The Future of Websites is Personalisation
When your visitors are browsing the internet, they aren't just browsing - they are looking for something. Something personal. Browsing is a word we all know and it became intrinsically linked with the internet through the browsers we use.
But is browsing actually what most people do online these days? Trawling through a random selection of internet sites with little purpose just to see what pops up? Recent trends have shown that no, we've evolved beyond that.
Likewise, how often do you go on Amazon to just look for something, but you don’t know what exactly?
We’ve trained ourselves to be much more critical to what we want see on the internet, and we don’t like it when we’re shown something completely out of context, which is one of the reasons why traditional advertising methods are dying out.
Marketers need to be creative and direct without being too direct and pushy with your product. This means:
- Providing personal and meaningful experiences
- Taking better advantage of data to be able to provide these experiences
- Having access to worthwhile, personal data that can be applied directly to your audience
Personalisation is the catch-all term for this process - it requires taking risks and it requires having access to the right technology, but if you aren't able to provide a personalisation baseline, a lot of visitors will find a competitor who does and it will inhibit growth in the long term.
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What does personalisation mean in practice?
Today, everyone is looking for something. The concept of browsing is still around, but has been supplanted by, for instance, checking Twitter.
The key difference is that your Twitter feed is something you have personalised yourself - you have chosen the people you want to follow, you have filtered the news you want to read, and the type of discussion you want to engage with.
Personalisation means that you're showing the visitors that you are both aware of and interested in appealing to them, personally. It is without question that this method is both more effective than having static content, and it also inevitable in the future - this is where digital marketing is headed, and in fact people are already expecting to be catered to personally.
The benefits of personalisation
What this means is that your strategy needs to be entirely user-centric - both internally and externally. You need a better basis for making informed decisions about your audience, and also being more aware of the types of segments that comprise your audience.
It's a tricky balance to walk, but research shows that
By 2018, businesses who invest in all types of personalisation will outsell companies that have not by 20%.
How do I utilise personalisation?
Amazon utilises personalisation by giving each visitor their own personal space with their preferred products, recommended purchases on each and every item and a dynamic search function that shortens the distance between visitors and the product they are looking for.
Netflix utilises personalisation by giving users control over their feed by being able to rate everything they watch, gradually making the front page more and more personal with every visit, and actually showing the recommendation statistics directly.
Simply put, there are any number of methods you can use to make your website more personal and facilitate better experiences. They don’t need to be huge changes to your content, in fact in many cases it pays to be more subtle.
In a larger sense, personalisation can be:
- Targeting your site content to the country a visitor is from
- Showing products related to the item a visitor is viewing in a web shop
- Presenting personal calls-to-action in context of the visitor’s behaviour
- Tailoring your website to the preferred channel of each visitor
- Account-based personalisation and tailored landing pages
These are just some of the examples we've identified and utilised that have proven to generate direct value for our clients. Implementing personalisation into your business can be a long and costly process, but knowing more about your audience and presenting them with personalised, meaningful experiences is without question key to your long term survival if your business relies on marketing.
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