One of the biggest problems conversion optimizers are facing today is their inability to properly utilize customer insights to provide a personalized and unique user experience.
Today’s consumers crave a personal touch and usually become loyal to the brands that provide it.
According to a study by The E-tailing Group, 72% of shoppers agree personalization makes it easier to find products they want to buy, and they’re looking for personalization across channels, in ads, emails and on your website.
Think about your own experience: Do you prefer the supermarket checkout lady who knows you by name and asks you about your favorite products, or the poker-faced old man who silently checks you out?
What seems obvious in a real life scenario is harder to implement on a business website. But today, technology is beginning to catch up to the need, providing resources to give customers that personal attention they expect.
In this article, I’ll talk about why we have this craving for personal attention as social beings, and the best ways to tailor your site to ensure your customers leave feeling all of their problems have been personally attended to.
Why do we crave a personalized experience?
There’s a whole long list of reasons why different people crave attention, ranging from self-esteem, personality disorders, and as a normal process of human development.
Today however, it seems that more people than not (and people from all age groups) are looking to get some sort of attention or acknowledgement from their peers and society.
Social media has provided the platform for sharing, so what used to be TMI (too much information) is actually the social norm.
As a result, we’ve become accustomed to this level of sharing, whether it’s liking our friends’ posts or giving a stranger a life on candy crush. In return we’ve come to expect these same behaviors in return, breeding a whole cycle of attention giving and receiving.
This cycle is extended far beyond social media. Our customers have learned to expect this level of personalization and seek personal attention from the businesses and websites they interact with as well.
Make your Page more Attentive and Intuitive
A personalized user experience will always win rave reviews from visitors. But to provide it, you have to make your site as intuitive as possible.
By automatically creating the experience and providing the information they were looking for, you’ll make users feel as if you understood what they were looking for.
According to a past Crazy Egg Blog post, there are three main reasons people leave your web page before you can convert them:
The good news is there are a few different things you can do during this stage to capture your audience’s attention with personalized content on your pages.
According to Site Pro News, at least 50% of your incoming traffic will leave your site within the first 8 seconds of arriving to your page. To avoid this, make sure your landing page is consistent with the messaging that brought them to the page.
1. Consistency between ad and landing page
If your customers are coming from a search engine, make sure the keywords or products they searched for are on the page they land on. These users are looking for something specific. Don’t make them go on a wild goose chase.
Use behavioral targeting to put whatever search terms they were searching for on the landing page when they’re directed to your site.
For instance, if the customer searched ‘Seahawks Jersey’ in Google, customize the page so as soon as they’re redirected, they’re presented with all of your Seahawks apparel. This may reduce confusion and indecision, ensuring more conversions by showing your customer what they’re expecting right off the bat.
If users are search for:
Present them with this:
Show them exactly what they searched for — as well as similar items for the whole family.
The alternative is old-school and low-tech: no personalization, and the customer has to trudge through lots of irrelevant products in order to finally find what they were looking for.
2. Personalize the onsite experience
Oftentimes, web pages have too much going on or the product/service needs a bit more explanation for the average user.
For example, in the case of NetQuote, they offer many insurance options, as most e-commerce sites do. In order to funnel the maximum amount of users all the way through their funnel, they utilized audio-visual personalization to guide the individual users from place to place — creating an onsite experience relevant specifically to them.
While businesses like to think their web page is perfectly clear and well constructed, more times than not, they’re wrong.
A simple solution is to provide a guided tour of the website. Many companies with complex tutorials or more complicated concepts have a difficult time creating intuitive and attentive experiences to capture their audience, since they simply don’t understand what to do.
A personalized walk-through of how the page works will reduce customer service requests, and increase conversion rates by highlighting the call to action to increase your bottom line.
When an audio-visual walkthrough of the website is available on the landing page, it improves conversion rates while giving your brand a distinct identity with its own personal voice.
Build immediate trust
Once your audience has deemed you non-genuine, a scam, or a fake, there’s absolutely nothing preventing them from leaving your site and never coming back.
This is true for ordinary online browsers, but even more so for cautious shoppers. That’s why it’s important to look objectively at your site’s design. Do you honestly provide a clean, polished aesthetic? It matters.
Research has shown that 68% of US online shoppers distrust a site with an unprofessional appearance. But don’t stop there.
Many consumers are constantly looking for that seal of approval, labeling your website as secure. They are the people who are über conscious of where their information is going and how it’s being used.
Once again, behavioral targeting can help. Make it a priority to provide secure and safety validation symbols on all web pages.
Get downright creative
Personalization goes way beyond putting the user’s name in the headline. It means you provide an experience that lines up with their behavior and expectations.
To begin, show your customers that you care about more than solely their name and the products they’ve recently bought from you. At the Bark Park, a doggy day care center, instead of sending home routine reports of how the dog behaved during the day, they send home report cards from the perspective of the dog.
These report cards include extremely personalized content, but do it in a way that all dog owners enjoy: dog talk. By speaking in the ‘doggy voice,’ Bark Park has successfully provided a much more personalized experience for their target market.
This is a great approach, obviously, if you’re a small business. With just a few clients that you have personal relationship with, it’s easy to keep them up to date.
However, this type of creative process is not limited to small businesses with few clients. Adapt this same idea for your email marketing. Take creative insights about your consumers and use it to make your automated emails more personal.
For example, if you’re a sporting goods store and a customer recently purchased a Seattle Seahawks jersey, in your follow up email, incorporate the team logo and ask how they enjoyed their Super Bowl Sunday.
Using an innovative tool like Mail Chimp, you can create non-spammy, creative emails and, using their analytics, fine-tune your message and delivery to fit your customer’s personal details. Mail Chimp’s Send Time Optimization System even tells you who needs to be followed up with and the best time to reach them.
5. Never forget Special Occasions
Would you ever forgive your good friend for forgetting your birthday or another momentous event in your life?
Chances are, it would take a while. Again, in the age of constant attention, consumers are looking for love on days that show particular importance to them: birthdays, anniversaries, or special holidays (i.e., Christmas, Hanukkah, or others).
This is an excellent opportunity for your brand to build meaningful relationship with potential or recurring customers. While they’re definitely expecting birthday greetings from their loved ones, an extra message in their inbox or on social media will definitely make your brand more memorable in their eyes.
This is also the perfect place to incorporate personalization.
While many brands are sending out mass birthday messages with very little personalization, you can do better. Make your greeting look as genuine as possible by removing all of the excess logos and promotions, and leaving just the personalized greeting — and perhaps a special discount in their birthday month. (Hey, it is marketing, after all.)
Hubspot did a great job of this by providing the perfect amount of personal attention. Not only did they wish Elle a personalized birthday (including her name and age), they provided her with relevant content from the site. This isn’t a generic birthday email like all of the other one’s in her inbox on her 28th birthday.
Occasion-based marketing also helps increase conversions because you’re keying in on a specific date that your customer is more likely to buy.
During birthdays, everyone wants to treat himself or herself to a nice gift. At Valentine’s Day, for example, people want to find the perfect present to say I love you. Take advantage of these moments when consumers are more receptive to spending.
But don’t limit yourself to holidays or birthdays. Make your own associations between your brand and random days of the week or times of the year.
Orange juice wasn’t made for breakfast, and hot chocolate doesn’t have to be drunk during the winter. These are simply associations marketers have made to push their products. If you can make these associations amongst your community of customers it will give them even more reason to give you attention and vise verse.
Need ideas? Consider a 10% discount on your 10-year anniversary. Or creating your own brand holiday.
If you remember just one thing…
Remember where your potential customers are coming from. Your website isn’t the only experience your visitors have on the web.
They’re all social beings — a quality that’s growing stronger in today’s shareaholic society. Feed their cravings for attention by personalizing your content.
Get creative and have fun with your marketing in general and your landing pages in particular. Take your personalization to the next level and see more dedicated and friendly customers.
What’s your favorite way to provide a more personalized user experience? Have you experienced a great example of personalization done right? Tell us about it in the comments.