Website personalization is a powerful enhancement to any website. It continues to be one of the hottest online marketing trends in 2021. Customers remain delighted by content prepared for their tastes and preferences because it helps them find what they want faster.
It’s getting more common, too. Consumers have almost come to expect it. However, consumers have also become more privacy-aware and suspicious of marketers trying to collect data. Data breaches and personal data misuse have made web surfers leery of how data is collected and used.
What is website personalization?
Website personalization provides website user’s the content they want without them actively asking for it. It’s a smart user experience displayed through web browsers, apps, and digital devices that adapts to customer behavior. As personalization engines learn user behavior, they usually improve over time.
Why is personalization important to website owners and their customers?
It’s to website owners’ advantage to make sure their website content and functions meet customer needs. The process should be effortless and non-intrusive for customers. When used correctly, website personalization can improve user experience and increase sales.
At what point does helpful become creepy?
There’s a limit to the familiarity people are comfortable with when they first meet, similar to in-person encounters. Like in-person meetings, these boundaries relax more over time.
Fortunately, user research can help determine the right amount of personalization that target customers prefer, but marketers need to be wary of crossing lines.
When used in the wrong context, abusing collected user data will probably trouble customers. Just because you can benefit a user with a personalized experience doesn’t always mean it’s the best idea.
Below are strategies to help you understand what website personalization is and subsequently improve customers’ online experience in a non-creepy way.
Be honest and transparent about data collected for personalization.
One of the easiest ways to personalize web content without being creepy is to let customers know what information is collected. Many times this is done with information bars at the top or bottom of a website. Subtle, unintrusive notices on your website let users know you’re collecting data to improve their user experience, and it removes the shock factor of knowing personal data is collected.
Dynamic buttons and better CTAs convert to sales.
Smart Calls to Action on your website adapt to what a customer has already seen. A Hubspot study notes that customized CTAs convert to sales 202% better. The reality is that repeat visitors don’t need to see the same buttons every time they browse your website. Showing a dynamic CTA with a new offer each time customers visit your website improves engagement. It’s a subtle personalization that provides improved service without being too invasive.
Cater to the home team with Geo-location.
Geo-location is a method of determining where a user is browsing your website. Software using Geo-location can provide opportunities to personalize your website based on where your customer is.
Retail websites do this all the time by offering customers special deals based on their home location. Business owners can provide offers and messages appropriate to their customers’ needs locally while still catering to new visitors abroad.
Leveraging social media can lead to word of mouth referrals.
Another website personalization option available is to use social sharing and social media invitations. Businesses have an opportunity to make it effortless for customers to share positive experiences on their social media channels.
When people purchase goods or experience exceptional service on your website, they are more likely to share their experience with friends. Those friends are more likely to trust a referral from someone they know. Connections and referrals like this tend to convert into future customers. If businesses make the process smooth, sales, leads, and improved website engagement can result.
Upsell and Recommend Related Products or Services.
Big online retail companies like Amazon and Walmart are experts in recommended products. They know that recommendation engines gather data based on customer buying decisions and browsing history and then recommend similar products. It makes it more likely to upsell or close a sale online.
Modern customers are experienced enough and know how these systems work. They generally don’t mind. The buying experience personalizations help them save time and buy better products. When businesses make this personalization apparent and transparent, customers tend to be tolerant of the experience.
Is personalization a good thing or just stealing privacy?
Every customer is unique. What some customers find a violation of personal space, others may think valuable and time-saving. The data collected for personalizations has the potential for misuse. Consumers sacrifice privacy for an improved experience, but when designed thoughtfully, unobtrusively, and transparently, website personalization can help users find what they need faster. Well done website personalization delights its audience without disturbing their privacy.
At Cooperata, we use a simple plugin called IfSo, to handle the most common personalizations businesses using WordPress might manage. It’s pricing is very competitive and it just works. If you’re interested in learning more about IfSo or receiving a demonstration, contact us. We’d love to show you how simple personalization can create inviting websites.
Jonathon Cooper is owner and creative director of Cooperata LLC. He specializes in creating effective digital marketing and web solutions for websites using the WordPress blogging and CMS platform.