You’ve had your eye on that pair of cutting-edge hik­ing boots for weeks. You check the brand’s web­site repeat­edly. You dream about the thrill of receiv­ing them in the mail and try­ing them on for the first time. Only thing is, they’re just a hair out­side your price range.

Then, while check­ing your email, a ban­ner ad fea­tur­ing your cov­eted shoes pops up offer­ing a slightly lower price point than you’ve seen before. Sold! Vic­tory is yours as you gloat over your per­sonal thrifti­ness and antic­i­pate all the moun­tains you’ll nim­bly scale.

You’re not the only one cel­e­brat­ing. The seller nudged you to con­vert and poten­tially made a loyal repeat cus­tomer. They under­stood the impor­tance of tar­get­ing and uti­lized the rich data they’ve gleaned from your online activ­ity. Fur­ther­more, they embraced a visitor-focused approach to mar­ket­ing that gets results.

Why Per­son­al­ize?

With the tremen­dous amount of data avail­able to us about our vis­i­tors, it’s cru­cial that we extract the most rel­e­vant infor­ma­tion. This enables us to tai­lor our con­tent to speak to indi­vid­u­als’ most per­ti­nent needs. By putting indi­vid­u­als at the cen­ter of our mar­ket­ing strate­gies, we can boost loy­alty to our brand while also expand­ing our vis­i­tor base.

A recent study by Econ­sul­tancy found that more than 90 per­cent of mar­keters believe per­son­al­iza­tion is “crit­i­cal to cur­rent and future suc­cess.” The study also reveals that per­son­al­ized Web expe­ri­ences are yield­ing an increase in sales of 19 per­cent on aver­age. The num­bers don’t lie; in an age of infor­ma­tion inun­da­tion, we can’t afford to lose poten­tial cus­tomers to com­peti­tors who have mas­tered personalization.

It’s obvi­ous we need to under­stand and imple­ment con­tent per­son­al­iza­tion strate­gies in our mar­ket­ing cam­paigns, but how? I’ve com­piled three pil­lars of per­son­al­iza­tion in an effort to bet­ter explain how this con­cept works.

Pil­lar 1: Iden­ti­fy­ing and Mea­sur­ing the Right Data

With the glut of data avail­able to us about our visitor’s online activ­ity, it is imper­a­tive that we fil­ter through the infor­ma­tion and find what makes them tick. By mea­sur­ing how vis­i­tors nav­i­gate our web­site, we can hypoth­e­size how to best per­son­al­ize the individual’s entire online expe­ri­ence. Behav­ioral ana­lyt­ics is a key tool in col­lect­ing and ana­lyz­ing such infor­ma­tion as key­word searches, clicks, and nav­i­ga­tion pat­terns. By know­ing what moti­vates our vis­i­tor on a per­sonal level, we’ll posi­tion our­selves for more qual­i­fied leads and higher con­ver­sion rates.

Pil­lar 2: Imple­ment­ing Real-Time Personalization

Remem­ber when you snagged those top-of-the-line boots? What was it that caused you to click the “buy” but­ton? The data on you revealed that you were more inter­ested in a bar­gain than instant grat­i­fi­ca­tion (perus­ing sale sec­tions, tak­ing time between ini­tial inter­est and pur­chas­ing, etc.) The shoe com­pany knew this about you and was able to reach you the instant they became avail­able at a lower price. Like­wise, we need to take advan­tage of real-time oppor­tu­ni­ties in tai­lor­ing the online expe­ri­ence for our visitors.

Can we include a cus­tomized up-sell to a cus­tomer toward the end of their check­out? Are we able to offer incen­tives, such as free sup­port, ship­ping, or future rewards? By pro­fi­ciently read­ing the data, we can see what indi­vid­ual vis­i­tors value before we make our pitch. And by accom­mo­dat­ing their pref­er­ences in real time, we’ll be far more likely to achieve an in-the-moment con­nec­tion that vis­i­tors won’t soon forget .

Pil­lar 3: Cre­at­ing Brand Loy­alty Via Loy­alty to Indi­vid­u­al­ity AND Community

Mike Weir describes the suc­cess of LinkedIn’s per­son­al­ized Web con­tent cam­paign: “Par­tic­i­pat­ing in the con­ver­sa­tion is a really rich part of the LinkedIn expe­ri­ence,” Mike explains. “Own­ing an active, author­i­ta­tive group for your tar­get audi­ence can pay off in even big­ger ways. Your clients and prospec­tive clients appre­ci­ate the value you pro­vide to them, espe­cially when you don’t do a hard sell.”

LinkedIn allows users to cre­ate their own app, cus­tomiz­ing their online expe­ri­ence. This tac­tic has allowed LinkedIn to nav­i­gate the tricky ter­ri­tory of estab­lish­ing both com­mu­nity and indi­vid­u­al­ity in online inter­ac­tions. By per­son­al­iz­ing user’s con­tent and con­nect­ing them to other like-minded indi­vid­u­als, cus­tomers derive valu­able benefits.

Enhanced Means Better

 There are many other com­po­nents of dig­i­tal per­son­al­iza­tion I could name. These three pil­lars were specif­i­cally cho­sen as ele­ments of enhanced per­son­al­iza­tion. That means going beyond the generic tar­get­ing vis­i­tors have come to expect to deliver rel­e­vant, attention-grabbing content—those rare online moments that feel custom-made for you. It starts with strong data, pro­gresses with real-time opti­miza­tion, and is solid­i­fied by tap­ping into your cus­tomers’ sense of identity.

Per­son­al­iza­tion Ben­e­fits Us All

Think of it this way: Vis­i­tors can now go vir­tual shoe shop­ping with friends who under­stand their needs, val­ues, and aes­thetic pref­er­ences. They’ve estab­lished a per­sonal con­nec­tion to the brand, and the brand has estab­lished a com­mu­nity based on shared love for the com­pany. After all, who doesn’t want a friend’s opin­ion when shopping?