We are almost past 2015 and given the pace digital marketing is moving ahead, it calls for a tough challenge for sites to remain relevant. Unless websites can manage to offer the best content, design, features, in all, a uniquely delighting customer experience, they just cannot cater to the needs of the over-populated audience base. The one-size-fits-all rule was always a myth; now it’s more of a strong “No!” so far the digital experience is concerned.
With a vast amount of available data, you only have to think to bring innovation to your website. Analytics enables us to figure out almost everything that happens with our website. We know who our visitors are, where they come from, the devices they use, their past behavior and so on. But that’s irrelevant until we question ourselves: What are we going to do with that data? As already pointed out, the competition is fierce. Every day sites turn live and many websites shut down so quickly that we seldom even notice. So what can be done about it?
You can turn your wheels towards SEO, having a better web design and all the rest of it. But essentially, you are doing this: making your website a place where the visitors not just come, they come to be delighted. Sales and transactions forming a major chunk of their activities, you want your customers to say “WoW” (with capital “W”s) when they visit your site. Here’s how you can do it:
Delivering an online Personalized web experience
Crucial to the success of your business is the brand that you can build. More audience online, so let’s stick to treating them with a valuable and personalized web experience on your site.
Personalizing for “Who”?
Surely, you need to know who is your target audience. You have the data, thanks to Google Analytics. Dig deep in the data and check for the segments that you would like to target. Instead of targeting all the traffic at once, you can prefer slicing a few segments based on:
- The amount of traffic: Look for groups that have a larger number of visitors coming to your site. You can rather slice the large set on the basis of whether the visitors are New or Returning, Mobile Users or Desktop Users, Residing in Miami or Residing in New Jersey and so on. Of course, you need not segment the audience randomly. Based on the nature of your business and also the goals you are working for, you can select one or the other group and begin a personalization campaign for that group.
- The value of the traffic: “More is better” doesn’t hold in most of the cases. Think about the kind of traffic that you need the most. Paraphrasing the query, think about the traffic that you spend most of your marketing efforts and money to acquire. They must be valuable and offer you incentives to attract them. So, even when their numbers are not that large, you can consider targeting this “valuable” segment to give them a personalized web experience.
- Online visitors’ contexts: Especially true for e-commerce sites, users do their research, make appropriate comparisons at different sites before they opt to make a transaction on your site, or that of others. While it is important to provide the visitors the best deal, you also need to understand the customer’s context. Has your visitor come to your site organically? Is it a returning visitor or a new one? A curious pre-sales visitor or an annoyed post-sales customer? Context can play an essential role in designing the personalized experience for the customers.
“What” constitutes a personalized experience?
Clearly, there are a lot of technical aspects of a personalized experience. Right from limiting the reasons why users leave your site due to poor web structure to finding opportunities in responsive designs, your web development team can experiment to get the best deal out for your customers. Restricting ourselves to the kind of content we can deliver to add meaning to the personalized experience, you can try something like these:
New Visitor/Returning Visitor
A new visitor needs to be explicitly introduced to who you are, what your business does and how you can benefit his/her time and money.You need to provide him with an attractive onboarding experience that will help him/her identify your brand, your products/services and make the time spent worthily. A tour of the site, a brief synopsis of your business’s reach and accomplishment can do well for this kind of visitors.
A returning visitor, on the other hand, would probably know your whereabouts. He/she has returned to your site because of something that you offer something that is valuable. Maybe it’s the services, or your web design. In most of the cases, the visitors return simply to check out your blog section. This is the crucial point where you can offer an email sign-up or newsletter subscription.
What if the customer has returned after a long period?
Not a rare phenomenon. A large section of audience visits a site and then forgets it, only to recall it after a long time, say 90 days or 180 days. Providing them a uniquely personal experience can make a big impact on their decision-making processes.
For customers who visit your site after a long time, you can consider informing them about the latest products that you have offered meanwhile. Also, it is a good idea to introduce them to some promotional or discount coupon that has a limited time to use. That ways, you are doing two things: one, adding value to his time by providing him a simpler yet effective return, and two, ensuring that the user returns time and again to your website.
A pre-sales visitor is often with more queries about what your products/services are going to be like, and has doubts that cannot be solved by providing descriptive and informative content alone. Therefore, it is better to provide phone numbers and email addresses etc. on the “Contact Us” page so that the visitor can directly communicate with your representatives.
On the other hand, after the sales, customers often face problems in using the product and will like to deal with a support system. Likewise, you would do better if the “Contact Us” page consists of a functioning link that can direct the user to the Online Support Center. That ways, the user does not have to spend time while waiting for the representative to direct him/her to the support system. You know what this customer needs, and you sent him right where he intends to. A good personalized move, isn’t it?
Large Enterprise/ SMB
Say, you are a software making company. If your visitor is from an enterprise, a Request a Demo option is more likely to get clicked from the customer’s end. Conversely, your site can do good if it displays a link for Try a FREE Demo for SMB customers.
You can try out offering similar results for visitors based on their status such as Subscribers/Non-Subscribers, or whether they are Logged-In/Logged-Out and so on. Giving what the user wants before even he asks for it, that’s a key element for personalization effect.
Hurdles that can be overcome
While it sounds all so good that a website owner can provide customers with the most exact and personal experience, that is not very easy after all. For one, it is the analysis of the technical and non-technical requirements that often emerge as a barrier. Do we have enough resources to deal with? Are our plans inter-dependent and can we synchronize them before getting deeper? Do we have right segments to target? Most importantly, are these personalization campaigns carrying the potentials to impact our business towards a better result?
Such questions often discourage many of the digital marketers, and that is one of the answers why websites have not taken the idea of personalization that popularly as they should have. But, given the right approach and correct strategy, you can work on these problems and make realistic expectations to start an effective web personalization campaign. You need not start changing the whole spectrum of your traffic; you can well begin with a few parts of it. Understand, however, that to see significant results and to get measurable success, the sample should be large enough, and you must have a proper metric system to analyze your campaign so that the insights could be used in later for bigger and larger campaigns.