12 / 02 / 2016

Personalisation Strategy for websites


Andrew Chubb




The constantly evolving nature of web applications is adding a new layer to our online experience. Think of services such as Facebook, Twitter, Amazon and Airbnb. These websites share a common virtue, in that they use personalisation to build their product around the user.

From a web strategy point of view, the object of personalisation is to bring focus to your brand, provide information in a context that is informative and relevant to the user, with the ultimate aim of increasing visitor engagement or promoting customer retention.

Personalisation can make or break a user’s experience. A well implemented strategy will provide a more focused and relevant user journey, whereas a poorly implemented strategy can compromise the entire marketing message, and present users with a complicated and bewildering experience.

How can personalisation help me?

Personalisation strategies can be quite varied. The key is to align them to your overall business goals. It is a natural progression once you have established your brand and message online to begin targeting your users. You can turn your overall business goals into personalisation requirements by considering your marketing strategy and how this relates to user journeys. For example, if your goal is to increase sales, you might use personalisation to transform visitors to sales leads. Or if your goal is to increase your user base, promote services and advice that you know people are likely to be interested in.

Who are your visitors?

It is important to start by developing a profile for your visitors, defining characteristics and finding out how you can increase their engagement with your service. Profile points can usually be split into two types: Implicit values, which relate to browsing behaviour, and explicit values which relate to visitor responses. Looking at website analytics can tell you a lot about your visitors such as where they are located, what device they view your site on, how long they spend on your site and other browsing patterns. Consider responses from enquiry forms or other feedback formats to look for patterns or behaviours that define explicit personalisation values.


Having a CMS that supports personalisation, means that you can take advantage of personalised content, without having make changes to your core message. When a user is logged into the site, certain areas can be designated to display personalised information. Studies demonstrate that personalised Calls-to-Action convert higher than non-targeted ones*. Ultimately the site should behave according to what is known about the user when they are logged in. Providing the user with the option to set their preferences when registering with the site, means that the CMS can match content that is likely to be of more interest to their profile.

Other developing browser technologies such as Geolocation data can be used to offer a personalised experience. Asking the user for their location means that page content can be changed to reflect areas of interest close to the user geographically. Email marketing is perhaps one of easiest yet most targetable forms of personalised marketing. Offering users the opportunity to subscribe to a mailing list and enter a few personal details means that you can use this data promote offers and services that might be of particular interest to that collection of users.

Respecting the users

It would be irresponsible of me not to consider the ethics of targeting and personalisation. The user’s rights must be respected and we must be mindful of not overstepping the mark from providing helpful, useful content to encroaching on someone's privacy. Be careful with tracking cookies and make sure people know why they are there, and how they can opt out if they wish. If someone entrusts you with their email address, don’t bombard them with spam. Only send out relevant and timely emails to ensure they get read, and don’t result in a swift unsubscription. By having a personalisation strategy that respects your users, users will feel that your content and services are curated and personal.


Personalisation strategies can often be as unique as the businesses themselves. However developing the user profiles and understanding business requirements is the first step to developing one. Once this has been established the technology is there to augment this approach. So connect with your users and create a better, more personal experience. The result will be a greater number of conversions, better engagement and higher retention rates.

* http://www.invespcro.com/blog/online-shopping-personalization/