Website personalization is the beginning of the future.  A few short years ago, websites were expected to be functional and visually engaging. Now, around 73% of your website visitors expect to see personalized features, especially if they’re returning to your site. With the power to increase website traffic by 43%, drive conversion improvements of 93% and increase sales activity by at least 10%, website personalization doesn’t just give your visitors an elite online experience – it significantly evolves your business success.  So, get started today and read on to learn how to build an effective website personalization strategy for your business.

What is website personalization?

Website personalization is used to describe a website experience customized to the visitor.  There are different degrees of website personalization, made possible with specialist software.  A well-known example is Amazon, who recommend products based on visitor’s previous purchases.  To deliver effective website personalization, follow these steps:

Selecting and segmenting your audience

Before you can run a successful website personalization strategy, you need to understand the audiences that you are personalizing to and why.  Whilst many visitors offer a business opportunity, some will have arrived on your website by mistake.  You’ll want to ensure you aren’t investing in these visitors who offer your organization no additional revenue.  Start by asking, which members of your online audience provide maximum value to your business? Are they clients, prospects or ABM key accounts?  What industries are they from?  What’s their business size? There will likely be multiple answers to these questions – you may identify 12 target industries, 50 key accounts and 200 clients that are all equally valuable to your business success.  The important part of this process is to narrow your personalization audience down from every visitor to a select few.

Once you’ve selected your most valuable website visitors, you’ll need to better understand the website experiences you wish to offer each audience.  You may choose not to segment key accounts or clients and offer each of them an individually personalized website experience.  You may also choose to segment your audience by industry or business size, offering a website journey bespoke to specific industry pain points or promoting different packages befitting an SME or an enterprise.  This segmentation is very important.  If, for example, your product is used by the retail industry, those owning a small collection of independently owned shops are going to have different online needs and preferences to large, enterprise chains.  Therefore, you’ll need multiple personalizations for the retail industry.

Marketing success is driven by data, and so is an effective website personalization strategy.  Once your audience is defined, it’s important to ask how you’ll access the data required to identify business website visitors to seamlessly offer them the right experience.  Your website personalization software solution can usually do this for you but take time to check and be sure before embarking.

Understand your use cases

With your audience outlined, it’s now time to ask what the ultimate website experience means to your visitors.  What do they expect and need?  Before delving into content and image specifics, it’s important to start with the essentials – your use cases.  How can each of your selected audiences use your product or services to improve their business processes and success?  What are the strategic and tactical benefits they’ll receive?  How can they secure a return on their investment?

This knowledge should fuel your website personalization strategy, helping your brand stand out as the industry expert, grabbing visitor attention by instantly displaying the information most relevant to their business.  81% of decision-makers have sited relevance as the most important factor when making an online purchasing decision.  This is especially important if your website visitors are researching a number of products and solutions – maximizing product information relevant to the specific visitor’s use case is key to website personalization success.

Outline the visitor journey

Website personalization goes a long way to helping increase the likelihood of visitors reacting to your call to action.  For website personalization to achieve an increase in conversion, you’ll need to gain a detailed understanding of the way visitors journey across your website – especially if you offer an e-commerce service.  Understand how target audiences and key accounts currently access your website, what pages they work through and why they do (or do not) convert as desired.  There are many journeys a visitor can take across a single website; understanding the success of each journey helps boost your strategy with detailed navigational insight.

User navigation is a key element to website conversion success, and when embracing website personalization, you don’t want to compromise any successful navigation features.  Effective navigation as part of a website personalization strategy can improve website conversion by over 100%.  For an e-commerce website, this improvement can significantly uplift revenue and boost average order value.  It’s important to intricately understand your website visitors’ journeys across your site before making personalization changes.

Prioritizing website elements for evolution

A website is built up of many elements that you can bespoke as part of your personalization strategy.  With so many options to choose from, some website personalization strategies can get confused, as they try to change too much.  Carefully identifying and prioritizing which website elements you wish to evolve and customize is imperative for a successful approach.

Current research proves editing a top banner on your homepage to include the visitor’s business name or industry is effective in boosting visitor engagement.  Bringing product information relevant to the visitors use case onto the homepage continues to significantly increase conversion success.  Additionally, many businesses have seen evolving their calls to action to include personalized features positively impact results.  Your website offers so much personalization opportunity, without streamlining your focus, you risk building an ineffective strategy, ill-fitting to your target audiences and accounts.

Content selection and creation

Having laid a deeply intricate groundwork, your website personalization strategy is ready to make website changes to deliver an elite online experience.  Your team must carefully choose the most relevant, enticing and impactful content for each selected personalization, helping your valuable visitors envisage your offering as part of their business success.
Question which images, copy and assets will entice visitors to position your brand as experts and take the next step of their buyer journey.  Turn to your client base, asking them what website elements influenced their purchasing decision, starting to uncover possible patterns and links between specific client industries or business sizes, and the most influential website elements.  Once you know the exact images, copy and links your personalized webpage will feature, you’re ready to build these highly targeted online experiences.

Test and improve

By definition, a strategy aims to achieve long-term success, so ensuring you plan to continually analyze and improve your personalizations is key.  You may be unsure which call to action copy best aligns with one of your target industries – but you don’t have to know the correct answer instantly.  Run an A/B split test to better understand which website elements and content entice the audience in question and make improvements based on your findings.  Audience preferences continually evolve and change, so it makes sense for your website personalization strategy to shift too.

Establish how often you’ll aim to analyze online activity and evolve your strategy, understanding how you’ll convert a list of numerical readings into an action plan for your next personalization.  With 94% of B2B buyer journeys starting online, your business website will need to stay one step ahead at all times, offering the most relevant and impactful online experience.  Without continued tests and evolution, your strategy will struggle to yield the long-term results your business requires for revolutionary success.

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