Your homepage is the gateway to your business. It’s the place where visitors decide if you are worth their time or not. So if you can’t capture their attention, if you can’t hold them and engage them, they will leave. That’s money walking out the door. Don’t let money walk out the door. Instead, use web personalization to engage your visitors and keep them on your site.
1. Personalized Value Proposition
Your value proposition is one of the most important pieces of content on your site. It’s your elevator pitch. It tells potential customers, in just a few sentences, what you can offer them and why they should do business with you.
It’s got to be short and precise. No one wants to read through long paragraphs before they understand what you do. They simply don’t have the time. When they come to your site they want to be able to figure out what you do right off the bat.
Take a look at Solo. In just eight words, Solo delivers a concise value proposition – The beautiful business management application for creative freelancers. It tells you what it does, why it’s different from other similar applications and who it is for.
Your value proposition isn’t a catchall phrase for your company. It has to be personalized to your target audience.
In Solo’s case, they are only targeting creative freelancers. If you are not a creative freelancer, this product is not for you. Even the typography and design of the value proposition is personalized to appeal to creative people.
By just adding those two words - creative freelancers - to their value proposition and personalizing it that little bit, Solo is immediately engaging any of 84 million freelancers around the world who visit their site.
While Solo has a value proposition that is clearly written with its high-level target audience in mind, it’s not personalized.
Imagine the impact that a personalized value proposition could have.
What if Solo’s already great value proposition was personalized to graphic designers, bloggers, and web developers - all types of creative freelancers.
Personalization of value proposition doesn’t just stop at targeting your audience. With more data and information about your visitors, you can go even deeper and personalize it on an individual level.
2. Personalized Forms
If you are looking to capture some information about your customers, you need to use forms. Personalizing your forms can make them easier to understand and increase the chances of having someone fill it out. Remember, you have only six seconds to convince people to stay on your site, so improving forms will make it easier to you and help you generate more leads.
There is a lot of information out there on optimizing your forms in various ways, from changing the number of fields to changing the copy on your submit button. However, personalizing your forms is a tactic that is largely underutilized.
Imagine how easy it would be for someone to fill out a form if it has already been pre-filled with information. That’s not the only possibility, work as well to format the field copy to help improve the number of people who fill it out.
Make use of all the data you have collected and tailor your contact forms so the copy in it is representative of past behavior.
The simplest and easiest way to get information from a visitor is to gradually ask for more information. Each time a person comes back to your site, you can ask for more, incrementally building an in depth profile of each user.
3. Provide Helpful, Pleasant Pop-Ups
Popups are a contentious topic but they work. With great copy and personalization, popups can be used to quickly collect information or build a list of subscribers. Header bars and in-app messages can also be used to good effect.
Whatever your methods, you need to make sure the copy is relevant to the viewer. Use data you have collected about your visitors to personalize these messages. If someone reaches your blog searching for content marketing strategies, your popup can offer to send them a free e-book specifically about content marketing.
Growthhacker.tv sometimes uses a header bar to offer new visitors a one-week free coupon code that expires in one hour. They actually have a timer counting down from sixty minutes in the header bar. Fizzle offers the first month at $1 for a limited time.
Again, these are great example of pop-ups and headers with great content, but content that isn’t dynamic and personalized. Taking the next step and offering real time marketing will dramatically help improve your conversions.
For example, you could track the words and pages that visitors spend most time on to offer specialized discounts that show up at the right time or you can offer personalized upsells to customers while they are using your services.
Imagine you have a Buffer user who repeatedly hits their free account limit.
Well, if that happens they could receive a personalized message based not only on the fact that they repeatedly hit their message limit, but also base the message around other data that you’ve collected to really increase its relevance.
4. Make Sure Your Photos Resonate
A picture speaks a thousand words. However, not everyone responds to images of people and things in the same way. Find patterns where certain customer segments convert higher when presented with certain images.
Whistle gets it right with adorable pictures of dogs, and only dogs, right through their site. It might seem weird when you first read this but it all makes sense when you visit the site and realize that it is aimed only at dog owners. What better way to make a dog owner go, “Awww…”
Sittercity takes the real-time personalization a step further. Their images are based on what they know about you. This means it connects with you emotionally and engages you more.
5. Social Proof
Typically, sites display social proof as the number of Facebook and Twitter followers they have. It’s easier for someone to subscribe or sign up to a service if they see that there are already thousands who have done it. It clearly means the site must be doing something right.
Even more effective forms of social proof are showing testimonials, case studies and famous customers or clients. Asana’s customer list is pretty impressive, wouldn’t you agree? They’re obviously doing something right.
You can take this further by personalizing your social proof based on data you have collected from visitors.
Maybe your customers follow or like one of your clients. Even better, maybe your customers do business with one of them. Try tracking these things and customize the logos you show under the “client” section of your website.
If you have someone from a SaaS company visit you, you could display your SaaS clients.
You can also tailor testimonials, case studies, and other forms of social proof in the same way. A testimonial from CEO of Hubspot would be more impressive to a marketer than a testimonial from an employee at a small store.
6. Your Headline
Headlines are what grab your visitors’ attention and entice them to read more of your content. See how different people respond to your headlines and make sure the right people are seeing the right headline.
The key here is to test out different versions to see which one works best. You can group your visitors or customers into segments based on tastes or preferences and show them headlines optimized for that segment.
You should be careful about personalizing your core headline as it is one of the most important on-site SEO factors. Though, focusing on sub-headlines can still give great effect and not interfere with Google understanding your page.
All the previous steps won’t matter much if your CTA is poor. The CTA is the ultimate action that converts a visitor to a subscriber or, better yet, a paying customer.
Tailoring your CTAs to your visitors will enhance your conversions. You should test different calls to action and make sure that people are seeing the proper and most relevant CTAs.
By personalizing your CTA so that it isn’t a generic “Click here” button, you can increase your chances of getting clicks. Have a look at Geckoboard. Their CTA, which takes you to a sign up form on clicking, actually says, “Start a free trial today.”
If you look at their value proposition, it’s all about saving time and managing data in one place. So the CTA is personalized towards that, by saying you can start (for free!) right away. They could have simply said “Sign up” but it wouldn’t have been as effective, and might have even turned people away.
Putting these strategies into place may not seem like a lot of work, but the boost in engagement and conversions will be significant. Remember to keep collecting data and feeding it back into your web personalization strategies.
What other ways can you think of to personalize your homepage? Please leave a comment below and let us know.