Personalise Your Online Customer Experience

Execute Personalisation Strategies on your Website

Recently I ran a workshop for a global automotive manufacturing company about personalisation. Working on increasing online conversion, we examined data which we could leverage to create 1:1 real-time personalisation.

As we worked through the workshop we touched on driving a visitor to the home page vs. a product landing page, and what impact personalised content generates to the rate of conversion.

I’m sharing how we logically came to our conclusion in the hope that it will help make your own decisions about executing personalisation strategies on your site.

When developing our approach on where and what to personalise we had to consider channel marketing, personalisation appropriateness, and maximising opportunities for conversion.

Channel Marketing - Lead Acquisition

Running digital display ads is effective to generate click-through traffic. But it comes at a price, which means we need to effectively measure and use the website as a means to support conversion once the visitor arrives to the site.

First of all, it is critical to understand the purpose of the ad - brand awareness, brand affinity, purchase intent. Taking a pragmatic approach, you need to write the campaign purpose down and come up with goals if you haven’t already done so. For example - 20% increase in enquiries, 10 increase of time spent on products page, etc etc. By doing this you can start to align your approach to the goals you want to achieve. Sounds simple right?

Next you need develop a visitor intent chart to review each step in your customer journey. This process is critical to developing your personalisation strategy. Consumers do more of their own research and they engage with a variety of content that influences their buying and decision making. If you don’t have a deep understanding about the customer’s intent and precisely align this with an online campaign, you will not unlock the benefits on personalisation.

Using Personalisation Correctly

The approach we take with clients on their digital maturity factors in analytics. Customer data is how we’re going to personalise. The richer the data about a visit, the better the experience we can provide. Every visit generates data about that person, which can be collected over multiple visits to your site. You can use this to engage with a visitor based on their intent at different stages of their customer life-cycle, to develop strategies that creates customers and long-term brand advocates.

Landing Page Personalisation Best Practise

Directing a visit to a landing page will depend on the purpose. Landing pages are often best utilised on product launches, promotional campaigns, and events, where the content and message is vastly different and the intent of a customer can be assumed based on the ad attraction and clear cut objectives of the page - buy now, sign up, win, or rebrand.

Personalisation comes into the equation on a landing page in two-fold. Firstly, because landing pages are transactional it will have a call-to-action where the visitor will submit a form. If you don’t have a call-to-action on your landing page, revisit why you are building this in the first place (explained later on). Capturing a visitors details shows visit intent and creates a source of rich data that can be used to trigger content through web, mobile, email, and social. Initially, the method of generating the quickest results is to use trigger-based personalised messages from the details captured in a sign up and running trigger messages over short period to draw the visitor back through personalised content. A simple personalised email trigger can help identify the customer intent and develop higher online engagement that will help them achieve a goal on your site.

Secondly, rules-based personalisation on explicit information you can utilise (such as repeat visit, campaign triggered) is an easy way to ensure that the message isn’t lost after the visitor leaves the landing page, especially given you’ve paid for this visit. Enabling this across the site will maximise the chance of conversion on repeat visits.

Home Page Personalisation

Driving traffic to a home page is an excellent way to develop awareness and cycle a visitor through stages of research and awareness. Designing and implementing personalisation on a home page takes time but it the most effective in today’s online customer experience techniques. The homepage is, for all websites, consistently the most frequented page. Being the most frequented indicates that visitors have a verity of intent. Critical to activating a personalised experience is to use the data to map a visitor’s stage in the cycle of their engagement with the site.

Content and site design is equally as important in the process in order to ensure the information is clear and accessible no matter what intent that visitor has on the site. Using a visitor intent chart, you can map the customer journey with content that is applicable to their intent.

Just add rich customer data. Yes, we need the customer data now so we can analyse each visit on your website, map their stage in the customer journey and surface content based on that intent. Switch uses a software solution called Sitecore to do the heavily lifting and execute personalisation rules in real-time as the visitor interacts with your site. Sitecore is the most effective solution for personalisation as it is architected to manage business logic and content to execute digital experiences across any channel. It does this by housing the data, content, and UX in one software stack so there are silos of customer experience.

Quick Wins & Long-term Visions

It’s easy to get started with personalised experiences on digital channels. The best place to start is the landing pages as the ROI can be mapped in a short period of time. Demonstrating the increase in conversion on a campaign or promotional landing page using personalisation will help you start your journey to digital maturity and reinforce the concepts within your online marketing program.

Advanced personalisation using behavioural tracking, persona matching, and visit cycle of engagement is possible to achieve using the right tools and techniques and has the most effective long term results. Planning and developing visitor journey maps of intent can be applied to your digital marketing strategy that will encourage your visitor to have higher engagement through digital channels. As a result the site will hit KPIs, increase conversion, and develop advocates for your brand.

— Nick Jones

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