A website is one of the most valued assets of a business. It can be rightly said so because the number of online businesses have surged in the recent decades and a large number of offline businesses are switching to online. Owing to this, a website is nothing short of a store where new and old visitors are often passing in and out. A factor that has increased the potential of websites to make sales is data. The storage of data across the internet and devices holds huge potential for making sales. And so personalization in general in the digital space has proven to be effective and e-commerce is an example of this. However, for B2B and other businesses like Edtech too, the potential is high and it’s being explored.
The digital space is constantly evolving and it is also getting crowded. More than anything, people's attention span on the internet has shrunk. They want to get information quickly and are also used to 'instant gratification'. They are also used to personalization at the browser level. Whenever a visitor lands on a website, he starts looking for info and if the messages on the website can't connect with him, he is quick to leave it and go to another website because there's absolutely no shortage of information. Your competitors quickly come into the picture when the visitor is unsatisfied with the message, info or service descriptions he says on your website. Therefore it's important to have highly relevant messages on the website and to catch his attention through personalization.
If you’re new to website personalization, you might have to understand a few concepts that precedes it. Website personalization as a concept developed recently. However, at the foundational level, there are many concepts that one needs to understand to fully grasp what website personalization is. Most importantly one should know what website experience stands for. So let's start with website experience.
As a website is like an online store, the experience a visitor has on the website (be it new or old visitor) is equal to the experience one has on the offline store which consists of many different factors. On a website it's about the "path" one takes. Starting from a particular landing page or home page, one goes to various other pages, clicks and downloads, fills up forms, checks out or reads blogs, clicks share button etc .. the path that he takes consists of his experience.
Another point in understanding website experience is the use of Customer Data Platform and how it impacts what we see on the internet. As mentioned earlier, personalization on the internet happens at two levels- browser and device level and website level. This happens due to data storage in the platforms called Customer Data Platforms or CDP.
How can you use CDP for enhancing website experience for each visitor each time? How can you increase the relevance of the message, visuals and paths he takes on the website? When you answer these questions what you get is website personalization. Once your website integrates with a website personalization platform, you are equipped with the technology to edit the content of the website or even change the images and create a new variation of the webpage. Once the content is set, the user adds rules and that will determine what each audience segment will see.
The two levels of personalization- outbound and inbound. Inbound is mainly for segments of audience which means you divide the visitors on the basis of industry, demographics, geographical location, no. of visits and also the previous behavior/actions taken on the website. If you have the CRM integrated, the personalization element, ie. name and designation can also be picked up and displayed on the webpage. Now comes outbound personalization. In this, you’re targeting a specific person and reaching out to him and creating a unique variation of the webpage with personalization and customization. In other words, you create a personalized pitch for him prompting him to prompt him to take a particular action. You want him to reach a specific predetermined goal.
In order to understand both types of website personalization, let's throw light on the role of Customer Relations Management system also known as CRMS namely HubSpot, Salesforce and others. These platforms store the data regarding your leads and prospects. Once they are added in the CRM, they're referred to as contacts. You can also update regarding your last interaction with them and also regarding when's the next call scheduled and further notes. When CRM integrates with a website personalization platform, the result is you can configure settings/rules in such a way that the first name, last name, designation or company name or any other revenue can be picked up and displayed.
If the visitor is among your contacts in the CRM, then he will be able to view his personalized elements like name etc. However, let's consider a visitor (from both outbound and inbound campaign) who’s not in the CRM, he will be able to see the edited version of the webpage. Lets understand this with respect to outbound campaigns for an Edtech company. You are selling digital marketing courses to two segments- college students and working professionals. Variation1 is for students and variation2 is for professionals. There will be two unique links for the page. The link for v1, you can share on the platform where you will find the students group and likewise for v2. Each of the links has a compelling message to each group with relevant information. Personalization cannot be applied here since the details from the CRM are not fetched. However, at the browser level, CDP will have some info stored which can be fetched in order to showcase some amount of customization and also tracking at the website analytics level.
Marketers are mostly familiar with the practice of A/B testing which is the practice of creating two variations of the website for two or more audience segments and then tracking the results. If there are n number of variations to the webpages, then it is called multivariate testing which is similar to customizing or personalizing the webpage. However this practice can be very well replaced by website personalization itself because it gives all and more value over A/B testing. But there can be certain use cases where A/B testing is a better option which means you only need two variants.
The challenges in executing website personalization is technological. Previously, editing content required code changes which required the intervention of coders. Owing to this, for marketers or sales teams to showcase change the content for various audience segments or for each visitor was a task that was dependent on the tech team’s help. However, this has changed with the introduction of no-code technology.
No-code website personalization technology eliminates the need to make code changes for editing website content. So if you’re using a no-code website personalization platform, then once you integrate that with your website, then your marketers or anybody in the team gets the access to make the necessary edits and also to track the results i.e. details analytics (explained later in this article) about the person who visited and his actions.
Both B2C and ecommerce website personalization differs from B2B because the sales process is quite different here. B2B has long sales cycles and multiple decisions and in the present most of the products start with an extensively long free trial before switching to paid version. Especially in the booming SaaS industry, the communication can extend for a long time before the final subscription is sealed. Given the facts about B2B customer acquisitions, it is important to engage the prospects over a period of time with the relevant message not just the sales level but the website level as well. However, what is commonly noticed is sales people cannot transpire the personalized messaging onto the website which helps in further personalization. This can be done with an easy to use no-code website personalization that even SDRs can use easily to edit and personalize the website content.
Data is an asset which can be leveraged with personalization. In personalization, there are two parts of usage of data- pre and post personalization. You decide on the basis of the available data and determine what personalization has to be implemented - this consists of the pre personalization part. Post personalization aims at deriving conclusions by analyzing the results of personalization which consist of the metrics like the actions taken on the webpages, the scrolled pages, journey explorer, clicks, channels, browsers, devices.
Assisted by this data, one can make validated conclusions about the behavior and preferences of various audience segments and constitute a plan for follow ups. This data can be fed in the CRM and that will assist in further communication. The role of data- it’s analytics, insights is crucial in personalization exercise. These form the feedback loop for all the experiments you carry out. Infact, without these feedbacks, you cannot call these experiments because you won't have any results to check the outcomes. Measuring metrics from the experiments and the quality of these measurements, for example, how in-depth you can get the results is important. With this, you can make the necessary adjustments and updates, once you study the pattern, this will constitute the data driven decision making for the next next and also in general (in order to analyze behavior and buying patterns of various segments of audience).
With website personalization, marketers can optimize the revenue from all marketing campaigns both organic and paid- from social media campaigns, webinars and other events, email campaigns, paid ads etc.
A visitor interacts with a company across channels - both offline and online. It can be through social media paid ads, emails, company pages, website blogs and ebooks and video materials and additionally an executive from the company. Across all these channels, the interaction of the visitor should be personalized that creates his unique experience helping him to not just form a rapport with the company but also feel understood by the company. For example, when a prospective customer views an ad and comes to the website page, the message in the ad can be carried forward to the corresponding page and relevant message that will attract him to the exact product that he is interested in.
Customizing each customer touch point is the key to personalization. These touch points include
a. In-line content
b. Banners/Hero Image
c. CTA Buttons
e. Survey Questions
f. Call outs
e. Pricing page
This is where a highly efficient website personalization software makes all the difference. With features like in-built visual editor, analytics and visitor journey tracking system, a website personalization tool helps in crafting dynamic elements across the page such as Call-to-action buttons, pop-ups, surveys, Hero images depending on various factors such as in which stage of the sales funnel he is in and also on the number of visit he’s made.
For example, in the case of an Edtech website, a visitor who is checking out let’s say, Data Science courses for the third time requires a different nudge to make the decision- this can be in the form of a price reduction or ‘talk to our academic counselor to clear doubts’. On the other hand, someone who checks out different courses on the website can be directed to a catalog of courses and directed to a survey which helps to understand his course preference.
It’s true that marketers at every level understand the importance of texts and visuals in engaging customers, however, as the latest in technology keep rolling out, there is an increasing scope of personalization and that requires in-depth understanding of customer behavior at various points of interaction.
Persuasive content is all about storytelling with the help of text and visuals that attracts, hits the personal note, engages, creates curiosity/interest and prompts to take action. This strategy is best applied when you have personalized segments on the website that have higher convincing power.
The analytics from website personalization can be analyzed to measure the effectiveness of the techniques. This is a reliable insight into your customer’s behavior and purchasing trends in the industry that serves as a treasure trove of data which can be leveraged further.
a. These results enable goal tracking as well as setting newer goals.
b. No more 'guess work' in targeting customers, instead you have data and statistics backing your efforts.
c. Statistics claim that websites that used personalization software saw a spike in conversion upto 40%.
d. Website personalization impacts not just conversions but other tangible metrics such as customer retention, remarketing, customer loyalty.
e. This fosters data driven approach and decision making in customer acquisition.
There is unique buyer intent behind every SaaS sale. Are they already using a similar product and are looking for a better alternative? What are the existing integrations they have? What are their requirements related to company size and work? Personalizing for SaaS customers can be complex, however, it can be simplified multifold with a system that enables easy experimenting and result tracking. Customfit.ai, a software that creates seamless integrations and provides result oriented data driven implementation of conversion optimization strategies can be a catalyst for scaling SaaS businesses.
Useability and results are the foundation to a good website personalization tool. Personalization is only one part of these platforms, there are additional features that assist and substantiate the personalization with data, website analytics and alerts and tracking depending on the platform you’re using. When you choose a platform the most important thing to consider is ease of use, it should enable your team to make data backed decisions without affecting any other aspects of the website like SEO, security, page loading speed.