The Web and mobile sites of your organization are visited by quite some people every day. But does each one of them find exactly what they are looking for? As an organization, it is important to ensure that every single visitor of its websites gets to their purpose in simple and easy steps. In other words, it is important to personalize. It’s no secret that many organizations have started doing it and are now considering their ability for content personalization to be fundamental to their digital strategy.

People have different intentions when they visit a site. Some are looking to buy something from your products or services. Some might be simply doing research. Some looking for a product review or someone may be trying to find a people or search for a job opening. Then we again have the first time visitors, the returning ones and also those identified by unique properties like age, gender, location, income etc. Some random visitor might also simply not have an idea why he’s here and might be looking for a way out.

Many websites still display an exact same content for everyone in an attempt to appeal to a wide range of visitors simultaneously. The impact here is it becomes not so exciting for many visitors. The ideal situation would be to have a specific content and call for actions for the different set of visitors which will actually make them feel that the page can sense their need and they have landed in the right place. A dynamic web experience created through personalised content can quickly move customers through the conversion cycle. Personalized pages have shown that a significant raise can be achieved by engaging the customers by creating a one to one experience, which in turn has the potential to directly impact the organization’s top line.

The social media revolution in last few years has brought in a radical change in the way people are experiencing the web. The focus is now more on user engagement and user-driven content. The concept of dynamic website personalization has empowered organizations with options to change the content, messaging and offers for any particular visitor based on set criteria. These deciding criteria can be based on multiple factors including website behaviour, stage in the purchasing process, user actions and much more. A visitor’s true interests can now easily be reflected by analysing their activity and architecting the web content in a real time situation. Visitor’s current and past behaviours like clicks, searches, views etc. can be analysed to provide them with a highly personalised experience throughout their visit. Cues from social networks such as favourites, likes, subscriptions etc. can also be measured to get a good understanding. The truth is that most visitors will be only interested in their specific needs and does not bother about all other information. Hence it is in the best interest of any organization to have the content updated in real time so that each time a visitor lands up in the website it does not get him turned off by information they don’t need but instead encourage the movement down the sales funnel by providing him the most relevant set of information.

Even a couple of years back, a personalized website used to involve quite a heavy lifting on technology and cost. Due to technical advancements, it has become a much easier process nowadays. Though there is still no solution that fits into all kind of situations, some general steps and guidelines can be followed to identify and develop the best approach that suits an organization’s needs.

Although it might appear intuitive, the first step of creating a personalized content is to know who your audience is. Most visitors prefer to do a research before deciding on the final product or service. And this is the stage where an organization holds the key of throwing all the content that can be most relevant to a visitor. Segmenting the visitors comes next, where the idea is to group all visitors with similar attributes. Segmentation is a critical step because this ultimately makes the entire process manageable and methodical. It creates the content themes and categories and ensures the content is properly aligned with the targeted customer. When it comes to personalisation setting of benchmarks is a critical element. Robust analytics integrated with the visitor identification tools plays an important role. The objective should not be limited to just measuring the clicks and page views. But should look with greater details at each key target and segment separately, measuring their behaviour on the website. A successful personalization strategy leverages useful insights derived from relevant data to work out a better segmentation approach. Even after the personalisation process is in place, analytics keeps playing a vital role in helping one understand the effective nature of content for each group from their pattern of consumption. For many organisations, content creation appears as the biggest impediment. In actual it is not that complex. It’s not that one needs to write a special white paper for each of the segments. In fact more than content creation, it is about having a right content strategy. It is seen very often that organizations try creating more content when the actual need was for a better distribution. It’s not that one should write a case study for each industry, but should organize the case studies such that the right industry is served with the right content.

How Content Personalisation works or how do one define the process for making the content aligned with his visitors? In simple words, it looks at the data that is available when a visitor hits the site and compares it with a set of predefined variables. These data can range from location, their source of visit, ads clicked by them, keywords they typed etc. to a lot many other items. The variables defined includes location, a device being used, keywords searched, date and time, referring URL, session behaviour etc. There are practically endless possibilities to capture data and match against set variables depending upon one’s content strategy. The combination of multiple factors often gives the best result. For E.g. New York City, Mac and Google Ads can be tagged to a different content than the one tagged with Paris, Windows and Facebook.

Information is the source of real power. More relevant information gives the ability to make better and informed decisions. Big Data and Analytics holds a lot of potential in better decision making, increasing efficiencies and experiences being adapted to individual preferences. Investments in technology such as Web Content Management tools along with CRM, Web Analytics Platforms and Marketing Automation have allowed organizations to capture and store valuable customer data. Now it is up to the organisations on how to make the correct use of this data. In its true sense, a business that can develop an effective content strategy based on all such data has the potential to unlock much-untapped revenue and deliver a truly delightful experience for its visitors.

Sudhakar Kamalakar

Sudhakar Kamalakar

Practice Head, Enterprise Collaboration at Aspire Systems
Sudhakar Kamalakar