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Accelerating Sales Through Personalized Marketing

Accelerating Sales Through Personalized Marketing

March 24, 2011
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" Through the process of Information Discovery and Behavioral Retargeting, you can “reboot’ your online business from one which treats all visitors exactly the same to one which treats each customer uniquely. "

Some say the adult entertainment industry is in a state of crisis; even a recent XBIZ poll asks us “Which is the biggest threat to the adult industry?” Others have long held that the adult entertainment industry is recession-proof, filled with boundless opportunity since sex always sells.

While its not clear which of these two views are correct, it is clear that the low hanging fruit has been well picked and the easy money is now hard to earn.

To prosper and win in our hypercompetitive business environment, providing value to the consumer is tantamount.

The single-most important way to provide value is to know the customers and serve them as individuals.

Adult companies who develop a unique personal relationship with each of your customers the business will win; those who do not are far more likely to lose.

This article explores the requirements and procedures to embrace personalized marketing.

Let’s start with the basic truth. The web has fully empowered consumers, so “selling” to consumers online is 100 percent about facilitating their buying process. It’s absolutely vital to anticipate the needs and wants of customers to get them to feel confident because only when they are confident that you are “selling” what they want to “buy” will they take action, such as proceeding to checkout or registering for a trial.. Unfortunately, nearly every adult website - membership, tube, affiliate, live cam and sex product sites you or I have ever visited treats each and every visitor exactly the same. The only exception were dating sites which are geo coded to show “matches” based on Zip Code, but it still treats everyone from a specific zip code the same.

Consider these facts. Jupiter Communications reports that personalization at 25 consumer E-commerce sites boosted the number of new customers by 47 percent, and revenues by 52 percent in the first year. Nielsen NetRatings reports e-commerce sites offering personalized services convert approximately twice as many visitors into buyers than ecommerce sites that do not offer personalized services.

Adult businesses are now lagging “mainstream”.

The Adult Entertainment Industry mainly clings to the mass marketing approach where business offers and services are uniform and geared to suit the largest possible buyership. Even webmasters focused on niche marketing and niche sites face the same challenges, albeit on a more defined scale. In other words, the Adult Entertainment Industry throws tons of somewhat filtered traffic at sites hoping for conversions rather than maximizing the value of their existing traffic by personalizing their sites based on profile.

One can expect that in the long run those companies that can establish maintain and extend a customer base by delivering tailored products and services will survive and prosper more easily, and in the process create stable long-term consumer relationships. So, how is it done?

Making personalization work is a three step process.

Step one may require a retooling your websites using the categorization or indexing as the organizing principal so that your sites can actually be personalized to match a customer profile. At a minimum this requires setting up public pages (tours, hosted galleries, sign up pages, etc) on your site and those you share with affiliates to dynamically display arrays of sample content (video samples, screen caps, box cover images, photos, etc) based on one or more attributes.

These attributes are the same ones used to profile the user, so an attribute based query to your local database populate the display with content that matches the profile. Many webmasters have set up this design approach already, but it is a requirement for personalized  marketing. Ideally, the content matching process is made consistent across the public pages so as you funnel the user toward your desired activity, the personalization effect is persistent.

Step two is real time profiling, or “Information Discovery” as some techies call it. In this process, you anonymously “discover” what visitors most like about your sites and those of your affiliates and then record that data in a visitor centric “online profile” (or “persona”). Profiles are then assembled into one ore more “like minded” groups. Information Discovery (akin to real-time data mining on steroids) can be performed with a variety of technologies, some prepackaged as services mentioned below and others hand coded by programmers.

For those prone to hand coding, make note that generally speaking, step two is not possible with basic analytics tools, which are intrinsically site centric and not customer or visitor centric. To be effective, Information Discovery requires a detailed categorization (or indexing) of everything your site contains and a compilation of all the “behaviors” each visitor demonstrates as they interact with the contents of your sites.

Step three requires automating site personalization to match the profile visiting at that movement in real time. This process is called “Behavioral Targeting” when your focus is customer conversion or “ Behavioral Retargeting” when your focus is on winning back former customers. Essentially, the Behavioral Retargeting technology signals - in session - what your site should display to best match what each customers profile suggests. Coupling the Information Discovery with the Behavioral Targeting (or Retargeting) into the attribute drive site displays provides an exceptionally effective mechanism too.

Vendors of application software to perform steps two and three include Amadesa (www.amadesa.com), Adobe (www.omniture.com), Pesonyze (www.personyze.com) and Click Truth (www.clicktruth.com). The amount of learning time any of these solutions require is dependent on the quantity of traffic, as well as the diversity of offerings and segments. But as the technology learns your visitors’ behavior, it will fine-tune matches between content and visitors and produce better results.

Through the process of Information Discovery and Behavioral Retargeting, you can “reboot’ your online business from one which treats all visitors exactly the same to one which treats each customer uniquely. This bears repeating: the single most important way to provide value is to know your customers and serve them as individuals. Those who do not are far more likely to lose business to those who do.


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