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Using Personas to Personalize User Experiences

Cross-posted with permission from Blue Coda

As user experience management continues to evolve on the web, websites are adapting by creating personalized experiences for their users. One of the ways we see many websites using personalization is through personas. Users can be grouped into personas based on comparing current web analytics to historic data. If you can determine the types of content most interesting to a particular persona, you can tailor their experience on your website to provide quicker access to that content.

For example, on the Blue Coda website, we target content to a range of individuals from Director/VP of Marketing, to IT Managers to Presidents/CEOs. We also specialize our personas based on industry, such as Healthcare, Finance, Technology and Education. The IT Manager of a large University typically has different goals from a President of a medium sized Healthcare company.

When it comes to personalizing content on the web, here are two areas to focus on:

Customized Content

Similar to A/B testing, personalization allows you to change what content a user sees based on various factors. For websites with lots of content, personalization can serve up articles targeted specifically to that user’s needs and interests. This saves user’s time and gets your sharpest, most relevant content in front of them. For example, a featured article on the homepage could be dynamically swapped out for a different piece of content that is more relevant to the user. This results in lower bounce rates, more returning visitors and higher conversions.

Combining Content and Context

Personalization strives to match content delivery to specific users at specific times through multiple channels. This could mean utilizing the geotagging information for a user browsing on a mobile device and displaying articles specific to their location. You can also control what content a user sees based on how engaged they are with your brand by measuring metrics such as how many pages a user has visited, how many times they’ve come to the site, if they’re a qualified lead or not, etc. This augments and amplifies your sales strategy.

Personalization Tools & Services

There are many tools available to build a personalization engine on the web. Some of the best tools are:

Evergage - Evergage offers very powerful segmentation and analytics. Users can leverage segments to create personalized experiences, and it’s also a great tool for using inside of an SaaS application to help improve user efficiency and reduce churn.

Demandbase - With an extensive proprietary database of known IP addresses with company data underneath, Demandbase is a powerful personalization engine to create custom experiences from the user’s first visit.

Optimizely - Billing itself as an A/B testing tool, Optimizely allows you to try different versions of content to determine which works best. Combine this with custom segmentation, however, and you can create and manage personalized experiences.

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