Personalizing your product's experience is one of the most powerful ways to impress, convert, and retain users.
Personalization intrigues users, gets them feeling comfortable quickly, and holds their attention for longer periods of time. When implemented alongside your growth strategies, personalization can become a key lever of additional growth.
In this article, we look at the way eight companies use personalization to engage users from the first moment and keep them coming back.
1. How Stitch Fix brings personalization at scale to the fashion industry
Activation is the most important part of the customer lifecycle funnel because its effect impacts the next stages of the funnel too.
Making customers feel good from the very beginning of their experience with your product is paramount to success. Personalizing the onboarding process gives you an opportunity to create that good feeling that can hook new users and keep them coming back.
But achieving this depends on actually knowing enough about the people who use your product, so collecting as much data as possible as early as possible is very important.
Stitch Fix, which combines machine learning with manual curation by stylists to offer a personalized selection of fashion items to customers, gives us an example of this. Their onboarding process includes a quiz, which collects data on customers' preferences.
This is a key step because personalization lays at the core of the service—the team citing achieving “1:1 personalization at scale” as the main factor for the success of the brand. Surpassing $250 million in revenue speaks to the potential of personalization for driving growth.
2. How Netflix saves $1 billion a year with personalized recommendations
Personalized recommendations are a powerful way to engage customers and keep them coming back to your product. Using data to give the context of specific recommendations based on earlier user behavior (such as having purchased or favorited something similar) increases the effectiveness of these suggestions and makes users less likely to blame you if the suggestions don't match their taste.
Subscription services like Netflix and Hulu that make money by selling access to an extensive library of digital goods are well-suited to this tactic.
By collecting and analyzing data about the behavior of users in-app, Netflix knows what shows people love, and they use that to deliver highly targeted recommendations. This not only helps lower churn, but also allows them to point viewers to a much larger selection of programs and invest confidently in producing a broader selection of content. Netflix's team estimates that personalized recommendations help them save more than $1 billion annually.
3. How Clearbit creates a powerful growth stack with its own tool
The conversations you are having on your site take time. You will end up wasting your team's time if only one out of every twenty or thirty conversations sounds promising. The power to show your chat box only to the people who fit your ideal customer profile allows you to surgically target your lead nurturing efforts.
Clearbit used this tactic with great success. They saw high engagement after implementing a chat widget on their homepage, but their team was getting overwhelmed with the amount of conversations it was generating. The team used one of their own products, Reveal, to match the IP addresses of their site visitors to company domains and create rules to reveal the chat box only to qualified visitors.
They applied their standard criteria for a qualified company—over 30 employees and not a university—and quickly managed to reign in on the number of chats the team had to go through, allowing them to focus on the most lucrative prospects.
4. How Instagram removes adoption friction with social logins
Permitting people to register for your service using their profile on Facebook, Twitter, etc. is a powerful way to drive growth. Social logins provide many benefits beyond easy registration.
One of the additional advantages of using social login is that it gives you access to a lot of supplementary information about users, which you can use to fuel your product's personalization fire.
For example, when people sign up to Instagram with their Facebook profile, they immediately see a picture of their friends who're already on the network. This allows Instagram to give new users a feeling of being at home from the start—when they see a familiar face they know they've arrived somewhere they belong.
5. How Eaton improves lead quality with progressive profiling
Progressive profiling refers to the practice of asking users to divulge minimal information when setting up their profiles and then using the product to collect more data on subsequent visits.
Keeping your signup form as short as possible is an excellent way to improve the conversion rate of your registration process.
Eaton, a supplier of power management solutions, used progressive profiling in one of their marketing campaigns to target IT professionals and improve how they segment customers. The results they got allowed them to collect 48 different pieces of information on over 5,000 leads beating their own target by 276%.
6. How AdRoll achieves a 20% feature adoption rate with in-app messaging
Launching a new feature can be a daunting process. After running through the regular gamut of blog posts, emails, and social media notifications, product marketers have to sit back and wait for users to trickle into the product to try the new feature.
The best place to announce new features is in the product, when users are most primed to find value and engage further. When unobtrusive and targeted to the right audience, in-app feature announcements can effectively drive adoption.
AdRoll's growth team uses a simple but highly personalized modal window to achieve 60% adoption for their MailChimp integration. They first used Datanyze to identify users who used MailChimp. They then pasted that list into Appcues and set their in-app message to appear on the dashboards of just those users.
As AdRoll's Head of Growth Peter Clark says, “If you’re putting something in your app, you’re only getting your active people... You’re not sending it out as an email and getting unsubs and pissing people off. And that’s why we’re so keen about in-app messages.” On average, AdRoll is able to get 20% of their users to complete any action in the product with relevant and personalized in-app messages.
7. How Woopra communicates value by customizing emails based on behavior
We're all used to receiving emails from brands that greet us by our first name, but that kind of personalization brings little practical value. Customizing emails based on what users do with your product is much more meaningful.
Your emails should help customers move towards achieving success with your product. They should highlight the value of using the full product early on and help customers solve the problem that brought them to you in the first place. Tracking user behavior in your app and customizing emails based on that behavior provides the basis for personalizing emails in a meaningful way.
This level of personalization may sound harder to achieve than it actually is. Consider the case of analytics app Woopra, which sends out the following email when users approach their usage quota:
Woopra uses data in real-time to deliver a message, which is both useful and timely, to continuously drive engagement.
8. How Hopper generates 90% of sales through push notifications
Few people would ever say that they enjoy receiving push notifications. Many people, in fact, would probably say they perceive them as distracting, annoying, even spammy. However, research shows that push notifications do have a strong influence on retention:
The secret to push notifications that people don't hate, and genuinely like to receive, is using them to bring customers to aha! moments faster. Which is achievable when your notifications combine the three essential elements of being timely, personal, and actionable.
Travel app Hopper offers an example of push notifications that get all these elements right. The app allows users to “watch” flight prices. They send notifications to let users know when to wait for a better price and when it is the best time to book their flights.
The team at Hopper says that about 60% of the notifications they send encourage people to wait for a better price. This builds trust with users, so when the app suggests that it's time to purchase, people are more likely to convert. As a result, over 90% of Hopper's sales start from push notifications.
Personalization is the future of growth
Personalization has its place in every stage of the customer lifecycle funnel. It can help you attract, convert, onboard, and retain customers.
To achieve meaningful results with personalization, you need to obsessively collect data on your user base. Demographics are no longer enough—you also need data showing what problems your users have, what they're looking for in your app, and what actions they take while using it.
Understanding this data will form the basis you need to provide a meaningful experience to each customer.
The key challenge with personalization is how to use it at scale. Providing a tailored experience to one customer is easy. It's when you manage to make thousands of customers feel like they are being personally looked after, that personalization starts to deliver concrete results for your business.