Like everyone else, I spend a lot of time surfing the Web. Naturally, a good portion of this time is spent navigating my favorite brands’ websites. Often, it takes me a couple of clicks to find the stuff I’m really interested in, and sometimes I wind up leaving before I find anything that engages me.
Much as I like these brands, I’d probably enjoy visiting their sites a lot more if they were customized for me. And I’m guessing you’ve had similar experiences.
Now, imagine your customers and prospects are visiting your website. Wouldn’t it be cool if, instead of the same content everyone else is seeing, they saw messages like these:
- “Mark, your prescription is ready. Pickup details.”
- “Tim – looks like you haven't updated to the new version. Click here for information on the release!”
- “Penny, you’re scheduled for a service call between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. on June 12. Click here if you need to cancel.”
- “Oops – we don't have your mobile number on record. Please enter it here so we can send you text messages.”
- “Sarah, we’d love to hear your thoughts on the ‘Tips and Tricks’ Webinar you attended recently!”
- “Thanks for visiting our store on Holcomb Road yesterday – Please tweet your experience.”
- “Jim, as a 'Premium' member with 500 rewards points, we think you'll like our new Plus program.”
- “Thanks for enrolling – as a valued member you now have access to these resources.”
- “Congrats – your status is now "Mayor." Keep playing to earn more rewards!”
It’s easy to see how this type of personalized experience could really drive engagement. That’s why many marketers I’ve spoken with have been super-excited about the prospect of making their websites as dynamic and individualized as their emails, a topic I also touched on in my previous post, “Website, Meet Marketing Automation.”
At Silverpop, we’ve developed a feature called Smart Content that powers this type of experience on your website (and, if applicable, your mobile app). In this post, I’m going to talk a little about what Smart Content is and how it differs from other Web customization tactics.
Beyond iFrames: Smart Content
In the past, cutting-edge marketers who wanted to customize their website would iFrame in a section of the Web page. A landing page would power this section of the site, enabling marketers to set up content rules that would serve up individualized text or graphics.
The tactic was powerful but rigid, limiting the ways marketers could customize content as well as making it difficult to deliver the seamless, mobile-friendly experience today’s customers demand.
Because Smart Content doesn’t use iFrames, it gives you more opportunities to do cool stuff such as:
1) Handle responsive design: With Smart Content, instead of developers placing an iFrame somewhere, they can just insert a div tag and say, “In this div tag, I want to play ID#22.” Then, when a contact hits the website and the page is loading, our Web tracking recognizes that there’s a Silverpop Smart Content section there for ID#22. Voila, the CMS reaches into Silverpop, generates the dynamic content out of a landing page, and brings it back and writes the html into that div tag.
Of course, this all happens within a matter of milliseconds. And because there’s no iFrame, this section of the site will match the CSS of the website and can maintain the mobile-friendly layout of the rest of your page.
2) Change single words: While iFrames require whole sections of unique content, Smart Content provides additional options. For example, you could say, “Welcome,” and then have Silverpop generate just the next word based on your database and the rules you set up – whether it be the contact’s name, “best customer,” “loyal customer,” “new customer,” or “visitor.”
And the options are endless. You might choose to just swap out a word, or you might change a link, a picture, a paragraph or a whole page depending on who the visitor is. The system is super-flexible, and you could put several of these Smart Content sections on the same page, enabling you to route tons of cool, personalized stuff on a single page.
3) Go beyond offers: When a lot of marketers think about bringing dynamic content onto the site, they think of offers, powered by recommendation engines, which are related to the pages the visitor previously viewed (or other behaviors).
While this is a super-smart tactic, Smart Content enables you to leverage other personal data and provide an even richer, more service-oriented experience. Imagine if, in addition to showing products or services related to what a person has purchased, you could provide helpful reminders such as “Welcome back John, your renewal date is May 15” or “Hey, your auto shipment is seven days away. Click here to change your order.”
When mixed with your standard content, these types of personalized messaging help drive increased levels of engagement, repeat visits to your site, and a more unified experience across channels.
Change Your Thinking
With the cool technology out there today, you’re no longer limited to a static website. Use the opportunities available to move beyond a one-size-fits-all site and provide an experience that’s every bit as dynamic and personalized as the one you deliver via your emails.
1) White Paper: “Creating Real-Time Individualized Campaigns Around Every Imaginable Buyer Behavior”
2) Video: “Personalizing the Web Experience for Every Customer Through a CMS Integration”
3) Blog: “Mobile Apps, Meet Marketing Automation”