Kickstarting Website Personalization with a Crawl-Walk-Run Approach

Launching successful website personalization involves aligning several moving parts, most of which are concerned with smart content strategies and marketing best practices that come together to create a highly engaging (and personalized) web experience for your segmented customer types. Sounds complicated, right? Well, it doesn’t have to be.

To help mitigate some of this process, implementing personalization via a crawl-walk-run strategy will help you take necessary and surprisingly effective baby steps toward full-bore website personalization. As with other types of strategic implementations, crawl-walk-run is an agile methodology for incorporating personalized experiences into your site—done with the promise of boosting customer engagement, improving lead generation, and (most importantly) giving your customers the web content they are looking for the moment they enter your site. These four steps are a gradual way to create website personalization campaigns that work.

1. Focus

Start gathering data

First on the docket: Install and link the Acquia Personalization tool to Drupal CMS and start collecting customer data. Specifically, consider analyzing: Time on page, bounce rate, conversion rate, form fills, etc. Ask yourself what your site is doing right and what it’s doing wrong.

Define use cases

Start by coming up with a single use case, a situation where the product or service is useful for an account-based marketing (ABM) project. Once you have results, share them to see where your support is coming from.

Have a few initial use cases before personalizing the site. Personalization is not an overnight success; create a rough plan with different use case ‘routes’ to go down. 

Ask these questions:

  • What issues are you attempting to address?
  • Who are you personalizing for, and where is it happening on your site? Home page banner? Right rail CTA?
  • How will you measure the personalization strategy’s impact?
  • When is this personalization campaign taking place?

Identify segments

Once you’ve implemented your Acquia Personalization tool, you can organize your data by segments.

Segmentation is the process of classifying the customer data provided by Acquia personalization. To support your personalization pathway, have a healthy range of customer segments by viewing them in terms of broad characteristics, such as demographic and geographic data. 

Customer segment examples:

  • Demographic: What population does your customer belong to?
  • Geographic: Where is your customer from?
  • Psychographic: What is your customer’s primary attitude or aspiration when visiting your site?
  • Firmographic: What organization does your ideal customer belong to?
  • Behaviors: How does your customer tend to act?
  • Technographic: What is your customer’s relationship with technology?

2. Crawl

Once a few Crawl scenarios are implemented, anonymous visitors become ‘known.’ 

Some typical Crawl use case scenarios are:

  • Geolocation: Do you want to advertise regional material or events?
  • Device: Would you alter messaging based on a desktop / mobile device?
  • Visit time and date: Are certain topics more popular with users on the weekends/weekdays and nighttime/daytime hours?
  • Referral code: Utilize UTM codes from paid media, social media, or emails.

Identifying personas

Often confused as synonyms, segments, and personas are quite different. Segments are the broad categories in which personas live. Personas are based on individuals, by identifying their specific needs and using personalized data to deliver the right story with the right content.

Example of persona clusters:

Persona cluster #1

  • Reserved, keeps to old ways
  • Open-minded, creative

Personal cluster #2

  • Naive in the industry
  • Experienced in the industry

3. Walk

Begin with very broad segments (for example, all European site visitors), then gradually create narrow segments by combining situational and behavioral patterns. Here are some examples to help contextualize what we can do in the “Walk” phase.

  • Viewed page X times: Contextualize the site based on multiple views. If a visitor has looked at “X” content more than 5 times in 30 days, show them “X” content from the Service or Industry pages.
  • Browsing behavior: Contextualize the site based on the types of pages someone has visited. If a visitor has looked at more "X" over "Y" content, show more "X" CTAs.
  • Event-based/funnel-based: After a visitor takes action (like signing up for a newsletter), stop showing them that action/task. Instead, show them an action/ask related to the next stage of the funnel-like Contact Us.
  • Combine multiple Crawl use cases: For example, show US B2B case studies to visitors from the US who came in through a B2B PPC ad.
  • Combine Crawl and Walk use cases: For example, show the “Next Steps Video” to a mobile visitor who has viewed “Awareness” content more than 3 times in 30 days.

4. Run

Equipped with multiple personalization campaigns across a number of segments, it’s time to track customer journeys based on their activity across all touchpoints.

Content examples for a personalized customer journey:

  • Website design elements (i.e. fonts, colors, graphics)
  • Email marketing campaign messages, subject lines, and promotions
  • Case studies and blogs that tell impactful stories per segment

Moving forward

Throughout this phase and after, it is important to ensure that any changes made are properly monitored and tracked so that you can easily identify which elements are having the most success and continue optimizing the customer experience accordingly. Utilizing analytics dashboards can provide real-time insights into customer behavior across various channels while also highlighting areas where improvements need to be made. Through rigorous analysis of your metrics, you can continuously refine your personalization efforts for maximum benefit.

Interested in learning more about implementing personalization? Take matters into your own hands with these resources.