September 12 2013

Is Website Personalization Right for your Business?

Say goodbye to the days where one site needs to be everything for all audiences, and say hello the era of content personalization. The personalization of web content allows marketers to provide a more customized experience for visitors and increase opportunities for conversion. If your business is planning to design or redesign its website, you might want to seriously consider doing so with a content personalization feature in mind. Let’s explore some of the reasons why, from both a business and visitor perspective.

How does personalization benefit visitors?website personalization

Most businesses try to create websites that possess an intuitive navigational structure that guides visitors to the information they are looking for. Some utilize banners on the home page and internal pages in an effort to promote against their business goals, and some even have additional promotional areas that direct visitors to information that may be related to general audience needs. However, when a visitor returns to a site or is browsing for specific information, the site doesn’t adapt in any way to suit their needs. A website with content personalization changes all of this. Web content personalization aims to create a more efficient site experience for visitors by “learning” from their behavior and delivering content that is most relevant. The easier it is for a visitor to experience a website, the better their impression is of your brand and statistically-speaking, the more likely that visitor will convert into a lead or become a repeat visitor, depending on the nature of your business. Keep in mind that although visitors will appreciate a more personalized web experience, they will also be sensitive to the amount of information businesses seem to know about them, so be sure to avoid the “creepy” factor.

Why should marketers and businesses explore web personalization?

For most marketers, it’s been an ongoing challenge to develop a single website that appeals to the needs of all different audiences. If you’re a marketer, you’ve undoubtedly tried to include banners for your most timely products/services on your home page, cross-sell important products/services and maybe even reference your analytics to occasionally tweak your strategy. Now, imagine having the ability to treat visitors as individuals and the power to target your content and offers based on visitor behavior. This can be accomplished through content personalization features that are offered by many of the most advanced content management systems. It is no surprise that 94% of business owners agree that personalization is “critical to their current and future success.”*

What are some web personalization best practices?

Effective online personalization begins with a solid, strategic plan.

  1. Identify your key personas: A persona is a fictional person that is used to represent a segment of your target audience. Personas consist of attributes that are demographic, behavioral and attitudinal, and are designed to help you understand how to best personalize your site experience. Having up to 5 personas is a good rule of thumb for effective site personalization.
  2. Plan your content strategy: Having a website that surfaces different content for different audiences means that you need a solid content strategy. From page content to additional visual or multimedia assets, you will need to properly plan and execute your content strategy with web personalization in mind.
  3. Define your personalization techniques: Most content management systems offer numerous “out of the box” web personalization options, with the ability to define custom personalization parameters as needed. Many businesses however will benefit from several core personalization techniques:
    • Referral source: Tracking where a visitor is coming from can be a very effective personalization technique. Your site personalization can create different experiences for visitors that searched for specific keywords in Google, are located in a specific geographic area, or even visitors coming from a certain referral website. While you want to be relatively subtle, don’t be afraid to offer visitors something “special” that relates to their referral source, because a message delivered at the right time in the buying cycle can multiply your chances for conversion.
    • Visitor behavior: Understanding how a visitor has previously interacted with your website is a great way to personalize their site experience in subsequent visits. Banners, calls to action and body content can be personalized in order to facilitate a conversion when you know that a visitor has previously viewed the information on your site and come back again.
  4. Measure, refine and evolve your personalization strategy: Like any marketing technique, the performance of your website personalization strategy should be closely monitored. Doing so will enable you to accurately assess if it is helping to support your goals of converting more visitors into leads, creating repeat visitors, contributing to customer delight or meeting any other objectives you may have. 

If you are interested in learning more about how website personalization fits into your business goals, please contact ZAG Interactive.

*Source: eConsultancy

posted by
Michelle Brown
Michelle Brown
VP of Marketing

ZAG Interactive is a full-service digital agency in Glastonbury, CT, offering website design, development, marketing and digital strategy to clients nationwide.