So many digital marketing terms are thrown around nowadays. Contextual marketing, Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI), Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO), personalization, segmentation… the list is endless. Keeping track of all these terms, and how to effectively apply them as a digital marketer, can be overwhelming. It’s, however, necessary for you to understand their applications, especially those related to personalization and segmentation if you want to successfully market your business online.

Knowing your customer forms the core of any personalization and segmentation strategies. It’s like an artist creating the perfect mould to sculpt a person’s face. That mould picks up all the intricacies that are woven together to make that person unique. You’re the artist who’s shaping this mould for your target audience.

Personalization and segmentation are inherently similar but intuitively different. Segmentation can be viewed as the material used to make the sculptor’s mould; that material will differ based on the desired finish. On the other hand, personalization is the final product that emphasizes all the beauty and imperfections of that mould. Segmentation is broader, personalization is narrower.

Another stark difference between both concepts is the level of input required from the customer. Customization requires direct input from the customer while personalization doesn’t. Going back to the sculptor analogy will help explain this point. The customer would let the sculptor know the desired finish (customization), but the outcome is based on the customer’s preexisting features (personalization).

How to Reap the Benefits of Customization and Personalization

Customers expect a personalized experience when they visit a website. They may be unwilling to give up their information to make creating this experience easier, but they expect it nevertheless. Customizing a website that has a high volume of traffic is also difficult.  One way to combat this is by using real-time segmentation and personalization.

Doing segmentation and personalization in real-time means instantly tracking a customer’s click patterns the moment he or she visits your website. These patterns provide a good indication of what matters to the website visitor and ultimately means that you can create a personalized experience.  It’s like the beacon technology that stores use to track how buyers walk through a store and personalize their experience based on these patterns.

Email marketing is a good place to apply the principles of customization and personalization. Let’s say that you present an offer of a free eBook to website visitors who give you their email addresses. Those website visitors who will give this information are clearly interested in the topic on which the eBook is based.  Future emails that you send to these website visitors should be related to the topic of the eBook and take them along this interest to the final stage of the sales funnel. This is an example of customization.

Conversely, there may be a regular website visitor who consistently clicks on the same pages on your website. These click patterns indicate an interest in those aspects of the site. Each time the visitor opens your website in the future, the pages he or she should be greeted with should contain content based on these click patterns. Additionally, you can use these click patterns to send the website visitor special deals and offers. This is an example of personalization.

You can also use email marketing to clearly identify each customer’s interests so that you can create a customized experience. It all starts with asking a question and providing various options, much like a multiple-choice exam. The option the customer chooses clearly shows the preference and allows you to customize the browsing experience accordingly.

Website personalization also extends beyond website behavior patterns and email marketing. You can also personalize the content based on referral sources. Customers will be directed to your website from different places on the internet. Your landing page should, therefore, reflect the place where the user is coming from. For instance, users who are directed to your website from Facebook could have a different landing page from those who are directed to your website from Twitter.

Additionally, you can use location-based customization. Location-based customization allows you to create landing pages based on a customer’s geographical region. Consider what Amazon does for customers in different regions across the world. Customers from Australia are directed to a website that’s different from those coming from the United States. Each page will feature products unique to those markets that would appeal to people living in those regions.

Putting it all together

Website visitors are more likely to become paying customers if they feel like they matter to the company.  Personalization and segmentation help you achieve this objective. Remember that you’re the sculptor for your customers; take the time to get to know more about them so that you can create the best online experience.