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Website Personalisation

Tim Davidson
6 min read

As business owners and marketers, we’re always on the hunt to squeeze more value from the traffic reaching our site. This is where website personalisation becomes an exciting experiment.

Article overview:
  1. What is website personalisation
  2. What are the benefits of website personalisation
  3. How to implement personalisation
  4. Website personalisation tools

What is website personalisation

Website personalisation is a method of modifying the content users interact with based on their preferences or past behaviour.

An excellent example of website personalisation is the checkout experience of Butternutbox. They put the user through a nicely styled quiz that asks questions about their dog to provide a tailored product recommendation.

Butternutbox homepage

The other way of adopting website personalisation is how Amazon use their customer’s past purchases to make product recommendations.

Website personalisation boils down to finding out something about your visitors and showing them relevant content.

What are the benefits of website personalisation

Visitors are looking for something when they arrive on your website. Once the site loads, the timer starts counting down until they give up and leave. Every time they scroll down the page, read a sentence or click a button, they go through this decision process:

customer-decision-flow.png

The benefit of personalised content is that it takes users down the green path and helps them get their answers quicker.

The trickle-down effect of helping visitors find what they’re looking for brings a host of benefits;

Increased conversion rate

Convincing visitors to purchase something is all about meeting them where they are in their purchasing journey. Sometimes, they know exactly what they want and they’re ready to go. Most of the time, they’re researching or browsing without an exact product in mind.

Website personalisation can help customers at both of these stages of their journey.

For customers that are just browsing but don’t quite know what they’re looking for, pitching them with marketing banners and product advertisements based on their past purchases can ignite their curiosity and push them into an impulse purchase.

Similarly, if users already know the kind of product they want, taking them through a product personalising questionnaire that makes recommendations can do the research for them, show them the exact product model they need, and get them to purchase.

Longer and more meaningful engagement with content

Have you ever travelled down a YouTube rabbit hole? You pick a random video and suddenly you’ve lost two hours browsing videos that are all vaguely connected.

The reason you’re compelled to watch the next video is that it joins nicely with what you were just watching.

This kind of effect can be achieved with website personalisation too. By recording the articles that your visitors read, you can generate relevant recommendations. Or more simply, you could put them through a short quiz to gauge what they’re interested in and then present your best articles in their areas of interest.

If you can match your content to what your visitors are looking to read, they’ll be more likely to stick around, keep reading and take whatever the next step is you have in mind for them.

Increased upsell uptake rates & cart value

Website personalisation is a great way to boost your cart value and get users to take upsells that they may not have otherwise considered.

Here’s the situation - a visitor arrives at your shop to buy a pair of shoes. While they’re browsing, you prompt them with a short questionnaire about the kind of shoes they want. Your site makes a handful of recommendations based on their answers and they choose to purchase a pair.

After they’re purchased you can now make recommendations on related products like socks, citing the answers they’ve already shared.

Modifying your website’s “pitch” based on customer personalisation can be a powerful ally.

How to implement website personalisation

I’ve already mentioned a few common ways to implement website personalisation but these are the three best approaches;

  1. Survey your customers and make recommendations
  2. Capture user behaviour and adjust content
  3. Use a paid tool to do the heavy lifting

Survey your customers and make recommendations

Surveying your audience to gain insights is easy. There are a ton of tools out there that can help you do this, or if you’re technically savvy you can write your own little product wizard app.

The underlying idea is to capture user preferences, build triggers into the potential options and show different pages or products based on those triggers.

Typeform is a great platform you can use to build this kind of personalisation survey. Typeform lets you ask questions of your visitors and route them to different pages based on their responses.

All you need to do is find out what your customer’s biggest decision is, and then ask them questions to gain insights into which recommendation will be their best choice. Bake this into a quiz that points respondents to a product or landing page and you’ll see great results!

Capture user behaviour and adjust content

Recording user behaviour is an advanced approach and one you need to take care with (make sure you’re GDPR compliant). It’s also very powerful and flexible since you can control exactly which triggers are recorded and what actions are launched.

Using actions can be captured in cookies, which are little files that live in the user’s browser. When the visitor moves from one page to the next, your website can check their cookie to see if it contains any triggers. If a trigger is present, then personalised content is displayed.

Writing cookies is reserved for your website developer. If you don’t have a reliable developer or you’re not sure this is the right approach for you then you might be better off using a paid tool.

Use a paid tool to do the heavy lifting

There are hundreds of personalisation tools, so we’re just going to list our favourite two to get you started.

Segment

Segment is an omnichannel analytics and customisation platform. It’s become huge over the past couple of years and is used by every second SaaS company.

One of the reasons for Segment’s popularity is the results they help businesses achieve through email, app and website personalisation. Segment can capture data from a range of different sources, and use these insights to make finely tuned recommendations.

Segment does a free plan, but it’s limited. Otherwise, you’re looking at $120/month which can be hard to swallow if you have a small marketing budget.

Google Optimize

At it’s core, Google Optimize is an A/B testing platform. This doesn’t mean it can’t be used for website personalisation.

Google Optimize is packed with a ton of great functionality that gives you the ability to send customers to different pages based on the actions they take. It comes with a fairly intuitive engine for declaring rules, allowing a decent amount of flexibility.

Best of all, it’s free.

Be careful of overusing Google Optimize. It has a tendency to cause performance issues like screen flickering and slow page load times.

Wrapping up

There are tons of ways to personalise your website and the potential is huge. If you’re curious and want to see if it will move the needle, I recommend starting with a short quiz. Our team are actively working on a lead capture quiz at the moment and the next article we publish will explain the thought process that went into its creation.

Deep website or application personalisation can be a tricky and technical affair. If you’re uncertain if you can make it work for your site and would like to know what’s involved in doing it properly, then drop us a line. At the least, you’ll get some good advice on what your next step should be.

Tim Davidson
Tim Davidson
Tim is the face of the company. When you want to kick off a new project, or an update on your existing project, Tim is your man. With a background in project management, Tim specialises in managing the chaos around the company.

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