How To Build An Effective Personalization Strategy Part 2 – Prioritization & Testing

In part 1 of our how to build an effective personalization strategy series we looked at the two types of personalization, deciding if personalization is right for you and the research and ideation process.

This week in part 2 we will be talking a bit more about how you can start to build a personalization strategy for your business. We will look in more detail at customer self-selected personalization, how to prioritize your personalization efforts and the importance of testing.

It’s an appropriate time to take things personally. Let’s go!

How To Build An Effective Personalization Strategy - Image of an employee survey which refers to customer self-selected personalization.
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How To Build An Effective Personalization Strategy – Customer Self-Selected Personalization

In part 1 we talked about how you can ask your customers to tell you about themselves. You can then test the best messaging for each segment. This is how you can start with customer self-selected personalization.

Customer self-selected personalization is the easiest personalization strategy to ideate, implement and test. This is because you are asking your customers to identify and then segment themselves. Which can save you a considerable amount of time and resources.

If you have existing segments (and you should do that before you start with any personalization); you can test messaging for each segment that asks the customer to self-identify. For example, say you are a clothes marketplace and you sell men’s trainers.

You can then have different buttons for different brands and trainer types. After that, you then build further segments for each brand and trainer type. You can gather even more information by inviting the customer to give information about themselves. If you do not already have that information. By asking the right questions you will then see cohorts like “men aged 20 – 40 who like high-top Nike trainers”. Which you can then test for more granular insights.

Once you have gathered self-identified information you can then adjust messaging according to the information you have. 

With self-selected personalization you need to find what the best segments are. But also what is the best messaging for each of these segments. When you do gather enough self-selected information, you can then begin testing…

Image of lab equipment, which refers to A/B testing.
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How To Build An Effective Personalization Strategy – The Importance Of Testing

Your personalization strategy will fail if you do not continuously test. Your testing does not have to be complicated. Simple A/B testing is more than enough to get the results you need. But you will have to run a lot of tests to a) find the best segments and b) find the right messaging for those segments.

Your testing will never end! But you will get good results and your conversion rate will go up. When you need to do this at scale you will be ready for predictive personalization. This is a big topic which will be addressed in part 3. But in the meantime you can read “how personalized product recommendations work”. This will give you a bit of an insight into how some aspects of predictive personalization works.

If you are starting out, it is best to focus on some A/B testing for your segments. That is more than enough to get on with at the start of your personalization journey!

Hubspot has a great post about A/B testing that can give you some ideas.

How To Build An Effective Personalization Strategy - Image of a person prioritizing tasks.
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How to Prioritize Your Personalization Strategy

It is at this point that you might be feeling a little bit lost!

Do not worry, that is totally normal. Personalization is complex, time consuming and difficult. That is why you have to pick the right battles. Or, to put it another way, this is why you HAVE to prioritize. If you try to do everything, you will end up overwhelmed and frustrated. 

But how do you prioritize?

First of all, personalization is all about experiments. For experiments to fulfill their purpose they need to have statistically significant samples. So it is best to prioritize your efforts with large customer segments. You may find in your testing that these segments then begin to split as you gather more data but that is part of the process. In fact if you do not get more granular as you go, things are probably not going too well!

That is not to suggest that you should not experiment with your smaller segments. You really should. But when you are starting out, pick the segments that you believe will have the highest impact on your business. You may end up disproving your assumptions and that is, again, part of the process. You use that knowledge and move on to the next series of tests.

One easy place to begin is geographical segments. If you are a nationwide brand you will have customers all over the territory you are based in. So, for example, you may be based in Bangkok but you ship products all over Thailand. Do you have personalized messaging for customers based on where they are? Most businesses do not. Geography is a great way to group your customers and by addressing that you can make a big difference to your customer purchasing experience.

By prioritizing the segments that have the biggest impact on your business, you will start to see results more quickly. This can help you as you move into and test other segments. 

You know your business and you will know your best customers and what they need. Start your experiments there. By the time you get to smaller segments you will have more data, your tests will be better and you will get results.

Personalization is a continuous process of testing, debunking assumptions, learning and acting on the results you get. By prioritizing you make this process manageable.

Come back next week for part 3 where we will be talking about the next step. Predictive personalization. We will also talk a bit about rule-based personalization which can add another layer to your experiments.

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Talk to MAQE

Do you need help with personalization? Feeling a bit overwhelmed? Talk to MAQE! We are very friendly and we know that personalization can be hard. We can find your segments, drive your experiments and refine your messaging. Get in touch via [email protected].