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Jan 27, 2011

Online Personalisation - Taking the First Steps

Personalisation has been mentioned plenty of times in the past and continues to be a goal for businesses on the web, but sometimes personalisation plans can be too complicated or miss the mark when it comes to customer interaction.

Personalisation offers the chance to work with and build upon existing customer base as a starting point rather than focusing on new visitors from search engines (and possibly misusing your resources, driving away site visitors if you fail to offer anything truly valuable, and present a confusing and/or unhelpful experience).

There are a number of ways to offer a customised experience for customers and site visitors, such as the opportunities now presented through social media sites. While people love the idea of personalisation, however, they often hate the idea of their privacy being invaded by sites like Facebook, so there is a fine line when it comes to personalised online experiences. That said, there are plenty of steps that companies can take to use personalised and segmented marketing to provide a positive and welcoming experience for customers and increase probability of purchase at the same time.

A good place to start is to figure out who your customers/potential customers are and how they behave on your site. For example:

  • What have they already told you? Use information from existing customers/users in your database, like previous purchases or their personal preferences
  • How they found your website: PPC advertising, blogs, Twitter promotions, Google Places page, and so on
  • What they are doing on your website: Where are visitors going to on your site? What are they searching for?
  • Which cities you're Facebook 'likers' are from: This info changes so keep track of the data as people 'like' and 'unlike' you over time
  • Better yet, where are all your customers coming from? Certain businesses can offer services according to city/country/region and offer a custom website for customers from these areas

Once you have information like this, you can begin creating a customised experience:

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  • Offer a range of products, prices and styles for different customer segments - just as you would offline in a shop
  • (Warning: Blatant plug ahead) Our coreDNA technology offers an authority feature that allows you to change the visibility of certain areas of your sites for individual members or groups, a great way to personalise their online experiences
  • Targeted newsletters: Show new products, recommend based on past purchases, etc.
  • E-mail correspondence: Avoid Tesco's mistakes
  • Levi's has recently turned it's online retail page into a social experience with 'like-minded shopping'

Also, don't forget to set up ROI measurement for personalisation features you add to your website/marketing campaigns; this allows you to learn from your mistakes and tweak future personalisation in order to offer an experience that is actually valuable to your customer.


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