How good is your site when it comes to personalisation of content?
You’re probably reading this because you are aware, that your association’s site is due a overhaul. What should you do? Does this ring bells?
- You do not use keyword phrases or metadata to label your content, aka SEO fail
You treat the form and function of your website as you would a printed document- does it resize itself to the user’s device screens?
It is difficult to navigate your site- there’s no apparent navigation system
The links and forms are not tested enough and the functionality fails you often
There’s too little content on pages
Or, there’s too many of everything (clashing colours, too many font sizes and too many graphics that are not necessary and adds to the download time)
If any, or all of these apply to you, then you are way overdue a website re-vamp. Website management is a long way away from the thankless and often skeletal presence it used to be for the tech-savvy users. As the customer presence increased, so did the online marketplace- the customer can now choose to view the content they wish to see, not what they had to sit through amidst their favourite TV show or on the commute in to work. This means that companies will now have to establish their online presence and ‘metadata’, to make themselves visible to their target client, should they choose to ever search for the keywords relating to the company.
Navigating this article have a look at these sections:
- In the customers’ opinion
- Why you should personalise your website
- Some do-s and don’ts of Personalisation
- Checklist when personalising your website
1. In the customers’ opinions
Below we will look at what we have found from customers who have given us their thoughts on how they found targeted, or personalised content when browsing. Have a look at what companies the likes of Janrain and Hubspot has found in terms of customer response to personalised content and call to actions as opposed to generic content delivery.
If you are not convinced that it is not worth the effort to to update your site with personalized content, it may interest you to know that:
- 74% of customers told Janrain that they get frustrated with websites when they are exposed to content that has nothing to do with their interests.
- Hubspot has found that out of over 93,000 users, 42% of users had viewed to submission from targeted call to actions (CTA) than when presented with the same CTAs for all. That is, if you showed 20-30 year olds from UK an ad relevant to them, they were more likely to confirm subscription, or fill that form, or share that content- rather than, say, you showed a generic, fit-for-all ad that may not apply to everybody.
- A Monetate/eConsultancy Study found that in-house marketers who are personalising web experiences (and quantifying the improvement) saw a 19% uplift in sales in 2013. What this means is, testing, rather than intuition, results in successful websites. People like personalised approaches, tailored call to actions and relevant content.
2. Why you should personalise your website
Personalised websites are for users what chocolate fudge cakes are for chocoholics- makes the user warm and gooey and happy all around
Remember the feeling you had when you took a bite into your favourite dessert for the very first time? The warm gooey bite full of delight. Now picture yourself clicking on your site for the first time. What your customer wants is that feeling- that shot of euphoria when they notice that the site they clicked on was loading exceptionally fast; that the site was well organised, and responsive (which deserves a whole post of its own).
As the saying goes- first impressions last- for people, and the same stands true in case of online impressions. Just as we make our office receptions, our posters and our suits exude professionalism, so should our website: our online office, our online marketing powerhouse and the one-stop shop for our potential customers.
If done well, they are easier to navigate and use
There is no need for an answer to why the private healthcare business has been flourishing when there is already a free and well-established healthcare system like the NHS. It is because we like the personalised, slick approach to client-interaction and service. Despite having a “free” paid-for system, we like the fast service, the personalised treatment and we’d happily pay more for such a service, given the choice. It is the same for websites. Which would you choose- the personalised treatment or the generic multi-pager without any warmth?
It would be a great use of all that data collected on how your visitors use the website and re-invested to generate ROI
The saying goes data never lies. What would you feel more confident with: a site that is expensive and you think it will work well with your market, or a site that is tested and that users have responded to? Just have a look at StumbleUpon’s customer dip after its major re-vamp, leading to the conclusion that while the site may be new, improved and works well, this may not be what the users of StumbleUpon wanted.
Using the above-mentioned data, you can repackage your content adequately- thus gaining more clients
What with Google SEO changes, your online presence is now more valuable than ever. Google Analytics, among other tools, lets you use this user data to add in the keyword phrases that your target customers might search for. You can build up your company’s credibility and online presence organically with a good SEO and website strategy.
Above all, personalising your website is a great opportunity to audit your content (which might even predate your time with the company) and realign it with your brand
Ever come across a content or piece of work at your company that sounds almost relevant, but needs a little update? Now is the best time to audit your content and re-use, recycle and renew your content to align with your website’s content/marketing strategy. Time spent updating an article is time saved in research, original content creation, and developing a unique stance. Your content is likely to be relevant years to come, just with some updates along the way, as the rules change with the time.
3. Some do-s and don’ts of Personalisation
By now you should all be convinced that personalising your website is in the best interest of your organisation as well as your client. So here are some do’s and don’ts for making the change, for personalising your website.
- Iterate changes quickly and measure results (use metrics such as Marketing Attribution to provide comparisons of the effects of personalisation tactics)
- Separate content from presentation (keep a structured central repository of content. Use tags, categories and custom fields to store content together with its personalisation-specific information such as targeting filters or persona-specific messages)
- Look for ideas in your data, by using predictive analytics. It can detect hidden data trend and generate ideas on how to use personalisation to drive a predictable improvement in business metrics
- Do follow the bakery model and produce small changes quickly in a staggered manner and measure successes to implement more changes.
- Don’t take the water fall approach (as opposed to a staggered approach), where all the changes are implemented all at once- but very delayed, costing months of productivity if it had been staggered otherwise
- Don’t rely heavily on unstructured content- audit thoroughly and restructure your personalised content with re-use in mind
- Don’t take blind guesses or go with your ‘feelings’- use data to back up your guesses and configure proper tracking to figure out the art (and science) or personalisation.
- Don’t under-estimate the time it will take to re-do your website.
4. Checklist when personalising your website
Elective or Ascribed?
We are all familiar with that pesky ad banner on a lot of webpages where it brings up stuff you may have searched for once in the last 12 months. (Made me regret looking at wedding dresses on a lazy afternoon for the next 6 months or so, same with another curious search for baby tuxedos- aren’t they the cutest?! Not after being bombarded with Next shopping sites though) These are just some personal experiences of Ascribed personalisation, where the algorithms give you suggestions based on what you have looked at in the past.
Elective approach, on the other hand, gave the clients the control and put the choice as to what they find important in their hands. A prime example is the company Sales Benchmark Index, whereby the visitors can choose their professional ‘role’ to get inbox-ed the content related to these roles. For instance, one can sign up from roles beginning with ‘sales rep’ to HR leader, sales or marketing leader and finally a CEO. The greatest thing about this is that the choice is in the user’s hands. Whether they are a marketing “leader” or an admin assistant aspiring to be a CEO, the reader’s behavioural interests are given a back seat to what they actually think they are interested in.
So good luck on your journey. Whether you decide to personalize using an ascribed or elective approach, there are cases for each. Contrastingly, you may wish to use both in different areas of your website. The principal point of personalisation is to help your company achieve its goals, whatever they may be.
Make sure you think about:
What your goals are for visitors
What your Call to Actions are
How you will personalise and how the users use your website
What the visitors use it for
Then decide where you will personalise.
And above all, measure your results, and make the changes measureable so that you can go back to the drawing board with more, or different changes, and re-develop your communications and media strategy.
Each of the case studies we had moved the visitor down their marketing funnel (because as we all know, marketing is never a one step process) in a meaningful way. Know your goals and then work to move your visitors from how they use the website to how you want them to use the website in a very meaningful way.
Finally, use data from what’s already out there as your freely available road-tested examples. Look at competitors and how that works better (or worse) than your site in order to do a better job! Google Analytics happily provides you with statistics on all websites’ measurable, landing pages, time on page etc. Use it wisely and you can create a killer site.