September 27 2019

Why Personalization Should Be a Tool in Your Digital Arsenal

content personalizationIt’s no secret consumers are more likely to interact with content they find compelling, which is why content personalization should be a no-brainer for your website. A strong personalization strategy can make your online presence smarter and your visitors happier. While not every content management system offers it, personalization can be impactful to your content planning, analytics mining and other areas of your digital strategy. Learn why personalization can be powerful, what to look out for and how to measure success.

What is personalization?

Personalization allows you to customize your web experience to the wants and needs of key audiences. This increases the likelihood that the content you serve up will be meaningful to your visitors—because not all visitors have the same needs.

Once user data is collected, visitors are categorized based on shared characteristics and grouped into segments known as personas. Each persona represents a different type of customer or lead with unique interests, habits and intents. The goal is to tailor content to each persona to be sure you’re providing the most relevant, impactful experience possible.

Why does it matter?

Imagine you’re a college student looking for basic information about student loans. You visit your banking site, search for general information about student loans and rates, then continue on with your day. When you later return to the site, instead of seeing a promotional banner for mortgages, which other visitors may see, you’re now presented with a banner promoting student loans, reminding you of your prior search.

Users are more likely to convert when relevant content is displayed, because the site becomes more personalized—literally. This in a win-win. The user has a more valuable experience and the business generates more revenue and leads. According to eBankingExchange, 86% of businesses surveyed saw a lift in performance linked to personalization, and more than half those businesses pegged that lift at over 10%.

How does content personalization work?

Users are segmented based on a variety of qualities, including behavior, preferences, location, age group and/or where they are in their consumer journeys. As an example, if you manage a website for a bank or credit union that serves both newlyweds and retirees, you’ll want to present each group with a different set of promotions and resources.

Signing up to learn more, submitting a form and opening an account can all be great ways of gathering valuable consumer data. Personalization can also be cookie-based and related to a previous page visit or other similar behavior.

Before implementing content personalization on your website, it’s essential to perform a detailed analysis of your audience(s) and define personas based on patterns and trends. Users are then bucketed into the appropriate personas, which are strategically mapped to relevant content, services and solutions.
When building personas, it’s important to understand key information about your audience base. You might consider the following questions to help segment your audience:

  • How would this person describe his or her financial status and goals?

  • What is this person’s role in the community?

  • What are this person’s basic demographics (age, gender, marital status, etc.)?

  • Where is this person located?

  • How does this person use technology and the internet?

What can be personalized?

Your web content is rife with opportunities to personalize, and you should take advantage of as many touchpoints as possible. The more customized the experience, the more relevant it becomes to the user. A qualified digital agency like ZAG Interactive can work with your team to develop a strategy that incorporates all site properties and verticals.

  • Promotional space: Tailoring deals and promotions to the wants and needs of each audience segment can have a big impact on conversion rate. Use personalization to customize the campaigns you display.

  • Copy and imagery: Headlines, text blocks, homepage banners and CTAs can all be personalized to ensure visitors see the most impactful content possible when arriving on your site.

  • Quick links and content modules: Learning what each type of visitor is looking for enables you to prioritize these elements within your navigation. This helps users quickly and easily get to the right place.

  • Related content: Once you know what someone is looking for, you can serve up relevant deals and offers to encourage conversion. Upsells, cross-sells and educational resources can all be targeted based on user activity and preferences.

  • Emails and newsletters: Leverage user behavior and purchase history to customize email campaigns and newsletters. Try incorporating the recipient’s name and sending remarketing emails to the tune of “We missed you” or “Did you forget?” You can also use email personalization to recommend related content.

  • Social media marketing: Personalized social media messaging and dynamic ads make your product or service top of mind for consumers who left without converting. Consumers who do convert can be remarketed with relevant content to keep them engaged.

How do you know if personalization is successful?

Thoughtful personalization can make a big difference for your business, but how do you know if it’s working? It all comes down to key performance indicators (KPIs).

Personalization should be deliberate and goal-oriented—maybe you want to increase the number of accounts opened or loans taken out or boost engagement with your website’s educational resources. Whatever your primary metric, there are several ways to measure success and help define your optimization plan.

  1. Establish a baseline prior to personalizing so you know your benchmarks. Google Analytics can help isolate KPIs and compare metrics before and after personalization is introduced. Some customization may be required, depending on your needs.

  2. Heatmapping tools like Hotjar provide click tracking beyond standard analytics and insight into how users are engaging with your content. You can also build conversion funnels to monitor drop-off as users progress from page to page.

  3. A/B testing is perhaps the most apples-to-apples way of comparing experiences, particularly within the context of a single page or funnel. Create two versions of your experience: a control, which reflects your baseline, and an experiment, which includes your personalized approach, and split traffic between them. The testing platform will monitor several KPIs, including a goal metric, to examine performance holistically and declare a winner. 

You know what they say—knowledge is power. With data in hand, you can refine and finesse your personalization strategy to maximize the return on your investment and watch your metrics soar. To discuss your specific content personalization strategy and needs, talk with a ZAG Interactive specialist.

  • Content
  • Copywriting
  • Personalization

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