What is Personalization?
Personalization is showing targeted content to specific segments of your visitors.
Personalization comes in two flavors:
1. Implicit (behavior based)
2. Explicit (known data based)
The personalization process is shown in the diagram below.
Image from video by Sitecore, ‘How to build a better brand experience with personalization’
Planning personalization involves thinking about what your members need. Think about where your content will be showing, who will see it, and what you are trying to achieve. The above process was outlined in a recent Sitecore video, ‘How to build a better brand experience with personalization’, by Lars Birkholm Petersen, Sitecore VP of Business Optimization. In this video he explains the benefits of personalization and how it can help brands build a better experience. This process map allows for organizations to have a plan for getting started with personalization, which may at times seem like a daunting task. At the end of the day, it is a Crawl, Walk, Run approach that leads organizations to make changes in the user experience to benefit their customers and increase conversions. Marketers also learn to understand the best ways to use personalization for maximizing and managing this improvement.
Planning personalization involves thinking about what your members need. Think about where your content will be showing, who will see it, and what you are trying to achieve.
The following 10 tactics come from Sitecore’s ’10 Personalization Tactics’ whitepaper.
Tactic #1: Give first-time visitors a special welcome
Note: Not all first-time visitors are new. They could be using a new device. We recommend keeping the welcome message brief, and then quickly move them to a topic they are interested in.
- It is as true for websites as it is for people - first impressions last a lifetime.
- New visitors represent a special opportunity, and not just because you have a chance to nab someone who has not visited your site previously.
- By giving them a special welcome through personalization, you are telling them how much you appreciate them.
Tactic #2: Treat existing customers like existing customers
- There is nothing worse for a customer than buying a product or service through a website, only to return the next day to see a promotion for what they just purchased asking them to invest in it over and over again.
- Focusing on existing customers can also help reduce support calls and other customer service inquiries, thus reducing costs in those channels.
Tactic #3: Connect and retarget inbound experiences
- Linking outbound campaigns and inbound traffic to personalized experiences can reduce spending on outbound efforts while maintaining conversions or potentially generating more conversions from the same spend.
- If a search campaign for a specific feature of a product was interacted with, personalize the content on the site for that visit to promote that feature or benefit.
Tactic #4: Leverage geolocation
- With a geolocation service, you can get information about a customer’s country, state, metro area, city, or ZIP code.
- Personalize for chapters or events in their location.
Tactic #5: Connect personalization to conversions
- Static sites often promote the same call to actions (CTAs) - sign up for a newsletter, download a whitepaper, register for a special offer. These CTAs often occupy a site’s best real estate, for good reason as they generate valuable conversions, even leads.
- Instead of asking them to sign up for a newsletter, you could personalize the experience by offering them, for example, a membership with special benefits.
Tactic #6: Take their mobile context into account
- Your customers are on the go—they’re mobile, walking on the street, passing through the airport, commuting from work, etc.
- Their attention span is also getting shorter. This is your chance to deliver a relevant experience based on their mobile context.
- Instead of just presenting a responsive site, take full advantage of their devices by using insights about location or venue to provide the most relevant experience.
Tactic #7: Take advantage of visitor profiling
Note: This depends on the capabilities of your CMS Platform or Marketing Solutions.
- Most sites have different sections, such as Products, Services, Pricing, Our Blog, About Us, Contact Us, and Careers, to name a few. Knowing which of these sections a customer is engaging with can help determine their intent.
- Profiling based on implicit behavior, combined with explicit behavior allows for a more strategic approach to personalization.
Tactic #8: Score your customers
Note: This scoring may be available in multiple systems, a strategic decision needs to be made in that case for which scoring system to use or how they connect.
- A lead score can help determine a visitor’s likelihood to become a customer based on their digital activities. Their lead score—low, medium, or high—can be used to show relevant content that helps move them through the stages of sale or down that oft-cited sales funnel.
- A “churn score” can help you understand if an existing customer is about to leave. This is especially applicable to companies with content regarding a customer’s contract, their business terms, or cancellation steps. Churn scores are particularly pertinent if you measure the Lifetime Values (LTV) of your customers.
Tactic #9: Let customers connect with social media accounts
- Capture customer information when they use their social credentials from Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, for example, to sign in to your site.
- Analyzing segment behavior with social data can help you understand who your personas are or the difference in behavior based on age, gender, and interests (if the customer allows that information to be shared from their social channels). This, in return, can be used to acquire new customers based on those matching your segments.
Tactic #10: Make a journey map
- While it takes more effort and experience, preparing a journey map is one of the most fruitful exercises we recommend to clients, especially those who already have a solid understanding of the intent and objectives of their customers at different stages.
- The result of mapping the buyer’s journey is that you will provide your customers with an experience personalized to a specific milestone. This means they will be more engaged and deeper engagement leads to more conversions.
Sitecore has created many more personalization resources that are indispensable to marketers looking to implement personalization.
Ready to implement these ideas? Your plan of attack should go as follows:
- Start by building a 360° view of your audience. Understand the data available and connect the silos.
- Personalization comes next, and comes in many forms. Create a strategy for what your audiences will benefit from most, and prioritize efforts by level of effort and impact for the member experience.