Imagine clicking on a website that provides the precise solutions to your problem, in real time.
A website that speaks directly to you with all the information and products you need, that makes you want to explore further to see what else it offers.
Think of it as a journey back to the days when a real life salesperson made calls, tailoring each pitch to the individual customer.
"If we have 4.5 million customers, we shouldn't have one store. We should have 4.5 million stores."
Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, circa 1998
Now you can combine that personal touch with the high-tech benefits of global outreach that are only available online.
The idea behind website personalization has actually been around a long time. Over 20 years, in fact.
It was predicted in 1998 by Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, when his business was in its relative infancy. He saw the competitive advantage early of delivering a personalized online experience and it's since become a hallmark of Amazon.com.
Here are some other examples of personalization in action.
The typical Netflix user reviews movie selections for an only an average of 60 to 90 seconds before losing interest.
Without the ability to present titles from a personalized recommendation engine, Netflix could lose the majority of its viewers who grow tired of sifting through too many movies. Instead, about 80% of customer video choices come from personalized recommendations. Netflix estimates the impact of their personalization system to be worth over $1 billion annually.
Another example that shows how website personalization can make a brand shine is the website of L'Oreal Paris.
The site keeps visitors engaged constantly with tips on how to use products, while also asking for all sorts of unique information, such as hair color and beauty concerns (do you have frizzy hair that needs to be tamed, for instance).
The L'Oreal website makes instant use of that information through dynamic personalization. It offers appropriate products, serving up how-tos that are relevant to the unique customer, and offering targeted free product samples.
Although website personalization may seem like a B2C specialization (think back to that quote from Jeff Bezos about Amazon), it is proving incredibly useful in B2B environments. Take the example of Citrix, a company that makes software enabling remote collaboration among teams (they're the inventor of GoToMeeting.com).
When Citrix personalized its site so that visitors from the health care, education, and finance industries saw different home pages, it saw a 29% increase in home page banner clicks and a 10.3% increase in page views. Visitors were exploring the site more in response to seeing a personalized homepage. Session duration also increased, and the bounce rate dropped almost 7.2%. All this from personalization of just one page.
Behemoths such as Amazon, Netflix and L'Oreal have had the ability to personalize shopper experiences for many years. For a long time it's been an advantage of being an eCommerce business with deep pockets.
But today, much smaller businesses can afford many of the same capabilities to scale personalization for every website and business.
The Benefits of Website Personalization
When you personalize your website, you dramatically increase the quality of your leads. You're no longer wasting your visitors' time by trying to speak to everyone on every page, so you better attract those who are truly interested in your products and services.
You also avoid losing potential customers who are all too ready to click away from your site if they don't think you have what they seek.
You can maintain customer relationships you already have with greater precision and thoroughness. Website personalization can be designed to work hand in hand with account-based marketing, so you're delivering targeted campaigns to your most important clients, thereby cementing the relationship you already have with them.
As you nurture relationships with your customers through personalization, you extend their customer journey and foster brand loyalty. In addition, website personalization lets you keep what's working on your site for your core customers while expanding your reach to new target audiences.
Instead of taking the results of your A/B testing as the final word, when it makes sense now you can have A and B, all the way to the end of the alphabet if you choose.
It's the best of both worlds. The data you collect on your customers and visitors helps you better understand their needs, which in turn you use to better communicate with them.
Behavioral and contextual marketing help you tweak your content to drive higher conversions. In addition, you're able to aim your personalization strategy at cross-selling and upsells. By offering discounts and special offers based on your customers' previous purchases, you can increase repeat sales and thus average customer lifetime value.
Even better, the valuable data you amass through context marketing can reduce your business risk when you decide to expand your services or product line for each target market.