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Drive Connections with Website Personalization

Better Segmentation Means Better Results

Posted: Oct 13, 2020
Marketing

Seek Greater Clarity and Differentiation in Your Audience Segments

The point of a website personalization strategy is to create unique user experiences so that each visitor feels like his or her individual needs and interests are being addressed. Therefore, it stands to reason that the better you can segment your audience, the better the results you'll achieve.

 For years, many organizations took a rather simplistic approach to website personalization. Perhaps a greeting for returning visitors ("Hello Name!") or maybe some A/B promotional messaging was about as sophisticated as it got. But the success of brands using sophisticated personalization tactics —such as Amazon, Netflix, and Facebook —has many rethinking their approach and wanting to do more with their websites.

 It's increasingly clear that this is the right approach. Consider the following: an Epsilon survey of 1,000 consumers between 18 and 64 years old found 80% of people surveyed said they are more likely to do business with a company that offers personalized experiences; 90% of respondents found personalization appealing.

Overcoming Obstacles to Personalization

 Perhaps the biggest challenge for marketers pursuing a website personalization strategy is gathering the data and insights needed to create distinct and meaningful audience segments. At Vanguard, we've found it best to start with the information you have internally, then add on additional group characteristics from other information sources.

 Your customer or membership database likely contains a wealth of demographic information, such as age, gender, length of engagement, and past activity. Similarly, Google Analytics and other tracking software can provide insights into user journeys and popular website sections.

 This data will provide the initial parameters for your audience segments. If you have the time and budget, you should consider augmenting internal data with other sources of information, such as user interviews or focus groups. Similarly, you can encourage website users to create an online profile and details their areas of interest.

 It's important that you don't get locked in to your initial segmentation strategy. Your audience groups are likely to evolve — and expand — as you gain additional insights and layer in more data.

 

Bringing the Data to Life

 Once you've identified and defined your audience segments as much as possible, we recommend creating personas for each group. Personas are fictional characters that embody the characteristics and lifestyle of a targeted audience segment. Personas not only serve to guide your content strategy for each audience segment, but also help ensure a consistency in messaging between your website and other marketing channels.

 Your content should try to match the specific needs and interests of your audience segments as closely as possible. You can do this in two ways:

  • First, you can reframe content so that the information speaks more directly to different segments.
  • Second, you can use your content management system to serve up just the content and resources most likely to align with the interests of a specific group.

 

Reaping the Rewards

 Although this might seem like a lot of work, the return on your efforts will be worthwhile. A 2019 SmarterHQ survey found 72% of consumers only engage with marketing messages that are customized to their specific interests. Similarly, research by Maritz Motivation Solutions and researchers with the Harvard Business School found consumers were 40% more likely to click on items recommended based on information they'd shared with the brand, and they spent 31% more time on the product page.

 Website personalization enables you to move closer to the goal of creating unique user experiences. The better you are at defining your audience segments and tailoring your messaging to each them, the more likely you are to see vast improvements in user engagement and driving revenue growth.  

 

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Author:

Michael Wiley

President Vanguard Technology