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The Importance of Website Personalization

Have you ever gone to a website and been surprised at how relevant its content is? If you ask Google about your weather it will show the results for your location immediately. Or maybe you have been looking to watch a video at YouTube. Google News Displays news articles related to your search activity. Well, Google has always worked on content relevance. But Google is not the only business that should care about relevancy.

Today, people expect a lot from websites. They aren’t satisfied anymore by sites that act as digital brochures. Now, consumers want websites to provide dynamic, personalized experiences that are tailored specifically to their needs. People want websites to act like software. Think about the success of companies like Netflix and Amazon. They excel at creating highly personalized experiences for their users. When you’re using one of those sites, it can feel like they know exactly what you need to watch or buy next, before you even know it yourself. This is because they’re constantly gathering data about you and then using that data to serve up the most relevant content possible. It’s key that you provide your website visitors with relevant content right away because consumers today are constantly bombarded with digital content. If your message doesn’t resonate, they’ll simply ignore it.

This is where personalization comes in. Personalization is the tailoring of messages or offers to individuals based on their actual behavior. When you create personalized experiences, your website visitors feel like you know them and care about them. Personalization can make people more likely to engage with your site. Personalized calls-to-action (CTAs) perform 202% better than basic CTAs. Imagine what a 202% increase in performance could do for you?

By using personalization to make your CTAs more specific, you could go from driving 100 people to a demo page per month to driving 200 people to the pages they really care about.
Some people would click the demo CTA, but maybe others are looking for answers to frequently asked questions or for one-on-one support from a rep. Using personalization to edit your CTAs can make that happen.

On the other hand, neglecting personalization can have a negative impact on your bottom line. 41% of consumers switch companies due to poor personalization. What does poor personalization mean? Well, what if you went to a website and suddenly saw your name plastered across the entire page? Or if you were being constantly recommended products that were not relevant to you? Or if the site thought you were a lead but you were actually a customer? This experience might cause some friction and make you want to leave the website.

A great example of website personalization in action is the homepage for Zipcar. The content of the page changes based on where you are in the world. If you’re located in Boston for example, the page will read “Zipcar in Boston” and display a map of available Zipcars in the Boston area. Zipcar even goes so far as to personalize the text on the page to reference specific places in Boston that people who live in the city would be able to immediately identify. This type of personalization not only makes the page more relevant, it also makes it more helpful by allowing visitors to see where they can find a Zipcar in their area.

Another way to personalize your website visitors’ experience is by tailoring your content based on your buyer personas. A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on real data and some select educated speculation about customer demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, and goals.

If you already have your buyer personas, go back and revisit them to make sure they’re completely up to date. Then, think of ways you can tailor your website to be more relevant to specific personas.

Let’s take the example of a real estate agent who has two primary personas: Couples who are looking to buy their first house and Students who are looking to rent an apartment for the school year. A real estate agent could personalize an offer on their website to be more relevant to each of those personas. For the prospective homeowner, they can offer an ebook called “The Top 10 Things to Ask Before You Buy a House.” For the student, they can promote a blog post on “How to Make Your Student Apartment Feel Like Home.”

Help your website visitors accomplish their goals using personalization.

Don’t just personalize for the sake of it. Think about your website visitors and what they’re trying to achieve by visiting your website. What are they coming to a particular page for? What information do they hope to find? Use personalization to guide them towards their goal and help them take the action you want them to take. In this way, you’re helping them along their buying journey from a stranger to a customer to eventually an evangelist for your brand.

Website personalization is powered by data. A CRM and a CMS that works together creates powerful personalized experiences. What is a CRM system? A CRM, or Customer Relationship Management System is a system of record that tracks and manages your relationships with your prospects, leads, and customers.

In your CRM, you should be able to store information about your audience using contact properties. Each property corresponds to something specific about that contact, such as their job title, their lifecycle stage, industry, and products they’ve already purchased. There are dozens of properties you can take advantage of when adopting a CRM for your organization.

If you still don’t have one, you can always shop around the internet or request a custom CRM from our developers to deliver it according to your specific goals and organizational procedures.

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Your CRM and CMS work together. Regardless of the solution you’re using, your personalization will only be as good as the quality of data in your CRM. It’s important to set up your CRM properly before you start trying to personalize your website. In order to effectively create a personal experience for your audience, you need to have information about them.
This information needs to be organized and stored in your CRM, so it can be readily accessible to use in your personalization efforts. Use forms and chatbots to collect all the information you need about your visitors.

After you’ve set up your CRM with your custom contact properties, the next step is to actually start collecting information about your visitors. This is primarily done through forms on your website. Once a visitor fills out a form on your site, that data will be automatically entered into your CRM. Once you have lead information in your database, you can start tracking their activity on your website.

Other tools like live chat and chatbots also collect lead information. Live chat and chatbots are becoming increasingly important elements of your website at collecting lead information. When someone comes to your website, you can have a chatbot available to assist them with finding areas of your website, answering FAQs, and sharing helpful content. Tracking a lead’s activity shows you which pages they’re viewing, how long they spend on each page, and if there’s a page they return to more than once. This can give you insight into what they’re interested in learning about or what they might be struggling with. You can use these insights to create effective personalization strategies for your website.

Once you have collected data in a CRM, you can use it in you CMS. Depending on the CMS that you are using, you can use the data from your CRM in different ways.

For example, in WordPress, there are plugins that you can use, like Advanced Personalization. Their free version allows you to personalize your website by country, first time user, day of week, and time of day. In Squarespace, you can add on a tool called RightMessage, and most other CMS will have a similar solution.

Let’s take a look at some effective website personalization strategies. Website personalization can provide customers with recommendations on content they might be interested in based on what they’ve already consumed, edit the contents of your website to be specific to certain buyer personas, and give people access to premium content because they are already a customer or have a relationship with your brand in some way.

The way that you implement these strategies is going to depend on your unique business. Are you an ecommerce business? Focus your efforts on product recommendations. Do you sell your products or services into a variety of industries? Try using personalization to provide unique content to each of your buyer personas. Or if you want to provide unique content to your existing customers, use personalization to give them exclusive access to new products or high-quality content.

Author avatar
Guillermo Cuadra
Guillermo Cuadra is the Founder of Virtual Sigma, which he started in 2015. During the company’s early years, Guillermo acted as the sole engineer, designer, and support representative for the entire virtual sigma platform. In addition to running the company and setting overall product strategy, he remains actively involved in many departments of the company that he had previously run himself. Guillermo holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer, Physics, and mathematics.
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