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How Personalizing Websites With Dynamic Content Increases Engagement

Judge Graham
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Updating your site with new content isn't enough to successfully drive web sales. You have to create dynamic web experiences that quickly encourage customers to convert. Personalizing the content makes this possible.

By creating a dynamic web experience through personalized content, you can quickly move customers to conversion, which can dramatically shorten the sales cycle.

Personalization Has Benefits

It's now possible for any marketer to deploy personalized websites thanks to today's technological advances. Serving up generic content is a thing of the past.

You can cut through the clutter and filter out the noise by making the web experience more relevant to the individual. It's a more targeted approach that's been proven to be much more effective.

When you provide a personalized experience, visitors remain on your website longer, download more offers, and ultimately purchase more products.

Amazon and Netflix are prime examples of the successful application of personalized content. As seen below, Amazon.com customizes the content of the homepage based on products you have viewed in the past:

Amazon Related to Items You've Viewed

Amazon and Neflix have set the bar for personalization. Visitors to their sites view customized content based on:

  • Unique viewing history
  • Ratings
  • Past purchases

As users increase engagement, the website content delivered is enhanced correspondingly.

Personalized Content is a Proven Entity

The concept of personalizing an individual's marketing experience isn't new. When it was applied to email marketing, it revolutionized the way people were targeted.

Before personalization, emails were sent en masse to an entire mailing list and the results were spotty at best. Segmentation changed all that. Once marketers began segmenting based on interests, personas, industries, etc., and customized their efforts to a particular list, performance improved dramatically.

This bodes well for segmentation and personalized content on your website. When a shopper visits an ecommerce website, their likelihood to convert correlates to the experience that they have on your website. Displaying relevant content on your website has proven to significantly increase conversions.

From an organic search standpoint, displaying relevant content related to page content provides more products to a specific consumer so that they engage the page longer, search for more products, and provides a robust, personalized, shopping experience. Having personalized content geared toward the searchers query on the page also provides a strong signal to Google of what the page is about, further enhancing the organic traffic to the page.

Another factor that supports the incorporation of personalized content comes from Forrester research, which found that 90 percent of cart abandonment leads go cold within one hour and the likelihood of conversion diminishes as the clock ticks away. Customers who abandon their cart however, and then return to complete their purchase spend on average 55 percent more than those who complete purchases the first time. The time delay between abandonment and return allows you time to influence the purchase decision through targeted personalized content.

A multi-brand women's online retailer determined their online customers experienced challenges when attempting to figure out which size would fit best while shopping between brands.

The retailer reached out to Monetate, which specializes in providing eCommerce site personalization through technology, and asked for help to personalize their customers' experiences. Using Monetate and leveraging past purchase behavior for customers with accounts, the retailer was able to dynamically serve up personalized sizes for each product that had the right fit and increased transaction values by over 14 percent for returning customers.

Time to Make Your Website More Dynamic

The social media revolution of the past few years has completely changed the way we use and experience the web; it's now more about the user, user engagement, and user-driven content. Now we are currently on the brink of a new web transformation: dynamic website personalization.

Dynamic website personalization (DWP) is the ability to dynamically change the content, messaging, and offers displayed to a select visitor based on a set criteria. The criteria can be designed in almost any way imaginable: website behavior, actions, stage of the buying process, content interests, etc.

The technology to make this a reality is already available. Companies such as Marketo, HubSpot, and Pardot have been using the power of dynamic content and their platforms to drive one-to-one customization based upon collected and observed information from website visitors.

The Psychology Behind Personalizing Website Content

By analyzing consumer activity and re-architecting site content in real-time you can reflect a consumer's true interests. You can maximize engagement, brand preference, loyalty, and sales by delivering highly personalized experiences that customize your site to each visitor based on current and past behaviors (clicks, searches, views, etc.), as well as additional information provided, including page views or social network cues such as "Likes" or "Favorites".

You can increase online conversions with real-time recommendations based on rich web behavioral data.

The truth is customers are only interested in what their specific needs are and don't care to see other information.

When a visitor enters a site, you need to provide personalized content about their desired entity of the brand. Content should be updated each time they return to the site to encourage movement down the sales funnel without being distracted or turned off by information they don't need.

How to Personalize Content for Greater Engagement

In order to take full advantage of personalized content, on-page content and targeted emails should be used together. This ensures the customer only sees an offer that moves him/her to the next stage in the purchase funnel.

You need to focus the content creation process, instead of taking a broad approach. Buyer's personas should be used to determine what type of content you should create and how much content it takes to be successful.

Various content options are available that can be used to create a personalized and engaging web experience and include:

  • Home page content
  • Product level recommendations
  • Cross selling based on relevant complementary products

The real-time content should be based upon the individual's browse behavior, for example:

  • What they have purchased in the past
  • What products they've browsed
  • The products in their shopping cart
  • Abandoned products

Segment dynamic content by:

  • Demographics and Psychographic Segmentation: Characteristics about the individual, including name, phone, and email address as well as pertinent psychographic segmentation data that may be available.
  • Past behavior: Responses to emails or actions taken on your website can help inform you of a person's interests and/or place in the buying cycle.
  • Products or services already purchased: Using information about past purchases can help you up-sell or cross-sell relevant products or services.
  • Psychographics and preferences: This takes into consideration a prospect's interests, attitudes, and opinions.

How to Get Started?

There are plenty of options available to small and large businesses to begin displaying dynamic content. One example is Visual Website Optimizer (starting at $49 per month), which provides a simple line of code that allows you to target consumers based on multiple variables and deliver dynamic content.

A perfect use case would be if you sell cell phone accessories and use Google Analytics to determine Mac users typically purchase iPhone accessories. You can use Visual Website Optimizer to dynamically edit the products shown on your homepage to focus on iPhone products for any visitors on an Apple product.

Another simple use case would be to display specific content on your homepage or landing page based on search terms that brought each user to your site.

Visual Website Optimizer provides the following options to target users by:

  • Current URL
  • Referring URL
  • Visitor Type (Returning or First Time)
  • Search Keywords
  • Cookie Value (can be customized based on pages visited or time on site)
  • Query Parameter (can be based on campaign which drove a visitor to your site)
  • Operating System
  • Mobile Device
  • Browser
  • Day of Week
  • Hour of the Day
  • Location

Here's how you would target site content to mobile phone visitors:

Target Site Content to Mobile Phone Visitors

Summary

Personalized content is worth developing so long as you research, understand, and use the insights your visitors and leads have left behind on your site, including preferences, concerns, and past behavior.

Using personalized content allows you the opportunity to connect with your potential customers on a more personal and in-depth level. The result is better UX with higher conversions and ROI.


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