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7 Ways to Boost Conversions with Personalization [Case Studies]

by Sharon Hurley Hall

Today we dig deep into personalization. Read here for 7 case studies that reveal what works and how to use it to increase your conversion rates. Ready? Let’s go…

Web personalization. Depending on who you ask, it is either downright creepy (just how much data do you want websites to have on your shopping and browsing habits?) or a very good thing (wait, there’s a page pre-filled with items that interest me? Awesome!).

Web personalization

Image: Pixabay

The Stats on Web Personalization

One thing is certain: Used well, personalization can help your site convert better. Consider the stats. According to research from Invesp:

  • 53% of online shoppers believe that personalization is valuable
  • 45% of shoppers prefer to shop on sites that provide personalized recommendations
  • 57% of shoppers will give personal info if they benefit from it.
  • Personalized ads convert 10 times better than ordinary ads

To back this up, an article on Business2Commuity says 56% of consumers are more likely to shop with retailers who offer personalization and a whopping 74% get frustrated by seeing content that doesn’t match their interests.

7 Tips on Personalization [Case Studies]

7 Personalization Tips

Image: Pixabay

Clearly, personalization is important, whether that’s using someone’s first name in an email newsletter, tailoring shopping recommendations or offering a coupon that’s valid at the shop you’re in front of right now (mobile and local, anyone?).

There are multiple ways to use personalization to achieve better conversions. Here are some tips for success, backed by case studies.

1. Segment Your Audience

Everyone’s different. Web personalization allows you to recognize those differences to tailor your marketing for better results.

All Web Leads used Neustar technology to make some sense of the data they were collecting on anonymous visitors to their website. With a little technical wizardry, they segmented the audience into four core groups, then created personalized messages for each of them. The result: a 27% uplift in conversions.

2. Provide Personalized Information As Needed

You don’t have to personalize every time. Sometimes personalization is about providing the right information at the right time.

A case study published by Qubit shows how UK retail chains Monsoon and Accessorize were losing out on sales because customers using their online store did not know when items were about to go out of stock. There was no sense of urgency; personalization helped to fix this.

Unlike Amazon which shows stock levels for all products, Monsoon and Accessorize showed stock levels only when people were about to buy. This resulted in a 10% increase in conversions and the practice is now standard on all the group’s websites.

3. Change Your CTA

Another good tip is to vary your calls to action, instead of showing the same one to all Web visitors.

Intuit Quickbase uses Hubspot to ensure that once a lead has seen a particular call to action and acted on it (for example, by downloading a resource), that lead will see a different call to action next time, encouraging them to take the next step in the process.

That has resulted in click through rates of more than 10% for these personalized calls to action and the click to submission rates are almost 100%. [I’ve seen this strategy in action on LinkedIn, too, where once I’d downloaded an ebook, the next CTA directed me to a related resource. I clicked, of course!]

4. Focus on Gender and Interests

Although we’ve been talking about Web personalization, email marketing often sends prospects to your site, so personalization is a factor there, too. It’s hard to pick just one case study from this extensive list by Econsultancy, but the Johnny Cupcakes example stands out.

The retailer segmented its list by gender, interests, media habits and brand preferences, then sent gender and interest-based emails. The result was a 42% rise in click-through rates and a 123% increase in conversion rates.

5. Use the Internet of Things

There’s a lot of information about the Internet of Things: the proliferation of Web-connected devices providing customer data.

Utilities giant British Gas worked with eBay Enterprise Marketing Solutions to use the data from smart gas meters to feed its email marketing strategy. Each recipient got individually personalized emails using data from their own meters. The result was 58% fewer unsubscribes, 53% more opens and a 39% increase in clicks.

6. Define the 3Ws

When it comes to copywriting, it’s often about the 6Ws (who, what, where, when, why, and whatever else), but only three of those applies in this case study from Marketo—who, what and where.

Software vendor Panaya used personalization to vary the Web content people saw depending on whether they were already using the Oracle product or not. The marketing shown to existing users resulted in a 113% increase in consumption of the content.

7. Personalize the Visuals

One innovative approach came from Zumba Fitness. The company wanted to attract instructors to its annual convention, so it personalized a video to grab their attention. The video included a personalized mockup of the recipients’ convention badge with their name already on it.

Not only did instructors share their badges widely, but the open rate rose from 31% in the control message to 40% in the personalized message, and the click through rate increased from 5.4% in the control message to 21% in the personalized message.

Bottom Line

The seven case studies are just a few examples of how companies are using personalization effectively to micro-target customers and, in some cases, give them a unique experience. But that’s just the beginning.

An eConsultancy study suggests that more advanced segmentation linked with content management is likely to become the norm across all customer-facing media. An article from Kula Partners agrees, suggesting that content can be targeted to visitors not just based on interests, but on title, industry, customer life cycle and more.

Other retailers feel that personalization soon won’t be enough, as consumers come to expect “contextualization”—a customer experience that is completely adapted to the person and the context. Lisa Leslie Henderson gives a few examples of how the combination of profile data, situational data and historical data can give new insight into individual customers and help with cross-channel, integrated and effective marketing.

Are you using personalization in your Web and email marketing? We’d love to hear your success stories.

Read other Crazy Egg posts by Sharon Hurley Hall.

6 Comments

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Sharon Hurley Hall

Sharon Hurley Hall is a professional writer and blogger. Her career has spanned more than 25 years, including stints as a journalist, academic writer, university lecturer and ghost writer. Connect with Sharon on her website.

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  1. Melissa says:
    December 22, 2014 at 9:06 am

    Great post Sharon! I wanted to let you know that Evergage is the real-time personalization solution provider to Wayfair, Rue La La, Publishers Clearing House, Intuit QuickBase and other leading brands. We would be happy to provide case studies and examples for your next post on personalization!

  2. Sharon Hurley Hall says:
    December 11, 2014 at 5:40 am

    Thanks for the tip, David.

  3. Jack says:
    November 7, 2014 at 8:49 am

    Hi, brilliant article highlighting the huge future in this area. To the customer it will be subtle changes but the programmes and thinking behind it are massive. We customise parts of sites to capture people’s attention and bring them in to a manageable sales funnel that suits the sales process of the site owner, we love this subject.

    • Sharon Hurley Hall says:
      November 10, 2014 at 11:46 am

      Good to hear, Jack. Any other insights to share?

  4. Michael says:
    November 7, 2014 at 4:11 am

    Great post Sharon. I like anything based on stats from case studies. But there’s a question many people who read this post will still have.
    That is, how can I make personalization work my business?
    Many Internet marketing newbies may be led to believe that personalization stops at addressing people by their names. No!

    I think content marketing helps personalization more.

    With content marketing, you’re able to write a post that shows you truly know what your prospects are going through. You talk about their problems, the probable solution they’re seeking or the ineffective solution they’ve been using. You’re able to explain their own feelings to them. Then they think “wow, you truly get what I’m looking for.” I believe that helps personalization more.

    Content marketing is the key winning prospects hearts.

    • Sharon Hurley Hall says:
      November 10, 2014 at 11:45 am

      Great point, Michael. It’s important to move beyond automated personalization to understand your customers and prospects.

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