Being addressed as Sir/Madam - who’s a fan? It might make you feel kind of important initially, but it’s not very personal, is it? And as humans, we definitely respond better to a personal touch.
That’s certainly true when it comes to online content. A 2018 study by Epsilon revealed that 80% of consumers are more likely to buy from brands who offer a personalised experience. It can greatly boost conversion rates, increase average order value and generally improve the whole customer experience.
What’s more, a personalised content strategy can span across everything from your website copy to social media posts, ads and even webinars – each format tapping into individual customer segments for big results. Sounds pretty sweet!
But if it was that simple surely everyone would be doing it, right? Well, to a certain extent they have been; just have a quick look in your email inbox. I’m fairly sure the majority of brands that found their way in there have addressed you by name. It’s personalisation on a very basic level – but harnessing the real power of it goes beyond that opening line of an email.
With that said, here are a few tips from me on how best to succeed with personalised content.
Collect data – and lots of it
Knowing your customer is so important – it’s actually the key to unlocking the success of personalised content. And the only way you can really know them is to gather a bunch of data on their behaviour, their likes, their dislikes and everything in between.
If you haven’t done so already, create some customer personas and decide on some specific attributes you want to collect from them. It doesn’t have to be difficult; in fact, many customers will be willing to give away their data for free if it’s in return for a personalised deal or offer.
Dish up some dynamic content
Machine learning makes it possible to deliver different content to different people based on a variety of factors. This could be their browsing behaviour, their demographic or their purchase history. Pretty cool, right? It’s called dynamic content, and it’s essential to personalisation.
This content can come in many different formats, so you’ll want to experiment with what works for your business and your individual campaigns. Here are just a few ways you can incorporate dynamic content into your website:
- Search functionality – Suggesting different search terms in the moment can speed up the browsing/buying process for your customers.
- Calls to action – Don’t just have a blanket CTA in the footer of every page. Tailor it to what your customer might be trying to achieve in different areas of your website.
- Recommendations – Many retailers already make good use of personalised recommendations (with Amazon leading the way), but this doesn’t have to stop at product recs. You could also recommend content they might enjoy.
Consistency of messaging
Successful personalisation is all about covering each touchpoint of the buying process – the end-to-end customer journey, if you will. And in an omnichannel environment, that could be across numerous platforms and devices, so you need to make sure your messaging is consistent across all of them.
It can be super frustrating when these messages don’t line up – it’s like your customer has to start all over again trying to find that particular offer or message that caught their eye. And if they can’t find it quickly, they’re likely to drop off.
A good way to cover this is to tailor content based on the referral source. If you know a visitor has arrived via a particular social post, then send them to a unique landing page. If they’ve clicked through via an email, show them a banner with the same messaging on it.
Context is key
We’ve all seen it before; brands incessantly pushing suncream and sunglasses in June even though it’s raining outside. Not particularly useful! Personalisation is all about being relevant, so customer context is incredibly important.
Think about different times of day, the season, the weather, whether they’re at work or commuting. What would they expect to see, and what would they find useful?
Don’t overdo it…
Once you’ve witnessed the benefits, it can be more than tempting to personalise everything and anything in your digital marketing strategy. After all, it’s proven to increase conversions, so surely it’ll work right across the board? Yeah, not quite. Overdoing it risks narrowing down your audience segments too much, potentially hiding your wider range of products/services from people who could be interested.
…and think ethically
While plenty are singing its praises, not everyone is going to be the biggest fan of personalisation. For many, it could feel like an invasion of privacy, especially if you’re targeting them too often. Ever been talking about a particular topic, and suddenly you’re seeing ads on your smartphone on the same subject? It can get creepy, and people are pretty attuned to it lately so just be mindful.
It also calls into question the issue of compliance. In the age of GDPR you need to be very careful about how you use people’s data, so make sure you fully disclose how you’re capturing it and what for.
Personalised content and tailored user journeys are only going to gain more traction in the upcoming months and years, so you can’t afford to turn a blind eye. You don’t need to jump in head-first, just start to really think about what your customers want and how you can be as helpful as possible at every stage of their journey. The rest will follow!
And remember – your customer data really is your best friend when it comes to personalised website content. Use it often, use it wisely and keep on collecting it.