Website Personalization, or content personalization, is simply any process that personalizes your website, or website content, based on the individual website visitor. A good example of this is Amazon. Amazon directs you to the appropriate Amazon site in your country puts the site in your preferred language and shows you your most recently viewed products.
These days you do not need to be the size of Amazon to leverage the power of personalization. The big question though is why you also should personalize your website. Here are some of the major benefits of investing the time and energy in personalizing your website.
Increased Effectiveness of your Advertising
Personalizing your advertising landing pages makes the content more engaging to the visitor arriving on your website. You can provide more specific information and designs based on their location, language or the content of the advertisement. All these factors contribute towards increasing a website visitor to take action.
Imagine that you are running an ecommerce store that sells clothes, shoes and accessories nationwide. When a visitor arrives on your site after seeing an online advertisement for a pair of shoes you could customize the product page specifically for them. You could present the page in their language and show them accurate shipping costs for their city. But you can go further and modify the page to show images of people wearing the shoes in their city. The copy could mention that the shoes are perfect for a fun night out in their city’s most popular districts. You could offer discounts exclusive to that advertisement that are then applied to the product. And if they are a returning customer you could even suggest that the shoes would pair nicely with the outfit they bought a month ago.
All of these personlizations help to make the product more appealing to the visitor and make their buying decision easier.
The improvement of advertising efficacy can of course lead to increased sales but this is not the only impact personalization has on sales. By personalizing your website based on a user’s past browsing or purchasing habits as well as factors like their location or the path they took to get to your site you can ensure that your visitors see the right product at the right price at the right moment.
Sticking with your clothing store from the example above, when a visitor arrives on your site you could use their location to personalize the entire site for them. You could show the most popular products in their area this may be particularly useful if you sell clothing branded with their local sports team.
In addition you could use weather data to recommend products on your home page. If the weather is hot then feature your swimwear lines or if the weather is miserable then rain jackets and warm clothes could be featured.
If they are a returning visitor you can recommend products based on their previous purchases and product views. Additionally if they are looking at a specific product – like the pair of shoes above – then you could show similar products, like alternative shoes, and complimentary products, like shoe protection sprays, socks, or spare laces.
Similar to an increase in sales, personalization can help increase the number of leads you acquire. Not only by improving your advertising but by ensuring that you put the right content in front of the visitor on your site. Based on the search terms they used to get to your site or their browsing behavior among other factors you can show them specific content that assists them in their decision making.
Take Optimizely as an example. Optimizely is a website optimization tool that offers customers many features including website personalization. In the screenshot they show how they customize their homepage to encourage visitors to become leads. On the left is the old impersonalized homepage. The right image shows the layout for their personalizable homepage.
The homepage’s headline has been personalized to both the time of day the visitor is on the site as well as the search query that led them to the site. This search query may have been something like “Optimize Digital Experiences”.
Below the headline, specific benefits of their website optimization features have been showed rather than the benefit summary of all their product offerings. Below this specific client case studies relevant to website optimization are shown. After this they present the specific product offering with a Call-to-Action to learn more. If the visitor needs more information then Optimization related guides and white papers are presented below.
All this means that the visitor has all the information they need as soon as they arrive on the site and do not need to browse around the site looking for it. As a result they are more likely to click a CTA, fill out a form or contact the company.
Greater Flexibility for Marketing Teams
The impact personalization has on your advertising extends not only to its success in bringing new lead and sales for each campaign. It also gives your marketing more freedom to create new campaigns. Personalization can remove the reliance on designers and developers for each new campaign they want to execute. This is because one landing page can be easily re-used for multiple campaigns and just modified based on the advert.
This allows your marketing team to try different campaign ideas without the extra time and budgetary investment it would normally require. It also means that they are able to drastically reduce turnaround times and respond to current events, the weather, competitors or anything else that may impact your website’s performance.
To illustrate this using a simple example, we can look at any business that needs to create numerous e-books, whitepapers and guides. These usually has the two-fold purpose of educating their existing and potential customers about technical or nuanced products as well as generating leads for the product featured. This could be a consumer product like running shoes or a business product like a Human Resource Management software suite.
When advertising these guides either through Search Engine Advertising, e-mail, Social Media, etc. they need a landing page for the user to fill out a form and download the material. In the past each different guide, whitepaper and e-book would require a new landing page. However, with content personalization only one landing page needs to be built. The landing pages imagery and copy can then be automatically changed to suit whichever material the campaign was advertising with no further involvement from the developers or designers.
For all these reasons Website Personalization should be part of your online marketing strategy. Look out for our follow-up blog post on how to get started with website personalization.