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A customer who feels valued and wanted is likely to remain a customer. This is precisely why personalization on the web matters. A lack of personalization will drive customers and potential leads away, into the embrace of competitors that utilize a more personalized approach.
In particular, there are five big reasons why personalization on the web is vital for businesses:
Appealing to a Growing Web-Savvy Niche
Now that the web has been a part of popular culture for about two decades, it makes sense that the public is generally more web-savvy than ever. For businesses reaching out to current and potential customers online, this means the standards are higher for capturing their attention, as it’s a group that’s more critical of non-personalization.
An example of this is how, a decade or so ago, people were perfectly accustomed to non-personalized emails. Nowadays, if an email doesn’t properly begin with “Hi (your actual name here),” it’s likely to be discarded.
An increasing familiarity with the web has coincided with easier recognition of spam, both on behalf of actual spam detection systems and manual user detection. If an email comes across even remotely as automated or non-personalized, it very well may go directly to trash or spam.
Increased User Engagement Opportunities
Personalized web content has ample potential to inspire user engagement, as users are more inclined to act based on perceived personalized interaction as opposed to automated messages. For example, an effective automated system at a university may remind students about registering for upcoming classes with a message like:
This is your advisor, William. The final date to register for classes is August 25th, so make sure to register at my office or at coursecatalog.university.edu. Let me know if you have any questions!
Conversely, an ineffective message would read something like:
If you have yet to register for classes, please visit coursecatalog.university.edu by August 25th. Thanks!”
The difference between these two is that one reads like it’s from an actual individual who cares, as opposed to a mass-produced message. It offers the option for follow-up as well, decreasing the likelihood of confusion. An average salesperson spends 20% of their time researching customers and ways to get them to engage, so this strategy could be a great time-saver.
The interesting thing is that the effective message could be entirely automated. It’s not that automation and personalization are enemies — they can cohesively intertwine when implemented properly. The message from the advisor could be seemingly personalized for every student, though through using an automation program that values personalization through spreadsheets, it is actually automated.
Suggestion-Based Personalization Pays Off
Sites like Amazon track users’ purchasing and browsing history to determine products or services they may be interested in. Ad companies do the same with cookies, though those have a much more unfavorable reputation. Conversely, a business like Amazon that is already trusted can monitor such behavior and come across as helpful instead. The distinction is primarily that Amazon has a plethora of products and reliability.
Businesses that use analytical customer data to forecast future behavior and tailor recommendations and engagement opportunities as such have an edge in customer retention. Studies show it’s five to seven times more likely to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one, so it’s more financially responsible to emphasize retention using personalization features like customer recommendations and refined customer service that actually answers questions, as opposed to emitting irrelevant automated information.
Adjustments Are Potentially Minimal
A business that switches from automation to more personalized content should not suffer significant financial hardship from the transition. Alternating to a more personalized approach is entirely possible through free or low-cost resources. For instance, WordPress plugins such as inSite personalize user visits with pop-ups, notifications and other feedback options that appear tailored to the specific user.
Another resource are tools such as tawk.to that allow you to embed in-site messaging, allowing visitors to chat with a real or intelligently automated business representative when visiting the site. These are free or minimally priced and provide new visitors with a sense of comfort and self-worth, since chatting with a real representative is potentially only one click away. Plus, an actual chat box makes automation easier to spot, unlike email.
Ripe Social Media Opportunities
It’s incredibly easy for a business to occasionally reply to users on their social media page, addressing them enthusiastically by their name and answering any questions informatively and politely. Not only does this answer the customer’s question and increase the likelihood of them remaining a customer, but it also provides positive PR by showcasing to anyone else visiting the page that the business cares about customer feedback.
Whether on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, businesses can use social media as a ripe source for personalized interaction that strongly shows a business as a customer-first operation. The plethora of platforms for this opportunity, as well as other aspects like a web-savvy audience and increased user engagement, makes personalization on the web crucial in 2016 and beyond.