Follow the Data: Personalization Beyond the Homepage

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Ideas and Strategies for Real-Time Personalization
Follow the Data: Personalization Beyond the Homepage

September 1, 2016 by

With personalization transforming the business landscape and being top of mind for so many marketers, it’s no surprise that more and more companies are eager to develop or advance their personalization strategies.

As part of the Customer Success team at Evergage, I’m on the front lines of my clients’ personalization journeys, helping them chart the course for their digital transformations. While there’s no right or wrong way to begin this journey, when many clients first get started, they jump at the opportunity to optimize their homepages before tackling any other part of their site.  

It sounds like an intuitive strategy, right? I thought so too when I first joined Evergage. But in analyzing the pages in which visitors first enter my clients’ sites, we often observe that a significant — if not majority — amount of incoming traffic arrives on secondary pages like product detail pages (PDPs) or blog posts rather than the homepage. This is true for our own website as well — more than half of the traffic to our site comes in through the Evergage blog.

While it may seem counterintuitive at first, employing strategies to keep visitors (especially first-time visitors) engaged on these initial landing pages is integral to improving lead generation, keeping visitors engaged, generating greater revenue, and more. Let’s take a look at some strategies that do the trick.

Blog Optimization – Increase Engagement & Lead Conversions

Like Evergage, many B2B companies generate substantial traffic to their blogs. What happens when a potential customer visits your blog for the first time? How can you ensure that they know who you are? How can you keep them engaged and coming back for more? If the focus of your personalization strategy is on your homepage, you will have missed an opportunity to personalize the experience for this first-time visitor.

With a few simple strategies, my B2B clients are using personalization on their blogs to:

  • Keep visitors on site longer
  • Increase clickthroughs to additional content
  • Eventually convert leads to customers at higher rates

There are many ways to achieve this. For example, based on a visitor’s IP address, you can identify the industry or even company of the anonymous visitor and tailor messages to the implied interests of that visitor. You could even enlist a content recommendation engine to predict which piece of content will be most relevant to the visitor based on the content they’re currently reading.  

For more tips on how to grow blog engagement through personalization, check out this post.

Product Page Optimization – Converting Casual Browsers to Loyal Shoppers

Many of my B2C and e-commerce clients invest heavily in paid search and/or organically generate strong site traffic via SEO on their product pages. These efforts drive a significant amount of traffic – especially first-time visitor traffic — directly to their product detail pages (PDPs). Optimizing PDPs is integral to converting the casual browser into a loyal customer. It’s a missed opportunity to ignore these pages in favor of the homepage. But how is it done?

You can start by displaying a message to welcome them to the site, explain who you are, and provide special offers. Then, you can personalize the PDP by leveraging known attributes of the visitor (even first-time anonymous visitors) as in the blog optimization described above. For example:

  • Recommend similar items based on the current item that the visitor is viewing using a recommendation engine
  • Leverage the referring source and search terms used to land on the product page to target messaging and recommendations that relate to the visitor and his interests
  • Identify the visitor’s location to personalize the page and products shown based on geography

Takeaways

With Evergage, there’s no corner of your site that can’t be personalized for each and every visitor. Your homepage is a valuable spot to personalize, but when you first get started, I encourage you to think about personalization beyond the homepage. Follow the data — if your time is limited and the majority of traffic comes in through pages other than the homepage, start there. Chart your course with real-time analytics to make the most of your visitor’s time and your own resources.

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