Part II: Personalization – a Step-by-Step Guide
In our last article, we looked at whether the topic of personalization is a temporary hype or a forward-looking trend. We have come to the conclusion that it is definitely worth taking a closer look at the topic. Therefore, in today’s article we would like to have a closer look at the topic and how personalization can be introduced step by step in your company.
With a bit of preparation,
- you can find out whether personalization is ever your means of choice,
- if you have the necessary qualifications,
- which resources and information are still missing for the implementation.
So start and ask yourself the following questions in advance:
- What is your primary goal with personalization?
As always: In order to measure whether your measures are target-oriented, you have to know what you want to achieve with them. Possible goals could be:
- Generate more sales
- Improve customer loyalty
- Acquire more new customers
- What possibilities does your website or your current shop system already offer?
Do you have to buy additional resources in order to achieve your goals?You are welcome to use the tools and systems available in your company for the first time. If you notice that you are missing something, you may still be able to buy something.
- Do you have enough manpower to produce personalized content for different target groups and update it regularly?
Don’t complicate things unnecessarily at the beginning, but plan a little extra time for preparation especially at the beginning.
- Start segmentingWe already reported on the subject of segmentation last week.Which target groups would you like to address? Perhaps your marketing strategy has already given you existing data sets and information that you can use. Which behaviour, which values, which expectations and needs can you attribute to the individual target groups?
If you don’t have any concrete ideas yet, then why not start by lining up the horse from behind? Start A/B tests, analyse the data after a certain period of time and get to know your website visitors.
Get to know your website visitors
Personalization does not mean that every visitor to your website must see different content. It means that you know what your customers and users are interested in and what their needs are. But how do you know that?
First of all, look where your website visitors come from. If a visitor comes via a price search engine, it may be a bargain hunter or at least a price-conscious buyer. Make him aware of current discount campaigns and your offers. Or does the visitor come via a link in your newsletter? Then take a look at the content of the newsletter. Can you offer the prospective customer further information or suitable products to this topic?
In order to understand your website visitors exactly, you have to collect data about them – of course everything in accordance with data protection. This data should be stored centrally and possibly combined with other customer data – e.g. from your CRM (Customer Relationship Management). Take advantage of every opportunity for dialogue with your customers to get to know their wishes, preferences and problems – and utilize the information gained. A good software infrastructure is an important prerequisite for correctly evaluating your collected data and thus creating a basis for successful personalization. In any case, your CRM and e-mail service provider should be connected to each other. It is even better if your content management system and your analytics system are additionally integrated.
In contrast to registered customers, the information about your website visitors is rather sparse. Language and location can usually be determined quite precisely, gender and age remain unknown at first. Therefore, it is of course practical if your shop system is able to collect behavior-based information during the shopping session, evaluate it and use it for personalization.
A personalization software plays out relevant content for the website visitor in real time. This is done taking into account individual interests, which can be determined, for example, by page visits, purchases, clicks or wish lists.
If this is too extensive for you, for example, a simple approach is to welcome every new customer to your website with a welcome pop-up and any discounts on the first order. Or you can target users who want to leave your website despite a full shopping cart without making a purchase. Of course, you can also start with birthday mailings, newsletters after a long period of inactivity on your website and information about additional products after a purchase. It’s not a matter of starting directly with the perfect personalization campaign. Choose a solution that gives you an easy introduction to the topic. And then you can gradually adapt and perfect your approach.
Both in the stationary trade and on the Internet it is the case that many companies offer the same or at least similar products. Why should a product then be bought from you? In most cases, it is the supposed trifles that turn an interested party into a buyer or an existing customer. Imagine buying a pair of trousers. In one shop, the trousers are packed in a plastic bag and delivered as a package. Another shop will send you a package in which the trousers are wrapped in a pretty paper and perhaps with a little greeting. With otherwise same conditions you will make your next order with high probability in the Shop, which met you this small appreciation with a large effect. Take the customer perspective. What makes your customers happy? What brings a smile to their face and gives them a good feeling? There are certainly a few gestures that don’t cost you a lot of time and money, but that will touch your customers emotionally and positively. And thereby gives you a competitive advantage.
Check your results
Once you have decided on a strategy, remember that your software is automated, but you should check the results regularly. After each advertising campaign, you should check the results for success. Did your campaign meet your previous goals? Do you need to make any adjustments? You should also check whether your systems are so well linked to each other that, for example, a name change in your CRM is also adopted in your newsletter tool. Or think about the fact that a female customer will order something for her partner from time to time – nevertheless she probably doesn’t want to be shown boxer shorts all the time. As you can see, well meant is not necessarily well done. Especially when it comes to personalization, it’s all about the subtleties.
Even if you may think that you can wait a few more years with the topic, the right time to start personalizing your website is now. Say goodbye to perfectionism and get started. Define your goals, analyze your existing software, segment your target groups, get to know your website visitors and customers even better and remember to track your results and adjust your strategy if necessary. Be creative and go unconventional ways to stand out from the crowd. And very important: work continuously on improving your personalization.