In today’s highly competitive digital landscape, personalising your visitors’ online experience has become a necessity. But how do you deliver these personalised experiences? If you’ve not done it before, it can be difficult to know where to start.
In our recent blog, we explained why personalisation is important. And in this post, we focus on how you can build a successful website personalisation strategy:
- Identify your business objectives
- Add personalisation to your strategic objectives
- Gather lots of (quality) data
- Understand your audience
- Find the right content and personalise
- Continually monitor performance
1. Identify your business objectives
Before you launch your website personalisation strategy, it’s important you set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-Bound) goals. These will help you:
- Eliminate guesswork
- Set a clear timeline
- Easily track progress and identify missed milestones
Your goals should answer questions such as:
- What do you want to achieve? Are you looking to:
- Increase leads?
- Boost conversion rates?
- Improve brand loyalty?
- What does success look like?
Your SMART goal statement should look something like this:
"Our goal is to [insert quantifiable objective] by [insert timeframe/deadline]. [Insert key players/teams] will accomplish this goal by [insert what steps you’ll take to achieve the goal]. Accomplishing this goal will [insert result/benefit]."
Put that template and this advice to work and you’ll be ready to knock your own (achievable!) goals out of the park.
2. Add personalisation to your strategic objectives
Not only do marketing and sales benefit from personalisation, but also customer service and support. So, it’s important your personalisation initiative has the backing of your entire organisation.
But changing any part of your business can cause confusion among your employees unless you manage it carefully. By implementing a change management strategy, you can help your teams transition through these changes and help boost adoption and utilisation rates.
To ensure your change (or changes) is fully accepted, you’ll need to:
- Align people and mindsets
- Help your teams learn how to think differently
- Help employees foster new habits
- Answer the ‘what’s in it for me’ question
- Inspire employees rather than force them to embrace the change
You can read more about how you can best manage change by downloading our change management roadmap below.
3. Gather lots of (quality) data
Customer data is the foundation of personalisation and a crucial step in the strategy building process. Without enough detailed data on your users, you won’t be able to implement effective personalisation.
Some critical data collection points that power e-commerce personalisation include:
- Traffic to your website
- On-site interactions (e.g. category and product page visits)
- Purchase history
- Customer account data
- Site search keywords
But before you start collecting this data, it’s also important to:
- Determine what data points you’re going to track
- Identify who you’re tracking
- Decide when you’re going to track data – most often this will be in real-time
- Work out what tools and platforms you’re going to use to track data
Artificial intelligence (AI) can help you provide a customer experience that goes beyond expectations and keeps you ahead of the competition. This is because AI can analyse customer behaviour on your commerce platform or CMS as it:
- Uses powerful algorithms to personalise content
- Can recommend products and offers using data gathered to profile your customers
Gathering this data can also help you when it comes to developing new products within your market. Business dashboards can also be deployed to monitor and direct these algorithms, ensuring they remain effective and optimised, accelerating business growth and supporting your customer experience goals.
Data integrity is also critical as creating personalised campaigns based on incorrect data can do serious damage to your brand. Take Shutterfly for example – a photo printing company – who sent out several personalised messages to their customers which congratulated them for babies they didn’t have.
Many women struggling with infertility received the emails, which resulted in a social media storm, alienated customers and ended up with Shutterfly having to issue an apology.
Data transparency is another important factor. In fact, a report from PwC found 88% of consumers say the extent of their willingness to share personal information is based on how much they trust a company. So, having clear and accurate data policies across all your channels, including who has access to your customer data and how it’ll be used, is vital to building trust among your customers.
4. Understand your audience
You probably already have defined numerous personas for the different types of users visiting your website. But these can be enhanced further by bringing together your static and real-time data.
A modern CRM (customer relationship management) system can help you effectively engage with your customers through their entire lifecycle by bringing together all your key customer/prospect information into one location. Centralised customer data gives you a 360-degree view of your customers and helps you provide more personalised experiences.
This makes it easier to create effective audience segments and conduct deeper analysis of your customers’ behaviours. For example, you’ll be able to segment by:
- Geographic location
- Who clicked a link in a particular email marketing campaign
- What industry the customer/prospect works in
From there, you can better understand your customers and know which ones are interested in your products/services, which are on the fence and which aren’t interested at all.
5. Find the right content and personalise
This is less about content creation and more about content strategy. Start by doing a content audit of your existing content and identify what content would relate to your personas. We recommend tagging your content not only by topic, but also by:
- Any other relevant groupings to your business
You’ll reap the benefits of this later when creating personalisation campaigns. After doing a content audit, you’ll have a much clearer picture of the content you can start personalising right now and also the potential content gaps that need to be filled.
It’s important to note you don’t need huge amounts of content to start implementing personalisation. You can start small by:
- Tweaking the text on a call-to-action
- Changing the messaging in the hero area on your homepage
- Displaying a different featured product
Also, consider where on the page you want your personalised content to appear. Maybe your visitors never scroll down the page far enough to see your personalised product recommendations, or maybe there’s another page on your site which receives more traffic.
This is where analysing your website performance analytics and heat maps can help you determine where best to personalise the content.
6. Continually monitor performance
To deliver effective personalisation, you need to approach it as an ongoing, strategic process and not just a one-off project. Are your campaigns helping you reach your objectives? If not, try:
- Adjusting your messaging
- Moving where the personalised content appears on your site
- Reviewing what you know about your audience segments
It’s also worth considering running A/B testing to see which variant(s) of a campaign perform better. By continually reviewing and refining your customers’ experience, you can provide an experience that truly resonates with them.
Helping you create a winning website personalisation strategy
As you can see, there are several factors to building a successful website personalisation strategy. By putting all these steps into action, you’ll be ready to offer the type of tailored experiences customers expect today.
Interested in learning more? Our guide covers everything you need to know to successfully pull off personalisation. From how to maximise your metrics to the key to successful personalisation, download it below.