What is website personalization?

Customers tend to gravitate towards brands that pay attention to their specific wants and needs, and the art of tailoring a website based on visitor preferences is called website personalization. In today's competitive online world, delivering these contextual customer experiences results in faster conversions, a better retention rate, and positive word of mouth.

Website personalization involves analyzing customer information—including their demographics, interests, and behaviors—to help you create and deliver campaigns, content, and experiences that resonate with your target audience.

What is the difference between website personalization and customization ?

Personalization provides a tailored experience based on a consumer's previous website interactions such as past purchase history, product clicks, or interests. In contrast, customization is when you modify a product/service to suit your customer's particular needs or preferences.

In simpler terms, customization is when the customer changes something to their liking, whereas website personalization is when the seller preemptively makes the changes that might suit the customer's preferences.

Here's an illustration. When you walk into a small cafe for the first time, you tend to read the entire menu and choose the dish you like or customize it the way you want. You ask the waiter for a window table along with your favorite monthly magazine. This is an example of a customized experience.

A personalized experience is when you walk into the same cafe a few days later, and the waiter remembers your previous order customizations, your preferable seat, and your favorite magazine and offers all these to you without you having to ask. This gives a personal touch to the customer experience.

What is the difference between website personalization and A/B testing ?

While A/B testing and website personalization share the same goal—optimization—they are not the same thing. In fact, A/B testing is a data-driven method that precedes website personalization and is used to make the personalized experience better. Before you even segment your audience, A/B testing helps you find the best-performing website design to apply across the board for your marketing campaign.

After A/B testing identifies which of your website design variations results in higher conversions for a given audience, website personalization takes that winning design and customizes it further for each individual.

For example, you give a box of crayons to 2 kids each, along with a sunny landscape, to start coloring. Like everyone else, you would assume that both the kids would color the sky blue. However, it turned out that one of them had colored it orange, thereby giving it a completely different outlook to the picture. Now, you can conduct similar experiments on different kids and track how many of them color the sky blue vs orange. The result of this experiment is the effectiveness of AB testing.

Benefits of improving website personalization on your website

Let's dive deeper to see what kinds of benefits you'd get when use personalization for your web pages.

Better data insights

You don't have to rely too much on your gut when tailoring your website, because website personalization starts with collecting data to understand what buyers are looking for. This allows you to offer it to them in real time. Eventually, it's all about what should drive your audience's attention so that you can tailor the content accordingly— which comes from data analysis and emulating what the numbers tell you to do.

Optimized landing pages

Some customers already know what they want when they land on your website, so personalizing it helps them avoid a lengthy search process. Making it easier for your customer to get what they are seeking as soon as they arrive is a great way to increase customer happiness.

For example, If you're using Zoho Pagesense, you can easily target visitors who have interacted with your ad campaign and display relevant landing pages to the customer.

Faster sales cycles

It's a rare scenario for customers to purchase a product or a service on their initial visit to a website. Personalizing your site provides a better user experience for these first-timers.

Recent Instapage statistics tell us, "Personalized homepage promotions influenced 85% of consumers to buy."

Knowledge about your audience

What's your audience's overall demographic profile? What device do they use to visit your website? How much time do they spend on your page? In order to know your customers’ decision-making processes and your target audience, you need to get your hands on these metrics.

For example, here's how you can That's something you can achieve through content personalization.

Lower bounce rates

A lower bounce rate can help websites make their way to the top of search engines, thereby increasing the chances of getting discovered through organic search. With website personalization, you can not only level up website engagement and conversions, you can also reduce your bounce rate.

Website Personalization best practices

Before you start personalizing your website, here are some pointers to keep in mind.

Collect relevant data

Ensure that the data you collect correlates with your website personalization goals. People often wonder, "How am I supposed to get the right information without a form?" You do this by picking the right criterion that's relevant to your experiment. Also, if you're using software like Zoho PageSense or third-party tools to collect your data, your tools must integrate seamlessly to have a clearer view of the overall data.

Tailor your content strategy

Tailor messages that are relevant to your target audience. Make sure that you're consistent with your messaging across different social media platforms to avoid confusion and misconceptions.

Execute automated tests

Website Personalization is all about testing periodically to drive good conversions. You never know when your experiment will achieve your desired conversion rates.

Avoid hyper-personalization

Instead of utilizing every single bit of data you've collected from a particular customer, focus on how you can meet their needs without making it too personal. Don't micro-target a customer or a specific segment. Although targeted website personalization provides maximum assistance, there's a thin line between being impressive and invasive.

Don't limit your ideas to a one segment

For your website personalization, you start off by segmenting your audience based on their preferences. But don't limit your efforts and ideas to any particular segment. Experiment with similar ideas for different segments for an overall increase in website conversions.

Don't violate your user's privacy

People know what they want, and to meet those demands, site owners must offer a personalized, contextual experience. At the same time, they must avoid being overly invasive. For example, don't collect customer data that you don't need. Also, with the stringency of privacy laws, you need to get explicit consent from your customers before using their data. Finally, if you're using third-party software, be aware of how they use your customers' data and make sure it's inline with your own principles.

Industry-based examples of website personalization

Nowadays industries are willing to venture into offering a meaningful conceptual experience to their customers. Let's take a look at how a few industries can benefit from website personalization.

B2B industry

Although B2B is a tough market to please, once you offer a personalized website experience, it helps you develop a stronger relationship with customers even before the sales process. Your target audience is from small to large enterprises, all of them with complex needs and priorities to match.

The most common B2B website personalization strategy is to help visitors find relevant content by offering one-to-one recommendations.

Don't showcase all your content/guides/ebooks on one page. Instead, you can start by collecting data on the previously downloaded/viewed content pieces, the type of industry they are from, IP addresses, and other related data to offer relevant content throughout the entire site.

Ecommerce industry

All the current statistics prove that website personalization has become one of the most significant marketing tactics in the current B2C industry. Here are some classic examples of ecommerce personalization:

  • Product recommendations based on a visitor’s browsing behavior
  • Tailoring discounts to meet individual needs
  • Category menu personalization based on visitor interests
  • Personalizing content based on audience segmentation
  • Real-time notifications to customers when they are on the website

Travel industry

Most travel brands personalize their website in real time based on the visitor data to make their communication more effective and help their visitors choose the right package. How?

  • Tracking IP addresses: Some websites create travel recommendations based on places a visitor has frequently visited or searched for information about.
  • Analyzing a user's search history on the website: Travel websites track a customer's chosen travel dates or destination searches on their website. When the customer logs into the website, there's a personal greeting and the abandoned tour package saved in the cart. A few websites capitalize on social proofing, such as the number of customers who have purchased the package, displaying the hotel rooms left, or customer testimonials/reviews to create urgency and drive faster conversions.

Entertainment industry

These days, online platforms will regularly recommend songs/movies/TV shows they think a customer might enjoy. Some companies offer extremely curated one-to-one recommendations, which means no other user will have the same suggestion list. This tactic introduces customers to the newest or trending songs and matches their likes and interests based on individual taste. Most social media platforms we use implement algorithms that focus on customer experience to great effect.

Personalization is the new expectation

Never underestimate the power of personal touch. 71% of consumers feel frustrated when a shopping experience is impersonal. This marketing tactic lets you take advantage of your existing traffic and convert your website visitors into customers! When you treat your customers as individuals, you'll find they're much more likely to return and make repeat purchases.

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