What is 1-to-1 Personalization?
Thanks to advanced machine learning capabilities and highly accurate data aggregation, storage and analytics, companies can offer unique digital experiences to specific customers across different online channels with virtually nothing more than the “flip of a switch.” So, instead of having a single experience with the same content and layout for all of your users, your site can be modified to optimize experiences for every single one of your visitors.
This practice, known as 1-to-1 personalization, essentially involves categorizing customers as unique individuals rather than members of a broader customer segment. Doing it involves rapidly aggregating data, analyzing it, optimizing machine learning to extract relevant insights about customers on a granular level and then deploying the right personalized and customized website or app layout to the right person on relevant channels.
What are the benefits of 1-to-1 Personalization?
Customers are unique, and they want you to know what they want, when they want it and how they want it. They want you to know their preferences as well as their likes and dislikes, and they want to be able to find what they need from you without any surprises, extra clicks or obstacles.
You can quickly develop deeper relationships by tailoring individual user experiences to exactly what they want and expect from you. Personalization also helps improve your conversions by convincing prospects that you know and understand them and their needs. Furthermore, personalization allows you to micro-target prospects based on high versus low likelihoods of making a sale (and tweak your layout, offers and other services accordingly), improve your engagement levels while extracting higher-quality feedback and generating more customer data, and grow your user community via functions and features such as social sharing, comments, likes and shares.
How do you implement 1-to1 Personalization?
Before you can implement a website personalization program, you need to think about the users you are personalizing for and what you want to show them. This may sound straightforward, but there are so many permutations and options of what you can do, so targeting the right personas with the best content for them can be difficult if you don’t have a clear strategy or roadmap from the beginning.
To get your 1-to-1 personalization program right, first establish the “who.” Who do you want to target with a unique experience? You can categorize audiences that you want to personalize for based on the following:
- Demographic attributes such gender, location, income level, profession, etc.
- Behavioral attributes such as what the visitor is doing or has done on your site in the past or what content they engage with most frequently (do they look at random pages or specific products while sorting prices and reviews?)
- Contextual indicators such as what browser the user is using, how they landed on your site, or whether they are registered and logged in or are a first-time drop-in
When it comes to the “what” – what type of experience or content you want to show this segment of your audience – you need to make decisions about the following:
- How much of your page can you personalize? Do you need to change your system architecture before you are able to make changes that you want to make?
- What part of your page do you want to personalize? Popular options include headlines, images and calls to action
- What value will personalization create? Don't personalize just because you can. Think of what you are trying to achieve
Once you've done the above and know “who” you’re targeting with personalization and “what” you want to show them, you need to keep the following in mind:
- Don't slice your audience too thin. Pigeonholing visitors can actually lower the value of personalization if visitors are unable to break out of the personalized experiences that you've chosen for them. Allow them to discover new things should they choose to do so.
- Make sure to measure the impact of changes before and after you make them so that you have more insight into what worked, what didn't and why.
- Use automated data collection and personalization technology (to be discussed below) whenever possible. This will reduce overheads and the time needed for data analysis. It will also free up sales and marketing staff to convert potential customers into actual customers once they've been identified.
Some tools that help with personalization
CommerceStack is an add-on that works with Magento and automatically displays relevant products based on shopper behavior by tapping into data already stored by Magento to make its recommendations.
CNET Intelligent Cross Sell is great for consumer electronics products. This package handles cross-selling and upselling based on behavioral data and can also be customized to use data points such as product profitability or customer reviews before displaying items to specific people.
SiteApps enables you to enhance WordPress websites with a wide range of apps, such as social media widgets, extensions for analytics, forms for feedback and comments and more, all of which can be added with a click.
Zendesk and LiveChat are great tools to use if you're looking for customer help and support features on your site. These applications allow you to offer personalized support via your website, over the phone, on social sites, by email and by using live chat. Their interfaces also give you an overall view of each customer so you can see their contact information, purchase history and other profile information all in one place. This makes it easier to personalize customer service experiences for them.
Now to get a little more technical. You can use services such as Episerver and Kentico CMS to personalize content based on rules such as the physical location of your visitor and search terms. You can also use more advanced personalization features that use data on user behavior and profiles.
Finally, if you want to integrate marketing with your 1-to-1 personalization program, consider HubSpot, Marketo and Salesforce. With these tools, you can deliver the right content that you need to show a prospect based on where they are in the buying process. They even allow you to target customers in specific ways the very first time they visit you, and they provide rules for categorizing anonymous visitors into broad profiles so that you can kick-start personalization for them from the very first time that you interact with them.
And we’re always here to help! If you need assistance getting started with personalization on your website, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!