Personalisation Simplified

A Personalisation Strategy in Six Simple Steps

It is a truth universally acknowledged that personalisation brings marketing results and improved return on marketing investment. A study by Econsultancy revealed that 93% of organisations that use personalisation see an uplift in conversion through their website. But, while most marketers accept that it should be the new standard practice, it’s still a technique that many struggle to implement effectively. We see this first-hand with some of our own clients; but there are some basic steps that can be taken to create personalised experiences across all your digital channels. This post provides a bit of an insight into the approach we take, here at Switch.

1. Choose your Channels

First of all, decide which channels makes the most sense for your business to personalise - this can be based on three factors:

  • Highest traffic
  • Largest subscriber/ customer base
  • Membership/ Loyalty business
  • A combination of the above

2. Select Your Solution

It is of the utmost importance that you have the right solution that meets the needs of your organisation. Price tags are never a good indication of technology fit for your business. Instead, the technology decision should come down to the following elements:

  • Marketing channel for customer acquisition
  • Integration with critical/legacy business application
  • In-house digital skills (digital maturity)

This is a simplified breakdown of the key elements that will support your decision in choosing the best technology for your needs. If you have aspirations for cutting-edge digital marketing and want to integrate with your current systems, I recommend seeking a well-rounded solution like Sitecore.

The next step is to start planning for personalisation. Assuming that you have now invested in a platform for personalisation, it’s time to create a strategy for one-to-one personalisation.

3. Create your Customer Journey Map

In order to personalise effectively, you need to create a customer journey map to see the different customer touch points and how your content can support a purchase or customer life-cycle. If you’re new to the concept of customer journey mapping, I would suggest the best way to begin is to role-play a real-life example. Sitecore also has a very useful guide to creating ‘Digital Relevancy Maps’ (their own methodology for customer journey mapping)..

Once you have completed this customer journey map, you’ll need to highlight the online and offline customer touch points and marketing channel types; for example, billboards = offline, above the line marketing.

4. Double Down on Content Creation

Now that you’re aiming to treat customers as individuals, you’ll need more content that’s relevant to each of your personalisation scenarios. Start thinking about every image and text on every email, web page, or print asset as an area of content real estate that can be personalised to the individual. Don’t worry- you won’t need to personalise everything as it will be impossible to keep track of which content is dynamic and which isn’t. Instead, choose a few high impact content spots on which to focus your efforts, such as the hero banner and your sidebar.

5. Set the Rules

There can be limitations based on the technology you have implemented; however, if you’re using a tool like Sitecore Experience Platform (XP), the sky’s the limit. Start with basic rules using explicit data such as location or number of visits. This can be easily managed and is relevant to a large audience group. Granular and layered personalisation rules can be explored as the organisation advances in digital maturity and you begin to identify high value personalisation use cases.

Before executing a personalisation rule, it’s important to create a hypothesis to document rules so that your personalisation strategy is scalable and helps you to keep track of which new rules to test.

Here’s a simple personalisation example:

If visitor has fewer than 3 visits

Display a pop-up modal with a 10% discount code

6. Rinse and Repeat…

But remember – always test and have a plan!

No personalisation is complete without a test to show its success rate. Sitecore has built-in multi-variant testing but, if you’re using a different solution without built-in content testing, Optimisely offers cookie-based content testing which is recommend for beginners.

When running test, like personalisation, it is fundamental to have a strategy and plan what you’re testing. There’s tons of data that you can collect and use to run a test and each business/department will have different key performance indicators to measure. Define and agree upon these before running a test. For example, if you want to use ‘conversions’ as the testing benchmark, you’ll first need to define what is meant be a ‘conversion’, then run the testing over a time period and decide the sample size. Start small if it’s your first personalisation exercise.

Personalisation can work for all website types, but it requires the right tools, techniques and planning. When implementing personalisation for clients, we see consistent improvement to conversions so it’s a worthy investment which can directly impact your bottom line. Marketing to the masses is a lottery, it’s expensive and is near impossible to measure. Developing a personalisation strategy has measurable results – and with the help of Switch’s client services – we can guarantee successful implementation and organisational digital maturity.

Good luck and keep it relevant!

— Nick Jones

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