What is web personalisation all about?

Whether they describe it as the emperor's new clothes or another great addition to a web managers toolkit, everyone seems to be talking about web personalisation. 

14 Jan 2013
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Jon Eaton

Certainly we see it as a tool that could help our clients achieve even better results in lead and sales generation. Like every other new online marketing tool understanding where it fits in is part of the process of understanding how it could be valuable. There are certainly some areas of web personalisation that seem similar to Marketing Automation


What is the difference between marketing automation and web personalisation?

Put simply web personalisation is how website content changes based on user activity or location. Marketing Automation is a broader process, where user activity prompts a change in the overall customer experience and engagement both online and offline.

To be done properly Marketing Automation requires a complete evaluation of the customer journey. Web personalisation can be done more simply.

For example, if you are an international business with a big customer base in London you can use web personalisation to provide a unique website journey based on visitor location. The overall message and engagement strategy will probably be similar but the local focus will be strengthened to improve customer engagement. To do this all you would need to do is create ‘London’ versions of your existing web pages.

How else could you use web personalisation?

<span style=":" underline;"="">Supporting SEO: If you know that traffic from certain search terms converts at very high rates then you can adapt landing page content to get even better results. You might strengthen sales messages for these visitors or give greater emphasis to the enquiry points or purchases that you know are popular.

“But us SEO experts have been doing this for ages!” - No you haven’t.

This is a step beyond optimising landing pages to rank higher than the homepage and therefore improve conversion rates from SEO traffic. This is about changing the whole web-journey from Attention to Action with Interest and Desire tickled along the way. For regular visitors pages will remain the same meaning you can boost your conversion rate while retaining a silky smooth user journey.

Referral Traffic: Most websites receive referral traffic. Frequently this traffic is referred for a specific purpose. Typical scenarios might be to book an event, order a brochure or buy a recommended product or service.

Although the visitor’s interest is a given when they click a referring link, you can’t guarantee that they will be sent to the right place.

Why? Because content managers at other sites won’t always do what you expect.

Content editors at external sites may link to your homepage rather than a specific detail page. This increases the chance of someone falling out of the sales funnel. Additionally you might publish a new page on your site which is even more relevant than the current referral link. However, getting a content manager to change their link can take a long time.

The advantage personalisation can give you is that you can choose how referred visitors see your service. Like search visitors the emphasis and messaging can be closely matched against the visitors’ reason for being there. For example a potential event attendee from a referral site should see any special offers based on their association with a partner organisation (because these were probably advertised to attract a click through). Web personalisation allows you to push this offer to referral visitors without telling your other customers that they aren't getting the best deal. 

Previous Activity: If you have website members or subscribers you can use personalisation with other software to modify content based on their previous interactions with you.

As an example if you have a CRM system that tells you ‘Person A’ attended your Big Sales Event for the previous 3 years you can modify content to encourage a repeat registration.

How would you do this? At a simple level registered users would log in to your site and see their personalised message. Alternatively you use Marketing Automation software that logs cookies or their equivalents showing personalised content without the need to log in. Using personalisation alongside well managed email marketing campaigns will also allow you to target without the need for logging in.

What tools do I need to do personalisation?

The purists will tell you that a web developer and designer can do this for you. For non-coders an enterprise level CMS system is a good start. Most of them see personalisation as the next big thing. At Quba we’re championing Sitefinity because its personalisation features allow for a good level of flexibility while retaining the ease of use which makes it a market leader.

Sitefinity's personalisation options are outlined here in terms of top level application and strategy, and you can find the nitty gritty on options for user segmentation here. There is also a video to demonstrate all this for thise who don't want to read he via this link.

More like this?

Check out my blog post on Marketing Automation. You can also email me at jeaton@quba.co.uk or give me a call on 0114 279 7779.


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