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Personalised Selling Is A Competitive Advantage

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The web is by default a passive business platform. By that I mean that we bait our hook with content and hope the customer bites, i.e. clicks a link (ad, af or social referral, add to cart, etc.). Occasionally there are semi-passive predetermined 'guidance' methodologies that direct a visitor through a conversion process, attempting to personalise on the fly. And that is about all that can be done with general traffic.


Of course the value of predetermined personalisation is obvious - less on the fly pigeon holing, more individual customised selling. Naturally there is a huge market in such data and it is what drives the value and raison d'être of FaceBook, Google Plus, e-commerce registration/wish-lists, et al.


Almost since the web began cookies have been the ubiquitous tracking/personalisation method of choice. As people became able to 'manage' the cookies they accepted there began an identification 'arms race' and some cookies have become annoyingly persistent:

* The Strange New World Of The Super Cookie

Additionally, as the quality of visitor 'fingerprinting' increases this passive, semi-passive method of identifying individual visitors is replacing or backstopping cookies:

* Visitor Identification


Whatever the method a visitor identification and tracking system is designed to help get beyond hope: hope that site is more often appealing than not, hope that site can qualify/convert more often than not... Smaller sites can usually only leverage visitor tracking on return visitors but it remains a significant competitive advantage: you know when they've come before; which parts of site they've visited; which topics, products, services have been of interest... not a bad foundation from which to work for a serious salesman or ad/af/e-commerce site.


The real value for most sites, as with most businesses, is in the return visitor/customer. And visitor identification and tracking can maximise that value. SEs and other referrers generally send new traffic, first time visitors, which is certainly important. But one off sales/conversions is doing business the hard way. Where possible work at converting as many of those first time visitors to returning customers. And then work at personalising those customers' experiences where feasible.


I do it with evergreen information sites by changing out available ads, offers, and suggestions to best match visitors past interests and current page choice(s). What an e-commerce site might do is - to me - simply dizzying.

Note: my 'personalised' return customer revenue conversion rates are 140-600% (up to 7-times) comparable non-personalised return customer rates, which in turn are at least double the non-return general traffic numbers.

Note: have now added semi-personalised newsletters to several sites with similar success so will be rolling out across all sites in the new year.


Knowing your traffic, i.e. demographics by referer, is important, creating traffic filter processes to better pigeon hole/direct/guide visitors and increase conversion success is important, providing reasons for visitors to return in greater numbers with greater frequency is important, but the future to online competitive advantage is what it has always been for small business: knowing your customer. As an individual.

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Wow! Those results are impressive.


It seems that an investment in the technology to do this would be earned back in a reasonable amount of time - if you have a site with nice traffic.

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Yup, I was just was explaining to a local barber that she needs to ensure she gets more return customers, than new customers.


I wonder how I didn't connect these ideas with the whole ecommerce thing. Maybe that's because I don't have a website with super high traffic to worry wandering past the basics.


Thanks for the tip, iamlost, I've already added researching this into a list of things to try next year.

Edited by A.N.Onym

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