Many online business owners think of their site as a store, when really they might do better to think of it as a mall.
Unless they sell exactly one product, then websites really do resemble malls. They attract diverse types of customers looking for different products and types of information. And much like a mall might attract shoppers for both Hot Topics and Ralph Lauren, they are often very different people.
The key is providing content that interests them all. That requires personalization of content. Simply put, it means providing content that is relevant to different consumer demographics throughout the “buyer journey” through your website.
Think of it this way, using the simple example of a site about books.
- Without personalization, you have general content about new books, the joys of reading and where to buy books.
- With personalization, you recognize that you have site visitors who like romances, mysteries, science fiction and contemporary literature.
- All these are very different interests, so you create content tailored to each of these segments throughout your site, from landing pages and articles to product descriptions and deals you offer at checkout.
Or, to look at it another way, a mystery lover who goes onto a book site will bail quickly if all they see is content about romance novels. That’s not the experience you want potential customers to have.
So how do you get there? Consider these steps.
As noted by Sitefinity, a company that offers one of the more robust content management systems available, the first step is knowing your audience. Using analytics, it’s possible to find out which users are interested in which topics and products. For example, Sitefinity segments users through its CMS based on how they entered the site, what they searched for, how long they stayed on the site and their location. With this information, you can begin the process of creating content aimed at each target demographic.
Target The Presentation
Once the data is in hand on the interests of different types of users, the goal is to then create pages (or redesign current ones) that serve specific segments of your site visitors. Using the above example of books, you’d want to create a page with content that appeals to mystery readers (articles on true crime, unsolved mysteries, etc.) and a page that appeals to romance readers (historical romance, contemporary romance, supernatural romance, etc.). The look, feel and content of each might be different, but that’s the point.
Perhaps the most important step. There’s no use in creating content for people who, for example, like to rebuild old Hondas if no one with an interest in that subject has checked the pages out. While customer feedback can help drive the design and content of personalized pages, they really need to be tested. Have someone “impersonate” a customer arriving on the site and then read the content they are presented. Their opinion will mean a lot more than anyone else’s.
It’s likely that further changes will need to be made, but keep in mind that personalization of content is a continuous process. It never really ends, but that’s what keeps the site relevant.
Measurement and Changes
In the spirit of continuous process improvement, once everything is set on personalized content, the real test begins. All this work is done to drive more traffic to the site and to improve engagement and conversions. Collect and analyze the data to see if the new content has made an impact. If not, it’s time to consider more changes.
Personalize For Device
Another issue of importance is tailoring your website to work on whatever device the customer is using. This is extremely important as studies have shown that more than 65 percent of customers use multiple devices while going through the process of making a buying decision. Mobile is especially important in this area, as the use of mobile for shopping has increased in recent years.
Keeping these ideas in mind can help you along the road to improving site content. With the right CMS and approach, it’s just a matter of rolling up your sleeves and doing the work.