Crucial Website Personalization Tactics You Should Be Implementing
A New Era of Website Personalization
Today we’re experiencing a new era of website personalization. Members of a generation steeped in Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and other social media expect to find what they are looking for right away – wherever they are at the time and whatever device they are using. To keep up with these rapidly evolving expectations of the online experience, best-in-class organizations are moving beyond the static cookie-cutter approach found on many of today’s websites. Instead they are proactively managing the user experience based on specific profiles and online behaviors.
The advantages of a more personalized approach are clear. Rather than asking visitors to wade through mountains of information to find what they want and need, the most relevant pages, products and offers are filtered and displayed to improve the user experience and move individuals along the path towards a purchase decision or other action. This paper takes a close look at personalization, how it works and the tools you need to tailor and deliver personalized content to your website visitors.
A Primer for Personalization
What does it mean to personalize content? Amazon.com offers a great example. When you visit this global online retailer, you most likely are greeted by name and offered suggestions relevant to the interests you expressed during previous visits. Each time you search, select and order products, the company learns more about you and your preferences and further tailors a response.
Profile-based, prescriptive personalization focuses on specific segments of users. Profiles or “personas” are built based on groups of characteristics and information found in your customer and prospect database. Perhaps an individual filled out a form and provided information about an address and interests before receiving a newsletter or downloading a coupon or a paper. That gives you data you can use to your benefit by establishing business rules for the delivery of certain types of content. If a visitor recently browsed your online product catalog, you might want to highlight new product features, new offers, support services or other details that might further the dialogue down the path towards a purchase.
Personalization in Action
Despite advances in personalization, far too many businesses still measure online success by the amount of traffic they drive to their website. They devote substantial budgets to improving their search engine ranking and exposing their site to new visitors by personalizing and adopting landing pages or microsites. But both techniques are a “bridging” tactic at best. Landing pages, for example, are limited in scope. Once an individual navigates away from the optimized page, the content becomes more general. You lose the ability to target specific needs, respond to specific stages in the buying cycle or further the relationship with your company.
Developing Your Personalization Strategy
The best website personalization programs are grounded in a clear strategy and make the most of what you know about your business, its customers and their preferences. Typically information on preferences is gathered through multiple customer touch points, including online, email, social media, in-person contact, phone calls and more. The more you know, the better you can personalize all types of interactions across multiple communication channels.
When you are deciding how to personalize content, the choices are virtually limitless. As a result, it’s important to stay focused on the strategic outcomes you want to drive and the steps along the way. Do you need to build support for a cause and solicit donations? Sell products? Promote customer retention? You can vary content based on profiles, industries, location and more in order to keep visitors engaged and move them further down the path towards a specific action or outcome.
Turbo-Charge Your Personalization Strategy with CRM
Integrate your customer relationship management (CRM) and web content management (WCM) platforms and you can take personalization to the next level. You can access information on users already in your CRM database to help you further personalize their interaction with your site.
The process also works well in reverse as well. As “anonymous” individuals interact with your website and share information on who they are and their preferences, you can gather details, add them to your database and match the individual against the personas you’ve built. The result is a more precise matching that helps your personalization program work better and harder than before. If Steve fills out our form and says he is browsing for a BMW Coupe, I won’t pitch other models or brands when he calls or visits the local showroom. Instead I will be poised to offer relevant information and a test drive of the precise car he has in mind.