Back in June I wrote about the importance of creating a great user experience for content creators. One of the areas I touched on was personalization and how that can help separate your website from your competitors. How important is personalization? According to Gartner analyst Gene Alvarez, “By 2018, Gartner predicts, B2B companies with effective personalization on their e-commerce sites will outsell by 30% competitors without the same level of personalization.”
To join the personalization bandwagon here are six tips to help marketers improve their customer’s experience on their websites.
1. Tailor messages: Being sent a generic e-mail about an upcoming sale on a product line won’t grab my attention if it’s a product I don’t care about. If my history shows that I’m interested in running shoes, send me sale information about running shirts and events in my area. Just as important is making my experience enjoyable. If you send me information that asks me to visit the site for a product I am interested in, make sure that the landing page is tailored to my needs. According to the Custom Content Council, 61% of consumers say they feel better about, and are more likely to buy from, a company that delivers custom content.
2. Intelligent targeting: Visitors will come back to your website if they like what they see and if you make it worth their while. Make sure that you cater to their needs at the time of their visit by personalizing the content on your website according to their interests. Advanced website technologies allow you see where your customer visited last time and so you can make an educated guess on what they are interested in. It’s as simple as offering 10% off on the product they viewed last time instead of a generic 10% coupon.
3. Simplify: I’m a big proponent of the adage Keep It Simple Stupid. Don’t overload me with useless information, get to the point and please make sure that it’s easy for me to navigate your website. It’s very annoying when I have to click on links on five different pages to get to where I want to be. Worse yet are broken links and unreliable, poorly presented search results.
4. Tell me a story: Catching my eye with 35% off or half-year sale is a take it or leave it proposition. It works some of the time when customers need what you’re offering. Make sure that in addition to the offers you’re also sharing high quality tips and advice so I see your company as a destination, not just a low price option. Remember: low prices = low margins and low profits. Instead try telling stories about your products and company. Who are your customers and employees? How can you increase my value from what I buy from you?
5. Stale is boring: One of the things that I don’t like is when a company doesn’t take the time and effort to make their website compelling and up to date. If the latest blog entry is from six months ago, I’m gone. To keep a customer interested in your website, make sure that the content on your website if fresh and timely. If it’s June and I see an add promoting the Super Bowl, you’ve lost me.
6. Think best of breed: Unless you have very deep pocket, trying to reinvent the wheel when it comes to online marketing and e-commerce is a losing proposition. A much better approach is best-of-breed so you have the flexibility to adopt new innovations as they appear on the market. Be sure to select marketing technologies that integrate seamlessly with your content management system, and link your CMS with your e-commerce platform.
Remember that the goal of leveraging personalization technology is to secure loyal customers and help generate more revenue. Ask yourself if your content management system addresses this important issue and, if not, ask yourself why haven’t you changed CMS vendors.