Want to convert a first-time visitor into a loyal user? Give them a personalized experience.
Website personalization can be as simple as asking a few questions when visitors come to your website so you can deliver them relevant content—or as complex as product recommendations based on their past browsing and shopping behavior. No matter what your budget or goals, there’s a way to create a unique, personalized experience for your user.
The Power of Personalization
Every time you visit Amazon, Netflix or Spotify, you’re getting an experience that is catered to your needs and interests. And there’s a strategic reason for it—website personalization leads to higher engagement and conversion rates. We decided to dig further into how exactly personalization impacts engagement and conversion and found:
- 60% higher engagement on websites that offer personalized share buttons
- 40% higher conversions after using personalized audience targeting
You don’t have to have the money or resources of Amazon, Netflix or Spotify to deliver a personalized experience to your users. Any strategy you can employ to tailor content to your audience—no matter how small—can have a large impact.
How to Offer Your Visitors a Personalized Experience
There isn’t just one way to give users a personalized experience. You can tailor content based on who they are, what they’re doing, and why they came to your site. And luckily there are tools out there, like AddThis Audience Targeting, that make this easier than ever. If you implement personalization in an effective way, you can easily turn a site visitor into a brand advocate . Here’s how:
1. Tailor content to your audience.
Who’s visiting your website? What do you know about them? Think about how you can enhance their experience based on known factors like:
- New vs. returning visitors: Target messages to new and returning users. Want to direct a first-time visitor to a page that explains more about your brand? Prompt a user to sign up for your newsletter once they know what you’re all about? AddThis Audience Targeting Rules allow you to create custom messages for different audiences based on the rules you set—like new vs. returning visitor.
- Browser and device-based: Users are increasingly using mobile for web browsing, so it’s important that you create user-friendly experiences for smart phones, tablets and desktop computers.
- Geography: Do users from certain geographic areas gravitate toward specific content? Are you holding events in certain cities? Create specific messaging for those users with the AddThis Audience Targeting Rules—segmenting for geography.
2. Curate a “best of” section.
Your popular content is popular for a reason, so you want to make sure you’re keeping it in heavy rotation on relevant areas of your site. Personalizing content based on a topic is a great way to keep visitors engaged with your site.
MintLife, Mint.com’s personal finance blog, has a “Recommended Reading” section comprised of their greatest hits (traffic-wise) along with how many page views each piece of content has gotten to date. A “best of” section can be comprised of what’s new, most popular, or closest to the topic you’re reading about.
3. Create custom landing pages.
Customized landing pages are a smart way to package related content for promotion around your site, advertising campaigns, or email and social media marketing. Users who click on a link to one of these pages will already be interested in the subject matter, so they’ll be getting an entire page full of content based on their interests.
Food Network does landing pages for individual shows, chefs, and seasonal events. Each page feels like a complete experience, with recipes, videos, and how-tos.
4. Suggest content they may like.
If a user is interested enough to click over to your site and engage with a piece of content, give them more of it! The AddThis Related Posts Tool allows you to dynamically display content suggestions based on what’s new, popular, or related. You can choose from several different page placements and customize it for seamless integration into your website.
Personalization in Action
The following websites use at least one of the personalization strategies outlined above. Their goal in doing so is to keep visitors engaging with their content and coming back for more. See how they do it:
- Doggyloot is a daily deal site for canine lovers. To tailor content for first-time visitors, they ask for the size of your dog, and then show you deals for products appropriate for your pet. It eliminates having to sort through extra-large bones and chew toys if you have a Chihuahua at home, instead showing you products you’re more likely to buy.
- Offbeat Bride offers content recommendations in several places on her site—within articles, at the end of the page, and within a lightbox as you scroll down. If you land on her site, chances are you’re looking for wedding advice—and with so many content options to click through to, you’re likely to stay awhile.
- LearnVest’s “Must Reads” is a curated “best of” section that offers free money management advice. The first time you peruse the library and click on an article, you receive an overlay urging you to check out their financial planning services. You also get different homepage options if you’re logged in based on what services you’ve already signed up for.
As these examples highlight, website personalization is no longer just for the big guys. There are cost-effective solutions and tools that are making it possible for every business with a website. So what are you waiting for? Start offering your visitors a personalized, unique experience and see your engagement and conversions increase.
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Last modified: October 14th, 2016