Improving the membership experience with personalization

Improving the membership experience with personalization

Jun 24, 2020
Digital Strategist at GRM Digital
Improving the membership experience with personalization

Website personalization has been a hot topic in the world of digital marketing for a few years now. What was once reserved primarily for email marketing campaigns, personalization has become a fundamental tool for businesses looking to increase their conversion rate online, and offer more engaging experiences for their users.

According to research by Infosys, a staggering 74% of customers feel frustrated when website content is not personalized. Industry leaders such as ASOS and Amazon are paving the way in personalized web experiences, leading to consumers expecting a certain level of personal functionality every time they visit a website. This has put pressure on all businesses, including membership organizations, to deliver high quality, more personalized experiences for their users. 

What is website personalization?

Simply put, web personalization is the process of showing individual content, such as offers, guides, product recommendations, and other similar content to users based on their previous actions, demographics, and other personal data that has been defined and segmented. It’s the opposite of providing a uniform experience for all users.

Essentially, businesses use personalization to display the right content, at the right time, to the right audience. The ultimate goal is to deliver a more personalized website experience to each user, to increase page views, engagement, leads, and sales.

What are the benefits of personalization for membership organizations?

Increase member loyalty

It sounds obvious but serving personalized content to your members will further strengthen the relationship between them and your organization. Once you start to capture key data about your users, you’re able to deliver messages targeted specifically to their needs. It’s the sort of personalization that’s been happening for years in offline channels.

Think about times when you may have visited a restaurant or high-street store multiple times. It’s not uncommon for staff to begin offering certain products based on your needs and previous purchases that they’ve noticed over time. This is personalization in its simplest form. The art of website personalization is replicating this level of content-based personalization online with the use of technology.

Increase upsell and cross-selling

This is perhaps the biggest opportunity for the use of personalization. With the right data available, you will be able to offer additional products or services to each of your members, based on their previous purchases or actions. Cross-selling and upselling can happen at many stages of the buying cycle, which is why it’s so powerful. Commerce sites are synonymous with the use of personalization, where you’ll often see related products advertised to you before, during, and after a purchase. 

Nurturing from lead to member acquisition

Personalization offers you the opportunity to nurture your leads and push them down the membership acquisition funnel faster. If you can successfully identify at which stage a potential member is, based on their actions such as page visits, then you have the opportunity to target them with specific pieces of content accordingly. For example, let’s say that someone views the membership pricing landing page on your website but doesn’t convert. In this instance, you could use personalization to show a downloadable membership pricing guide the next time that they visit the site. This would be highly relevant to the user and also give your internal team a better understanding of the user’s intent if they download the guide. 

What to consider when getting started with personalization

Look at your current data availability 

As I’m sure you’re now aware, data is key to personalization! It’s the data that you have available to you as a marketing function that will ultimately dictate the level of personalization that you can offer to visitors of your website. We always urge our clients to think about what they are trying to achieve before getting started, whether that be to increase conversions on a particular page, reduce cart abandonment, or increase upselling. Once you understand your goals, you’ll be better equipped to put the right rules and triggers in place to capture the data needed to drive your personal messaging.

Define personas from the outset

Defining personas can help you simplify the task of personalization. By defining groups of people with similar needs, you can begin to tailor messaging into manageable tasks, rather than aiming to offer a personal experience to every single person. Doing this will help the process of personalization feel more achievable right from the start. Additionally, by bunching groups of similar people together, you’ll begin to identify even more common themes based on how users are reacting to your personalization.

Map user journeys

For each persona that you define, there will likely be multiple journeys that they may take throughout your website. It’s a good exercise to map these out, step-by-step before you put any personalization plans in place. By mapping out the user journeys, you’ll gain a visual understanding of the entire process that a potential member goes through when interacting with your website. From here, you’ll be able to easily identify potential opportunities to personalize the journey and better connect with your members.

Select the right technology 

Getting started with personalization will naturally require some level of technical capability from your content management system (and potentially your CRM). That's why we always advise clients to undertake a full audit of their technology stack before getting started. 

An all-in-one digital experience platform such as Kentico Xperience can perform everything from basic personalization through to multivariate testing and behavioral targeting. Data is held directly on systems such as Kentico Xperience, allowing you to segment users based on previous behavior, right from within the back end of the website. This insight can then be used as a trigger in marketing campaigns to display your personalized content.

Challenges of website personalization

Getting bogged down in the data 

It's easy to become bogged down in endless amounts of data when implementing a web personalization strategy. This is particularly common when businesses use several software platforms across the user journey. It’s important to spend time identifying the data that is both accurate and easily accessible to your team. Don’t let data silos get in the way of your personalization activity, particularly at the start whilst you are only validating your ideas.

Measuring ROI  

It’s all well and good implementing your first instance of web personalization, but businesses often fail to move beyond this without successfully measuring and achieving a return on investment. When it comes to dipping your toes into the world of web personalization, we always recommend starting with a personal experience that can be directly tracked and attributed to a return-on-investment. Not only will this help you validate your idea quickly and easily, but it will also put you in a much better place to demonstrate your return-on-investment to senior members of staff.

How can you personalize your membership website?

Understand and discover new audiences

As we've previously touched on, you should start by discovering groups of people who perform similar actions on your website, for example, visiting the membership pricing page, navigating to your site by searching a specific keyword in Google, or visiting via a targeted social media campaign.

Plan experiences for your audience

Once you've segmented your audience, put yourself in their shoes. What are they expecting to see next? Is there a particular email messaging sequence that you could send to them? Do you have a specific offer relating to the shop category that they visited? This could be highlighted to them as they continue to browse throughout your website.

Continuously improve

As with all digital marketing activity, you should aim to continuously measure and improve your strategy so that you can deliver more highly relevant personalization experiences to your members. By measuring your results and making small A/B tests, you'll gain real insight into what works and what doesn't with your audience.

By implementing a solid personalization plan and leveraging the data that you already have available about your members, you can successfully deliver a tailored user experience which is becoming the expectancy of today's users.

Join us on our upcoming webinar to learn more about the key digital trends driving membership engagement in 2020.

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