No doubt about it, website personalization is a hot topic that marketing pundits everywhere are talking about. It's easy to see why personalization is hot. Start with the fact that upwards of 75% of search users are disappointed if websites don't present content that's relevant and specific to their needs and interests. Personalization solves for this dissatisfaction.
The possibilities seem almost endless when you start thinking about all the ways personalization can save time, increase conversions, make the buying process more personal, make research much more effective, and help both buyers and sellers determine much more quickly if a dialogue they're starting is worth continuing.
Best Practices in Getting Started with Online Personalization
You want your site to personalize to multiple local or regional markets, to support the local presence you have with satellite offices? Piece of cake! The folks at CloudEngage, a geo-strategy firm, reference the 80/20 Rule in advocating that personalization that starts with location and demographic stats can be the lowest hanging fruit for personalization, allowing you to go further, faster by relying on zip code census data and making attitudinal and behavioral judgments about targets.
Going Further: Personalizing for Target Personas
Want to save the most labor intense bottom of the funnel offers for the top 10% of your sales qualified leads? If you're already qualifying leads using behavioral and demograhic data, you've got what you need to make it happen. Leveraging persona segmentation to establish specialized relevance to each of your target personas is a highly strategic approach to personalization that allows you to market to multiple audiences, while presenting a message of specialization and expertise. Getting started, it's as easy as having a thoughtful conversion form strategy that supports progressive segmentation—getting leads to self-select into the right persona category.
How to Decide Where to Devote Resources to Personalization
Start by understanding how your funnel is performing currently. If you're not objectively measuring your sales development funnel, don't even consider investing in personalization yet.
When you have a good grasp for how the funnel is performing, look for the obvious opportunities for improvement (visitor conversion, MQL/SQL progression, lead-to-opportunity conversion rate) and consider how personalization at some point within the funnel and with one portion of your funnel could improve performance.
Assess opportunities you currently have for personalization based on data you're already gathering, to help identify the lower cost ways to begin gaining experience.
Rely on your emerging understanding of the inbound buyers' journey to guide your judgment on selecting points of greatest influence through personalization. Consider that at some points (initial prospect learning, for example) prospects are doing general information gathering, and might resent personalization if they recognize that it's limiting their access to certain informational categories.
Set up clear test scenarios that allow your learning to be relatively clean and unambiguous.
Personalization Isn't a Project
If you consider that personalization is a journey, not a project, and in a lot of ways could be viewed as a continuous improvement strategy, you'll put your business in the best position to make progress that matters without wasting resources or creating more acrimony than consensus. And you'll be moving thoughtfully in a direction that continues to position your business as ever-more helpful and friendly to customers and prospects.
Posted by Greg Linnemanstons With 18+ years in senior management roles at Fortune 500® and medium-sized companies, Greg has deep marketing and sales experience with CPGs and manufacturing. He leads strategic initiatives with clients and is involved in developing client inbound marketing plans. Greg holds an M.B.A. from Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management and a B.A. in Economics from Lawrence University.