Personalization Guide
The 2020 Edition

The Marketer's Guide to Website Personalization

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Chapter 1:

What is personalization?

To clarify, when we refer to personalization in this guide, we’ll be referring to web personalization. There are a lot of types of personalizations you can deploy: email personalization, advertising personalization, product personalization, etc.

While these all have fundamental similarities, they vary in execution. Each of these categories of personalization could be the sole subject of a guide — so we’re going to limit to primarily covering web personalization in this guide.

We’ll touch on a few instances of how you’ll see personalization in other instances, but we think the biggest return happens on your website. That’s where customers sign up for demos, view pricing pages, and ultimately convert through your funnel.

What is web personalization?

First, let's read the official definition of website personalization:

Website personalization: The act of tailoring a website to enhance the relevance of content to meet the individual needs of every visitor.

When personalization is done well, it reduces friction to help the visitor achieve their goal faster, increase relevance of media and products to the visitors needs and preferences, and delight visitors with a personal touch.

As Jeff Bezos said in an interview back in 2000 about the goal personalization, "[Personalization is when] you go into a bar and sit down, and the bartender puts a whiskey in front of you without having to ask what you want." That was over twenty years ago. Now, we see that vision of Amazon.com come to life.

The CEO of Amazon continues his keynote with, "If we want to have 20 million customers, then we want to have 20 million 'stores.' ... Our mission is to be the earth's most customer-centric company," Bezos said.

Personalization has been trailblazed by B2C brands (business to consumer) such as Amazon, Netflix, and Airbnb. However, recently B2B brands (business to business) have also had incredible success with personalization.

The software company ProfitWell recently increased content downloads by 162% by personalizing their call to actions on their blog. Textedly reported a 15% increase in signups by personalizing for 7 unique industries.

What does it take to do personalization?

Personalization has been a buzzword in marketing for decades. Proven strategies first started working in email marketing in the late 90s and early 2000s. As the internet started to mature with search engines and social media, the rapid rate of data collection, personalization made its way into advertising. Google and Facebook have forever changed the way advertising world because of their ability to show the most relevant ads to any audience at scale.

If personalization has been a strategy in both email marketing and advertising for years, why is website personalization not yet mainstream?

Austin Distel explains in Proof's free course on personalization, "To do personalization well you need 3 things. One: the right data so you can see trends and predict behavior. Two: the right strategy to implement that benefits both customers and brands effectively. Three: The right person to implement and manage personalized experiences."

Here's a simple checklist of things you should have in place to have an effective website personalization strategy:

1. You need enough traffic to see trends in data.

If you only have 100 people visiting your site per month, you won't have enough data to see trends much less accurately predict visitor's needs. We recommend you have at least 10,000 visitors to your site per month before thinking about a personalization strategy. With that amount of traffic, you will be able to run tests and get conclusive insights in reasonable time.

2. You need the right tools for personalization

There are a few tools you need to implement website personalization. First, you obviously need a website. Good news is that it doesn't matter which platform you choose, whether it's Wordpress, Webflow, or any other website builder.

Secondly, you need a personalization platform to manage your audiences, build campaigns, and track results. The largest company in the space is Optimizely which is for large enterprises. They have a lot of bells and whistles you need for complex eCommerce stores, but expect to pay north of $100,0000 per year annual contact with them.

On the smaller side, RightMessage will provide decent behavioral targeting capabilities with their widgets like banners and popups but you don't have the flexibility to edit your current website's content. You also can't personalize with visitor's traits like company name, industry, and logos.

That's why Proof Experiences is the best fit for B2B companies. You can edit your existing website without coding, connect audiences from your CRM like Salesforce or HubSpot, and even personalize for cold visitors based on Clearbit data which dramatically increases conversion rates.

3. You need the right person to manage personalization

Maybe that person is you? We call this person's job title in the marketing department The Director of Personalization.

They are a customer-centric thinker who obsesses around crafting delightful, high-converting website experiences. They have experience in building customer journeys in emails, advertising, or website funnels. As many marketers are, this role should be both creative and data-driven.

Where can you learn the skills of website personalization? Check out our free course that will train you on the mindset and skills needed to craft effective personalization campaigns. It also includes some great tutorials with step-by-step how to build campaigns!

We have a unique perspective on personalization at Proof because we get to see which strategies work and which don't. We also keep a close eye on companies we admire that do personalization well, such as Amazon.

Continue reading because in the next lesson, we share the trends appearing in 2020 to showcase what's working and inspire your own website personalization strategies.

Chapter 2:
Personalization trends in 2020
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