Digital Marketing Blog

3 Reasons To Have Website Personalization

  • By Brad Poirier
  • 21 Dec, 2015

Making the case for personalization

If you go to almost any website these days, you’ll see what looks like a cookie cutter design. It’s the ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL strategy used by many web designers. Few (major) companies have delivered a customized experience. You’ll see this with Amazon and eBay to name just two. That does not mean that your small business website can’t have the same dynamic content.

Breeze Digital Media websites offers incredibly useful tools that can now change what content is being displayed and when to display it to better match the visitors unique needs. This helpful tool with maximize conversion from existing traffic and engage your customers.

Here are three ways website personalization can improve the engagement of your site and immediately increase the conversion rate.

1. Timing

3 Reasons To Have Website Personalization - Timing
3 Reasons To Have Website Personalization - Timing
The phrase “timing is everything” rings very true with website personalization. If you’re going to change an aspect in your website at a predetermined trigger point, you need to make sure the change is relevant to the viewer.

Basically, you’re creating a personalized call to action (CTA for future reference). To get a better idea of what this looks like in real time, consider this example situation:

Jane is looking for a new skateboard for her son, so she starts a google search on her desktop computer and it brings her to awesomeskateboards.com. Jane has never been to that website before, but she knows what she wants to buy.

Because John (owner of Awesome Skateboards) uses website personalization, he has a trigger setup that recognizes when a customer like Jane visits his website for the first time. After a few seconds on the site, a coupon appears in front of Jane: “New Customers Get 10% Off Their First Purchase.” Jane's quick to claim the coupon, and she instantly gets it emailed to her phone to reference if she decides to visit the store.

But Jane isn’t an impulse buyer. She does her due diligence and checks out the websites of some other local skateboard shops around town. She finds that they all have a pretty similar selection of children’s skateboards, but only one offers a 10 percent discount. She’s made her decision, so she and her son head out to Awesome Skateboards
A personalized event should be a shortcut that minimizes the number of clicks or taps it takes to go from visitor to customer. A first-time visitor, like Jane, would be lured in by a coupon, but a skateboard enthusiast who visits John's website a few times a week doesn’t need a coupon popping up every time they land on the site. For them, a ‘Follow Us on Facebook’ button would be a better way to keep them regularly updated with different promotions and events.

2. Location

3 Reasons To Have Website Personalization - Location
3 Reasons To Have Website Personalization - Location
You could have the most beautiful website the world has ever seen, but if you run a brick-and-mortar business, it doesn’t matter unless you’re getting customers through your front door.
John knows that she needs to get more customers, so she uses website personalization to make sure the journey to her storefront is fast and smooth.
Jane just left her house to go buy her daughter a skateboard from Awesome Skateboard Shop, but she forgot to write down the address before she left. She pulls out her phone and goes back to awesomeskateboards.com to find the address, and right away she’s greeted by a “Maps” button. She clicks it and Google Maps immediately starts directing her to Awesome Skateboards.
Awesome Skateboard Shop has locations in Lincoln, Providence and Warwick, but his website’s personalization trigger recognizes that Jane lives in Lincoln, so it won’t send her on a ‘journey' to Warwick. Instead it will direct her to the outlet in her hometown.
It’s also worth noting the type of device that Jane is using. When she visited John's website on her laptop, it wouldn’t really be useful to get immediate step-by-step directions. A trigger in John's website can recognize the device being used, and display the most relevant content. Most people turn to mobile devices for navigation help, so it makes sense to prioritize navigation content on mobile devices over laptop and desktop devices.

3. Engagement

3 Reasons To Have Website Personalization - Engagement
3 Reasons To Have Website Personalization - Engagement
“Engagement” is one of the web design community’s favorite buzzwords. Everyone talks about how important it is to engage your customers and get them interacting with your website, and the concept is easy enough to grasp at surface level. But few websites are truly engaging.
John had some similar issues with her website, but he quickly found that website personalization was able to greatly increase customer engagement with her business.
It’s now August, and Jane's son is about to head back to school after spending a summer skateboarding around his neighborhood on one of John’s skateboards. He’s now old enough to skateboard to and from school, so Jane wants to get his son’s skateboard tuned up and ready for the school year. She opens up her laptop again and goes back to awesomeskateboards.com to see if they offer tune-ups.
Sure enough, there’s a whole page dedicated to tune-ups on the website. There’s plenty of information about different replacement parts, cleaning products, and DIY repair guides, but she wants to make sure that a professional takes a look to ensure her son's safety.
John has set up a trigger in his website that recognizes that Jane has visited the website a few times, and this prompts a notification for Jane: “Back to School Special: Free Tune-Ups For Previous Customers!”
Jane adds the special to her agenda, further inspired to return to John’s Awesome Skateboard Shop for her future skateboard related needs.

In closing

John and Jane are fictional, but your customers aren’t. They are real people who face the same type of challenges Jane did, and website personalization can solve a lot of those challenges. This article only has a few examples of ways that website personalization can help your business, but it’s still a very new and underutilized technology. If you want to have the upper hand against your competitors and instantly boost your conversion, then try out website personalization today.

Breeze Digital Media News & Resources

By Brad Poirier 18 Oct, 2017

Deadlines. Employees. Networking. Accounting. Advertising. HR. – The Party Planning Committee.

As a small business owner, you likely wear many hats.

“Wait, now I have to wear a marketing hat also?”

Well the short answer is no, you don’t have to. It really depends on how competitive you want to be in your industry.

Your big competitors invest lots of time and money into marketing their business, but that doesn’t mean you have to. Outsourcing your digital marketing to a digital marketing agency can both improve your lead quality and improve your overall ROI.

Let me explain.

By Brad Poirier 15 Aug, 2017
We are a visual society, so you should be using at least one of these options on your website.

Just like website design ranges from no use of images to the overuse of them, same is true with icons today. More than ever, some webpages are being cluttered with icons, that often add no context to the page or just add nothing to the user experience.

When is it good to use an icon on your website? Here's a few criteria I follow plus some resources for putting icons on your website.
By Brad Poirier 13 Jul, 2017
What’s more important to you: A shiny trophy for being number one on Google or a boat load of new clients coming your way.

Yes, we have said before that the number one position on Google gets 33% of the traffic for that keyword, but what do you see coming up as number one now-a-days?

Local Directories come up first. Do a quick Google search for anything local business related, for instance "restaurants near me". I did this search, and not one result on the first page was from a local business website. ALL of the first 10 results were local review sites such as Yelp, TripAdvisor and OpenTable.

Now to be fair, there were three local results that appeared first, in what we call the Google Snack Pack. Before the website results, Google displays three locations from Google Maps, which is also very important. For websites though, it was all local directories.
By Brad Poirier 18 May, 2017
There's pros and cons to this type of Facebook post. The pro, well, you're making an attempt to create business. The cons? How do you set an expiration date on that? Even if you indicate one in the post, there could be that customer that just says "oh, I didn't see that". Further, how do you keep track of it? Are you going to write down on a sheet of paper every time someone comes in and says "Hey, I saw this post on Facebook". Also, not everyone wants to mention that. People want to present coupons and get a deal, they don't want to announce that they're getting a deal.

There is a much better way to accomplish what you are trying to do. You may have seen it, used it, tried it, but here's how to get the most out of the post type called "Offer". Watch the video below to see an example or read below.
By Brad Poirier 10 May, 2017

Chances are the website you’re using for your business is using Wordpress. Why? Because right now,  Wordpress powers 26% of the web   ...worldwide. That’s an overwhelming market share. In the past, my experience using Wordpress has been for some personal blogs, never as a commercial website. For the past few years working as a web designer, I have been using a version of  Zurb’s Foundation Framework   to develop websites. I’ve stayed away from Wordpress for many reasons, which I’ll explain below.

I figured though: If Wordpress powers 26% of the web, it can’t be all that bad though right? Wrong. Sure, Wordpress has it’s advantages, namely in the blogging area. It still is the go-to platform of choice for blogging. Here’s the thing though: Wordpress was never meant to be a website builder. It just evolved that way. What started off as an independent project grew into the global name it is today. The entire platform though, is supported mainly by community members. Try calling a Wordpress support number. Nope. Doesn’t exist.

To really put Wordpress to the test though, I had to actually go through and build a full site, not just a blog page. Well certainly, I wasn’t going to waste my time at work building a client’s website on Wordpress. I decided to build one for myself. I have a photography hobby, and so I chose to build a photography portfolio. 15 hours later, I have an OK performing website with 3 pages setup plus some gallery pages. I am a professional designer and it took me 15 hours to get it somewhat polished.

I logged my experience every step of the way, and so here’s all of my pain points and some of the positives that came out of this experience. Overall I can tell you, though, it’s about as horrible as I expected it to be. I am more certain now than ever, that I never want to develop websites using Wordpress. I can see why large Wordpress sites are expensive to develop. Development costs are almost entirely billed by time. The longer it takes your web developer to get from blank to finished, the more it will cost you. (FYI, my development time and costs are substantially lower than industry averages)

By Brad Poirier 07 Mar, 2017
Did you know that the average consumer checks your website at least two times from two different devices before they journey into your location? Over 60% of searches start  from a smartphone device , but there is still a great amount of desktop and tablet traffic coming in. Why is that? Some of that desktop traffic is the original, organic traffic yes. However, a lot of it is a returning customer. Perhaps you're a kitchen remodeler , someone searches for "kitchen remodeling" and they find your website from their smartphone. They're not ready to buy yet though. So they bookmark or they email their significant other the web address. When they get home, they venture to their desktop or start using their tablet to continue the research.

Most (amateur) web designers only pay attention to the desktop view. Sad face: many web designers still build websites that are desktop only, they're not building responsive websites that are mobile-optimized. The worst part is they're often designing this on a 20" or larger monitor. Of course it's easy to design a great site when you have 20" of a digital canvas to work with. The real Picasso comes out when you can take that same great experience and display that on a 4" screen, AND to optimize it for as slow as a 3G connection. There's a big difference between your site being mobile-friendly and mobile-optimized. Mobile-friendly usually just means making sure the content is formatted to scroll up and down and no content stretches beyond the width of the smartphone screen. Mobile-optimized is taking the same content from your desktop and optimizing it for a mobile experience. This is important now more than ever, as Google has started to ONLY SEO Index your mobile site and not your desktop site.

So that's the why I design websites using four screens. You might interested in knowing what are the screens I design with, and how I use each one of them to turn your website from blah to Yahhh! I only build websites that are responsive. I check how the content looks and how the content interacts along the way. Below are the screens that I use to check this with and more importantly, the order in which I do this.

Screen #1 - Smartphone
You might be shocked to think that the first screen I check my work on is a mobile device. If you were a bakery and 60% of your revenue came from donuts, would you start your morning by prepping the cookies and pastries? You start with your money maker! Well, since over 60% of all Google searches start from a mobile device, why would you start with the device that people aren't using as much? I'll tell you why, it's because you're working with an amateur designer. Or perhaps you're working with a legacy designer who won't budge. When I design in a mobile-first environment, I can truly focus on that experience and maximizing it's potential. We focus on getting the most important information right away. For most businesses this means placing a "TAP-TO-CALL" style button at the top of the page. Nothing is more frustrating than having to remember the number in your head and quickly double-tap-your-home-button to get to the phone dialer and attempt to get every number in there correctly. If location visits are important we also make sure there are easy-to-find buttons for loading your bulit-in GPS navigation.

What do you think the next screen is going to be?

Screen #2 - Tablet
Did you guess that correctly? It's only natural to work my way up the screen size. Now that I've mastered the experience for mobile, I can open up canvas a little here and work on the tablet view. Tablets today range from about 7"-10" and yes there are those two outliers that are around 13" , but they're still a tablet, at least according to the internet browser being used. A growing trend for the tablet view is using what we call the "hamburger" menu. That's the 3-line menu button you might see in the upper right or left hand corner of the screen. We layout the navigation in both the hamburger format and the traditional horizontal navigation. It all depends on the business and the goal of your website. That's why we custom design all of our sites starting with a 1-on-1 consultation . Since a tablet is still inherently a mobile device where the user interacts using only a touchscreen, we still are focusing on easy, tappable buttons. Consumers are used to tapping on items with their tablets, we make it super easy for that to happen. Gone are the days of only making links available from within the text. Consumers need clear call-to-action buttons to guide them along their buying journey.

Screens #3 & #4 - Laptop & Large Monitor
Technically I'm designing and coding everything on my large monitor, but the testing is being done on multiple screens. However, when I start to design for the desktop, I'm using my laptop which dual outputs to a 21" cinema display. This allows me to have the freedom of design but to see how it will interact on a 13" monitor (which is about the average monitor size for a small laptop). The most important content is "above the fold". So if it's not designed right, some of the content that looks good on 21" would normally get cut off on a smaller screen. We make sure that doesn't happen. The desktop design is where it does get a lot more fun, and more roomy. It's like trying to pack a bunch of moving boxes into a cargo van when you've been using your 1988 Corolla earlier that day. Ahh, you can breathe a little. However, use this space carefully. Remember, with great space comes great responsibility. I've seen many web designers who came from a graphic design background. It is honestly a natural progression, but it's an entirely different approach. Use a white space or negative space is critical here. So if you're used to working with that graphic designer who loves using tons of colors and turning text into metal like beveled art and everything else that came with cheap Photoshop work from 10 years ago, they're in the wrong arena. You have about 5 seconds to capture someone's attention before they'll decide to leave the website. Now, a lot of that comes from excellent copywriting and headline writing , but bad design choices will confuse the consumer and cause them to leave and go to the next result in line.

So there you have it. The method to my madness. Some people look at website design and say why not , I look at website design and say why ? Rule of thumb: Just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should. I'm on the web all day long. I can easily spot a badly performing website, in terms of conversion. Today, you're website is all about conversion . Your business can't afford to run a wiki-pedia website. It needs to be a lean, mean, lead-generating machine. This applies to all business websites.

What are some examples of good and bad website design that you have seen?
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