Improving the Customer Journey with Website Personalisation
Website personalisation has been a hot topic in the world of digital marketing for a few years now. What was once reserved primarily for email marketing campaigns, personalisation has become a fundamental tool for businesses looking to increase their conversion rate online, and rightly so. According to recent research by Infosys, a staggering 74% of customers feel frustrated when website content is not personalised.
Industry leaders such as ASOS and Amazon are leading the way in personalised web experiences, leading to consumers expecting a certain level of personal functionality every time they visit a website.
What is Website Personalisation?
Simply put, web personalisation is the process of showing individual content, such as offers, guides, product recommendations and other similar content to users based on their previous actions, demographics and other personal data that has been defined and segmented. It’s the opposite of providing a uniform experience for all users.
Essentially, brands use personalisation to display the right content, at the right time, to the right audience. The ultimate goal is to deliver a more personal website experience to each user, to increase page views, engagement, leads and sales.
Benefits of Website Personalisation
Increase Brand Loyalty
It sounds obvious but serving personalised content to your users will further strengthen the relationship between them and your brand. Once you start to capture key data about your users, you’re able to deliver messages targeted specifically to their needs. It’s the sort of personalisation that’s been happening for years in offline channels.
Think about times when you may have visited a restaurant or high-street store multiple times. It’s not uncommon for staff to begin offering certain products based on your needs and previous purchases that they’ve noticed over time. This is personalisation in its simplest form. The art of website personalization is replicating this level of content-based personalisation online with the use of technology.
Increase Upsell & Cross-selling
This is perhaps the biggest opportunity for the use of personalisation. With the right data available, you will be able to offer each customer additional products or services based on their previous purchases. Cross-selling and upselling can happen at many stages of the buying cycle, which is why it’s so powerful. Ecommerce sites are synonymous with the use of personalisation, where you’ll often see related products advertised to you before, during and after a purchase. Even the most basic ecommerce platforms will offer this level of functionality out-of-the-box, so you may already have it as part of your armoury.
Personalisation offers you the opportunity to nurture your leads and push them down the sales funnel faster. If you can successfully identify which stage a buyer is at based on their actions, such as page visits, then you have the opportunity to target them with specific pieces of content accordingly. For example, let’s say that someone views the pricing land page on your website but doesn’t convert. In this instance, you could use personalisation to show a downloadable pricing guide the next time that they visit the site. This would be highly relevant to the user and also give your sales team a better understanding of the user’s intent if they download the guide.
What to Consider when Getting Started with Personalisation
Look at Your Current Data Availability
As I’m sure you’re now aware, data is key to personalisation! It’s the data that you have available to you as a marketing function which will ultimately dictate the level of personalisation that you can offer to visitors of your website. We always urge our clients to think about what they are trying to achieve before getting started, whether that be to increase conversions on a particular page, reduce cart abandonment, or increase upselling. Once you understand your goals, you’ll be better equipped to put the right rules and triggers in place to capture the data needed to drive your personal messaging.
Define Personas from the Outset
Defining personas can help you simplify the task of personalisation. By defining groups of people with similar needs, you can begin to tailor messaging into manageable tasks, rather than aiming to offer a personal experience to every single person. Doing this will help the process of personalisation feel more achievable from right from the start. Additionally, by bunching groups of similar people together, you’ll begin to identify even more common themes based on how users are reacting to your personalisation.
Mapping User Journeys
For each persona that you define, there will likely be multiple journeys that they may take throughout your website. It’s a good exercise to map these out, step-by-step before you put any personalisation plans in place. By mapping out the user journeys, you’ll gain a visual understanding of the entire process that a potential customer goes through when interacting with your website. From here, you’ll be able to easily identify potential opportunities to personalise the journey and better connect with your users.
Select the Right Technology
Getting started with personalisation will naturally require some level of technical capability from your Content Management System (and potentially your CRM). That's why we always advise clients to undertake a full audit of their technology stack before getting started. Some level of personalisation can be achieved in open source platforms and third-party plugins, however, there will be limitations when it comes to more advanced personalisation.
If you’re looking for multivariate testing and behavioural targeting, you may need to consider an enterprise-level solution such as Kentico EMS and Sitecore. Data is held directly in these systems, allowing you to segment users based on previous behaviour. This insight can then be used as a trigger in marketing campaigns to display your personalised content.
Challenges of Website Personalisation
Getting Bogged Down in the Data
It's easy to become bogged down in endless amounts of data when implementing a web personalisation strategy. This is particularly common when businesses use several software platforms across the user journey. It’s important to spend time identifying the data with is both accurate and easily accessible to your team. Don’t let data silos get in the way of your personalisation activity, particularly at the start whilst you are only validating your ideas.
It’s all well and good implementing your first instance of web personalisation, but businesses often fail to move beyond this without successfully measuring and achieving a return on investment. When it comes to dipping your toes into the world of web personalisation, we always recommend starting with a personal experience that can be directly tracked and attributed to a return-on-investment. Not only will this help you validate your idea quickly and easily, but it will also put you in a much better place to demonstrate your return-on-investment to senior members of staff.
How is personalisation accomplished on your website?
1. Understanding & Discovering New Audiences
As we've previously touched on, you should start by discovering groups of people who perform similar actions on your website. For example; visiting a specific shop category, navigating to your site by searching a specific keyword in Google, or visiting via a targeted social media campaign.
2. Planning Experiences for Your Audience
Once you've segmented your audience, put yourself in their shoes. What are they expecting to see next? Is there a particular email messaging sequence that you could send them? Do you have a specific offer relating to the shop category that they visited? - This could be highlighted to them as they continue to browse throughout your website.
3. Continuously Improving
As with all digital marketing activity, you should aim to continuously measure and improve your strategy so that you can delivery more highly relevant personalisation experiences to your users. By measuring your results and making small A/B tests, you'll gain real insight in to what works and what doesn't with your audience.
By implementing a solid personalisation plan and leveraging the data that you already have available to you as a business, you can successfully deliver a tailored user experience which is becoming the expectancy of today's users.
Want to discuss how you can improve your customer journey with website personalisation? Speak to our team of digital experts on 0203 397 4155.