Get started with website personalization

1. Set benchmarks and decide on your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

Here are some KPIs relevant for B2B: Getting more high-quality leads Moving visitors through the sales funnel Increasing leads to sales Generating more form fills on B2B landing pages And here’s what ecommerce teams tend to work toward: Increasing cart conversions Increasing basket size Reducing the time it takes to purchase Reducing abandoned carts These are just examples, however, and you should pick the right KPIs for your business.

2. Review customer data (e.g., customer calls, emails, reviews, demographics, website analytics, surveys, etc.) to better understand the motivations, pains and desires of your customers.

As you review this data, ask yourself these questions:: What paths do site visitors follow on your website as they move toward the actions that drive your KPIs? Which points along the path are the most common drop offs? Where do they spend the most time on your site before they convert? Where do they bounce from your site? Why? What about the product or service experience stopped buyers who almost purchased but didn’t? What do new customers love about the product or service? What keeps customers coming back? What are the biggest concerns you hear in your customer care emails, calls, and support tickets? What customer lifecycle stage are they in? How aware are they of your company and your product or service? Where were they at the exact moment of purchase or conversion? What device were they using, which location were they in, or what day of the week was it? These insights will help you identify opportunities for improvement, and help you focus as you start personalizing your website.

3. Align with key stakeholders  (executive sponsor, the creative team, product marketers & managers, customer care, sales). Familiarize everyone with the KPIs so that they clearly understand  the impact website personalization will have on your business.

Use meetings to obtain valuable insights from each department as you proceed with preparing the plan and workflow. The executive: helps the main team identify the goals, checks in on the progress, and approves the overall strategy.  The creative team: takes care of the copy, psychology, photography, design, or video production, which is crucial to the success of your testing. The product marketers or product managers: know all the nooks and crannies of your service or product, and the hooks, leads, and messaging that resonates. The customer care and sales teams: they are intimately involved in the day-to-day lives of your customers and can offer invaluable insights for creating on-target messaging.

4. Brainstorm as a team on testing ideas that could help achieve the set KPIs.

For example, if you are B2B and one of your goals is to increase quality leads, you may want to investigate and brainstorm why current leads are not high quality. . Some assumptions could be that: Your marketing is in the wrong places and reaches the wrong audiences Your messaging isn’t convincing the right people, or Your messaging is short-circuiting somewhere and not helping customers follow through With those assumptions, you could start building out tests to confirm or dismantle your hypotheses by creating variations of: The landing page images and copy The continuity in the messaging and images from source to the landing page The presence of a navigation bar Visual layouts The “thank you” page The list goes on and on. After you’ve identified your most valuable tests that are tied to your KPIs, you now need to decide how you’re going to run the actual testing.

5. Choose your testing approach: rules-based personalization, A/B testing, and machine learning-based website personalization.

Rules-based personalization: focuses on very specific rules-based scenarios, like “if visitor X came from social media network Y, show sales page Z”. This is useful if you already know the exact parameters you’re personalizing for, but takes a lot of time to set up and manage more than just a few of these scenarios. A/B testing: allows you to compare the performance of two competing ideas on one element of your website for all your visitors. This is useful when you want to answer a single-focused question and don’t have many options to test. Machine learning-based  personalization: machine learning is used to automatically personalize your web pages and dynamically adjust them over time, for each individual visitor in the moment. This allows your team to try far more ideas with far less effort.

6. Consider using machine learning in personalization to mitigate the complexity and time-consuming nature of rule-based personalization and A/B testing

Personalization rules are often based on: Location of visitor Technology used What website they came from before visiting your site What social network they came from before visiting your site New/repeat visitor Time spent on website Abandoned cart The mix and match of creating those rules, and the upkeep of those rules, usually become burdensome for the marketer, which is where machine learning-based personalization  becomes handy.  Using machine learning-based  personalization substantially accelerates  personalization and alleviates you from manual work, like setting up “rules”, implementing and monitoring tests, or making manual adjustments to tests to get the most value. You maintain  creative control over copy, design elements and video, while machine learning does the heavy lifting of determining the best way to personalize for each individual visitor in the moment, making it feel like you’ve automatically created a rule for each visitor.

7. Regularly test, measure, and iterate to get the most value out of website personalization.

Regardless of the approach you choose, the most important thing about personalization is that it shouldn’t be a one-and-done project, but rather a process that iterates every day and week over time. Your customers will change, your business plans will change, your industry will shift, and best practices will adapt accordingly. So should your team’s website personalization.