Every web professional dreams of providing clients with a website that displays hyper-relevant, dynamic content, that drives engagement and conversion every time a visitor lands on the site.
While once a pipe dream due to costly development time, website personalization will soon become a universal reality, as designers, developers and agencies adopt new tools that enable personalization on a mass scale.
It's going to be one hell of a revolution.
Though still in its early stages, some are already anticipating this shift towards dynamic content.
For example, according to the latest industry statistics, 94 percent of companies agree that website personalization in some form is critical to their current and future business success.
This should come as no surprise in light of studies that show 40 percent of consumers buy more when their website experience is personalized.
Clearly the demand is there. So what strategies and technologies will help supply this level of service to every client?
How Website Personalization Worked
The world of the internet is very much like a dating game. We use headlines like pickup lines to grab someone’s attention. We flirt with carefully crafted copy and landing pages to keep interest alive and well. Then we make our move — a.k.a. conversion.
The biggest cause for frustration on the web is that most websites act like a terrible second date.
The majority don’t adapt or adjust to a recurring visitor, or add any warmth by showing something more relevant.
Website personalization changes that.
Let’s take the use case of offering dynamic content based on geolocation, which displays a different promotion to a site visitor in San Francisco versus a site visitor in New York.
In the past, personalization based on a visitor’s location required a large amount of development work. First you'd need a back-end developer to write code that would check a visitor’s IP address, perform a lookup for the location and change the content the visitor would see based on that given location.
Then you'd need a front-end developer to build a different page or layout to fit the relevant content for each of the locations that had been identified by the back-end developer’s code.
You can imagine the effort it would take to replicate this for a number of different locations.
Thankfully, times have changed.
How Website Personalization Works
As drag-and-drop website builders become more sophisticated and integrated with various platforms, the task of creating a dynamic, personalized website has simplified.
Designers — with little or no knowledge of code — can now do what used to take an entire team of developers. Once again, we’ll look at the use case of personalization based on geolocation.
Integrating your platform with Google Maps can automate large amounts of this formerly cumbersome development work. This means a designer would simply enter the city where they would like to show a personalized message or design into the platform, and create the layout they wish to display.
The platform would then look up the city in Google Maps to retrieve its longitude and latitude, and store this information. When someone lands on the site, it can tell the visitor’s longitude and latitude based on the device’s IP address. If this matches the designated city, the site knows to display the personalized content the designer created. If not, the visitor would see the normal website.
This is just one example of website personalization, but the ideas and capabilities don’t stop there.
Pairing Triggers and Actions
Businesses can do much more to create these kinds of seemingly adaptive online experiences.
Website personalization typically works by pairing a trigger with an action, and you can use various pairings to create a very personalized experience for each of your visitors.
Here is an example of how this could work for you.
Let’s say that you’re running a social media campaign to increase awareness about a special promotion you’re running for an online store.
You can maximize your ROI by utilizing website personalization. To do this you would pair together a trigger and an action for when that trigger was set off:
- Trigger = A Campaign URL
- Action = Display New Content in the form of a pop-up
Now, let’s draw out the story of what this would look like and how it works.
By creating a trigger for a campaign URL with a pop up as the action, you can display a call-to-action (CTA) based on a referral link.
That is to say, the content your visitors see when they land on your site will be different depending on the website they came from.
For instance, one visitor comes to the homepage from your Twitter campaign.
Based on the trigger (referral from Twitter) and action you created, a specific notification can be displayed to them.
Now let’s say that another person comes to the same page from Facebook. By creating a different trigger (referral from Facebook) with a slightly different action, a different notification or popup can be shown to them and to Facebook specific traffic.
What each notification says to the visitor can and should reflect that the site recognizes they’ve come from the other site, but the content can also be changed based on what the website owner wishes to accomplish.
These are small additions, but the small things often have the biggest impact and can trigger better responses.
Within Our Reach
A little bit of strategy can go a long way.
Gone are the days where you need to dive deep into your wallet for dedicated development resources to accomplish website personalization. It's a new age, where web professionals can offer website personalization to clients, despite time or budget constraints. The dream of creating the perfect, conversion-focused website experience for every visitor is our reach.
Learn how you can join our contributor community.