segment your traffic. If you know what keyword the visitor searches for, show them content that aligns with what they need!

Next, you can segment based on a referral link, which is another website. You’ll be able to show content to website visitors that arrive from any other website or you can indicate a specific website.

This is a great way to align your content with what the user was browsing before they got to your website. For example, if a marketing company wrote a guest blog post on another company’s site, then they can use the referral source to show visitors from that website exclusive content and even a special promotion if they wanted.

Another way to use the context of referral source is by social media. You can target all users that arrive from social or from a specific social network such as: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+. You can show exclusive content or a shorter form of the content.

Considering that the user was previously on a social media network which generally has shorter form content, you can use this segmentation to provide a good experience to the user that is concise and more aligned with the content they were browsing on social media.

You can also segment users based on an email marketing referral source. For visitors that arrive on a certain website page or landing page from a link in an email, you can provide content that is tailored to them.

To continue the example, a marketing company that has sent an email to their leads about SEO copywriting can tailor a landing page to these leads.

Rather than building a separate landing page, the company can use smart content to make the landing page content reference the email, which only the leads from the email see.

Next, you can segment the paid search referral source specific to a campaign you’ve created.

Through this segmentation option, you’ll be able to display content that aligns with the larger marketing campaign that you’ve created and ensure that these users are seeing the messaging that is consistent with your paid search campaign.

This is yet another outstanding option to segment visitors based on what they are looking for and what they need.

You also have the option to create context for the user that has a direct source. There’s one thing that all direct traffic has in common: they proactively seek you out! These visitors have either typed in a URL directly or visited from a bookmark.

They might be existing customers or new users through word-of-mouth. At the very least, users that reach your website directly are familiar with your brand.

These users need a solution and your company came to mind. You can use the direct source segmentation to provide offers that will help the user move through their buyer’s journey.

And lastly, you can segment based based on the other campaigns referral source. Other campaigns is a good option for campaigns that have a tracking URL set up.

If you have a marketing campaign that needed a tracking URL to be set in HubSpot, then you may want to continue targeting this group of visitors as they navigate your website.

Those are all of the segmentation options by referral source:  organic source, referrals, social media, email marketing, paid search, direct traffic, or other campaigns. Referral source is yet another option for segmenting and targeting your users. 

And last but not least, you can display specific content on your HubSpot-hosted website pages and landing pages to users based on their preferred language. The language of the user’s choice is set in their browser.

This segmentation option can be very powerful if you conduct a lot of business with people that speak different languages.

As an example, a company based in Switzerland may use the user’s preferred language and display different content in German, French, Italian or Romansh.

Now, you’ll need to do research on your customers and consider how much international business you’re planning on in the future. Companies that need a multilingual website will want to build that out in a different way.

Don’t forget that search engines only look at default content, so search engines will not see the smart content that’s in another language in this case. So a company based in Montreal may have the need to create a website in French and an English version as well.

In order to take advantage of the context by preferred language, it’s recommended to use it to display messaging and a CTA that prominently directs a user to the website version that you’ve created in their language.

You can also use the context of preferred language to direct traffic to specific landing pages that you have created in the user’s preferred language.

By providing content in a user’s preferred language, you’re creating a better website experience for them and making it easier for them to navigate to the information they are seeking.

Now you’ve learned all of the different ways that you can use context to segment your website users. You can segment and present different content to users based on the user’s: list membership, lifecycle stage, country, device type, referral source, or preferred language.

Across your website, you’ll use a mixture of all of these segmentations. Experiment with each of these segmentation types in order to target users based on their preferences and needs.

User Guide

Quick Answer: How Does HubSpot Categorize Visits, Contacts, and Customers in the Sources Report?

Learn how visits, contacts, and customers are categorized in the sources report so you can get the most out of segmenting by referral source with smart content.


Quiz: How Do You Create Content for a Specific Segment?

Test your knowledge and quiz yourself on what you just learned.

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Video: How Do You Create a Smart CTA? (3:14)

Watch how to target a segment with a smart CTA, and learn how to build a smart CTA in HubSpot.

First, let’s make a smart CTA. Navigate to the CTA tool, and click the dropdown arrow in order to create a smart CTA on the right. You’ll find all of the standard contextual marketing segmenting options.

Let’s say that you want to choose target one of your personas. That persona will see a different CTA than the rest. This example for Fifth Season Adventure, a fictitious travel company that is used for training, will target their persona Adventurous Amy. To set this up, pick Contact List Membership.

Choose the list you’ve made for that segment of people. In this example, we’re going to target all Adventurous Amys. Next, you have to choose the CTA for the smart rule that you’d like that segment to see.

If you plan out your contextual marketing strategy ahead of time, then you’ll already have decided on the conversion paths for each CTA.

In this case, Adventurous Amy is going to see a CTA for a trip consultation. On this step, you can either choose a CTA you already have, or create a new one.

Next, create a default CTA to show users who don’t match your criteria. For all users that view this CTA who are not Adventurous Amy they will see a CTA for a free travel planning ebook.

Again, you can either choose a CTA that you already have, or create a new one. If you want to add another rule at this point you can. Otherwise you’re done!

The new smart CTA is at the top. Rename it so you know what the rule is about. This example will be called Adventurous Amy - Plan a Trip.

You can hover over each CTA to get a preview.  You can also add a new smart rule at any time or edit the existing rule by clicking on the settings gear on the right of the smart CTA group. .

Now that you’re done, add this smart CTA anywhere on your website! Something that’s great about smart CTAs is that you can use the embed code to create smart CTAs on external websites.  

This can come in handy if you write a guest post on an external website and want to use a smart CTA. The embed process for a smart CTA is the same as embedding a regular CTA, just copy the embed code and paste.

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Video: How Do You Create a Smart Form? (4:03)

Watch how to target a segment with a smart form, and learn how to build a smart form in HubSpot.

Let’s make a smart form. Go to the Landing Page tool and find the page that you want to add a smart form to. Go to the Form module. Click “Make Smart” on that module and you will be presented with the standard Smart Content options.

Choose the relevant Smart Content Option for your form. When you pick the segment that you want, you can add in a new form to address that segment. In this demo, it’s a paid campaign for “family travel.” Click next step to select the details for the smart rules for referral source.

You can display a different form title. Select or create an entirely new form. Let’s set up a new form called Family Travel Paid Campaign and the form will ask questions to provide insights into what these users need and are looking for.

You can redirect to an entirely different page for this segment. You also have the ability of adding form submission notifications, and add to a workflow or send a follow-up email upon submission.

And your default form settings are below. See your default form below. You can check to see what your personalization looks like to different contacts before hitting publish.

Click the preview button, and you can preview it as a known contact, or change the preview based on a specific country, language or traffic source.

And that’s how you create a smart form. When you hover over the form, you’ll see how many smart rules have been created. In this case, just one for the paid search campaign for family travel. This is just a visual reminder of your smart rule.

Next, let’s see how to create Smart Form Fields. Navigate to the Forms tool and pick a form to edit.Smart Form Fields rely on the properties in the Contact tool.

If you never want to ask someone again about their industry, for example, mark that field or any field except the email field as a  Smart Field with the rectangle button on the right.  

Those fields will be replaced by any that you drag into the form below the grey line. In this case, once industry is known about a contact, they won’t see that question again.

Instead, they will be asked about their job title. You can determine the order of the questions that you want to ask over time as Smart Fields get replaced by others!

Now don’t make the email field smart! Email is what ties someone to HubSpot’s Contact database, so you always want someone to fill this out to make sure that you’re adding their information to the correct Contact record.

You can also mark the fields below the line as smart, to continue to replace those with other fields.

Think about how many uses this form will be getting–how much information are you able to collect here?

Remember, the purpose is to be able to use the same form over and over, and still collect new information to better qualify your leads.

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Video: How Do You Create Smart Text? (6:23)

Watch how to create smart text in HubSpot, and learn how to preview your smart content as a website user or a specific contact.

Let’s implement some smart text on Fifth Season Adventure’s homepage. Whether you’re adding smart text to a landing page, email, or website page, there needs to be a rich text module. So if you wanted to change the headline of the page or an image module, you’re not going to have the smart content option.

If you had a page that didn’t have a rich text module for some reason, it’s easy enough to add a rich text module to the template. Although, you shouldn’t have to do this often. Check out the resources on this page to see how to add a new module.

Now, hover over the module that you’d like to make smart. When you hover over it, HubSpot shows you smart content insights. The smart content insights suggest to make the content smart by the referral source, country or by lifecycle stage. Smart content insights are specific to your HubSpot account, so you’ll see suggestions about your contacts.

Remember, if you are adding smart text to an email, the Smart Content Insights will be based on your entire contacts database if you have not specifically selected a recipient list for the email.

Or, click hide insights to choose a specific segment to target. Click on the Make Smart button, and choose the segment of people that you’d like to target. Let’s walk through the different segmentation options here.

First, by Country. You can pick your country choice by typing and the drop-down menu will populate some suggestions for you. Pick your choice to show different content or use different currencies to either a single country, or a group of countries.

Next, by Device Type. You can choose between mobile, tablet and desktop to create smart text content for users that are browsing with each device.

Referral Source gives us the option to choose between Organic Search– from search engines, Referrals from other sites, Social Media, Email marketing, paid search, direct traffic and other campaigns.

Organic search allows us to show visitors, contacts, or customers different content depending on the keyword that they searched for before coming to your site. Note that it will not pull in keywords used to search in Google due to the search engine’s encryption policy.

Referrals allows you to show visitors from specific websites different content.  

Social media allows you to pick between different social sites, so that you could show people coming from Twitter Tweet this links next to content items as an example. You can target people who were part of a particular email campaign, a paid search campaign, or any other type of custom campaign you've created with a Tracking URL. And you can target people coming from direct traffic –in other words, manually entered URLs or internal links.

There are just a couple more segmentation options to target your contacts and customers. First, by a contact list membership. This allows you to choose a Buyer Persona list, an activity-based list, or really any list that you’ve created.

Second, by lifecycle stage. Here, you can target your leads, customers and more.

No matter which segment you choose to target, the next step is the same. Add in the personalized smart text for that segment.

On the homepage for Fifth Season Adventure, let’s remind Canadian users to visit Fifth Season’s  booth at the upcoming Wilderness Travel Expo in Vancouver.

To do that, make the rich text module smart and segment by country. Select the country, Canada in this case. And a message explains that Visitors from Canada will see the content you specify with this rule.

The smart content for Canada will be at the top. You can see that the default text is already at the bottom. We want Canadian visitors to see the same default message plus an extra message at the top. To accomplish this, copy and paste the default content into the rule for Canada and add the smart content, which is the reminder about the upcoming travel expo.

And click done.

After adding in the smart text, the page will show the default text. It’s a good habit to check what your smart content looks like to different contacts before hitting publish. Click the preview button and preview the page as a Canadian visitor to see the smart text.

You have additional preview options, so you can preview from a specific country, language or from a specific traffic source. This landing page has a smart rule based on referral source. So for organic search with the keyword of team building you can see how the preview changes.  

You also have the option to view as a known contact. You can click or type to choose a specific contact to see exactly how the content will display for this person, in their context.

The preview is a great way to check your work and troubleshoot if something isn’t working as you expected. You can truly see the page as one of your customers, leads or first-time visitors. Use this to your advantage to conceptualize what the content should look like to them.

And that’s all you need to do to create smart text. The final step is to publish the page to update and make the smart text content active.

User Guide

Quick Answer: Which Piece of Smart Content Will My Contact View?

The hierarchy of rule importance and how to modify it is a common point of confusion. Learn how the rule order for two or more smart rules works in this article.

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Video: How Do You Create Smart HTML Content? (2:49)

Learn how to create smart HTML content so you can show embedded content, such as a video or chat widget, to specific segments of users.

Let’s see how to create smart HTML content. This will be helpful if you have a snippet of code that you need to add, such as adding a map or integrating other software, like a live chat widget on your website.

If you wanted to write your own HTML content, you can do that here. But more often than not, adding smart HTML content is used in instances where the HTML code is generated for you. If you’ve ever embedded video to a HubSpot page, then you’ve added HTML content before.

In fact, let’s add some video right now. For this demo, we’re going to use some HubSpot video. HubSpot has created two different videos that are posted on YouTube; one that talks describes their company and another video with customer testimonials.

And in this example, the customer testimonials video will be shown to all leads that visit this About Us page. Everyone else will view the about us video.  

Now, there’s already a custom HTML module on the page template that’s awaiting the video embed code. If your template doesn’t have a custom HTML module, check the resources section on this page for how to add an embed code to a HubSpot page.

To add smart HTML content, you’ll click the smart icon in order to start. In this scenario, you’ll click lifecycle stage in order to select Leads.

The next step asks for the custom HTML content. You’ll paste in the content that the Leads will see, which is the video embed code from Youtube with the customer testimonials. You have the ability to add multiple rules to the smart content if you wanted to.

HubSpot could continue showing different videos to different lifecycle stages. Maybe HubSpot has a different message to convey to their blog subscribers or yet another video to show customers.

At the bottom, when any visitor doesn’t meet the rules above, this smart default will be displayed. This is where the other video embed code will go -- the About Us embed code.

If there aren’t any more rules to add, click done to finish adding the smart HTML content and don’t forget to publish the page to put the new content into effect.

User Guide

Quick Answer: How to Add an Embed Code to a HubSpot Page

Learn how to add a custom HTML module to a template or flexible column at the page level. Both of these modules can be converted into a smart module, which is what you'll need to add smart HTML content.

User Guide

Frequently Asked Questions: Smart Content

Read these commonly asked questions about smart content, and learn from the answers to set up contextual marketing easily.