Start discussing new website design trends, and most small business owners break out into a cold sweat. Indeed many design innovations have done little to increase revenue, and business websites have traditionally been difficult to manage and maintain.
But small business owners should not ignore the new options for personalized web content. Large enterprises have been doing this for quite some time: Offering a different promotion based on the number of times a user has visited the website, targeting deals to a customer’s physical location or changing content based on an ad campaign URL parameter.
Until recently these types of personalization strategies required large budgets and substantial development time and resources, making it largely out of reach for most small businesses.
Should small business owners add dynamic web content to their websites? That is to change the user experience of a web page (through content, text or images) in response to different conditions such as a visitor's location, information about that person, the time of day or his or her device type.
Or is this just another passing fad like turning the mouse cursor into a kitten, blink text or elaborate Flash intros? Here are three reasons why every small business owner should consider adding dynamic content:
1. Increase sales and conversions.
Presenting a customer with the right content, in the right way at the right time is critical for increasing sales. You wouldn’t try to sell customers in Los Angeles a snow shovel or those in Minneapolis beach balls for Christmas and expect a high sales volume. The bulk of small business websites remain painfully static, putting the obligation to navigate to a relevant product or service on the customer.
Ensure that site visitors from Los Angeles see the webpages with beach balls and the buyers from Minneapolis see the sale on snow shovels and chances are you’re going to sell more of each. Research from My Buys and the e-tailing group has shown that 40 percent of consumers buy more from retailers who personalize their shopping experience across channels. People buy more from companies that tailor their messages and offerings to suit shoppers' specific needs.
2. Keep visitors happy.
Ever had “that friend,” the one who’s constantly bombarding them with stories and irrelevant information to the point when it becomes so annoying you'd rather avoid the person? Sure, your buddy is taking pilot lessons and as a supportive friend you might want to hear about it occasionally. But when it gets to the point that he’s giving you the play-by-play after each lesson -- complete with wind diagrams and verbatim transcripts of their conversations with air traffic control -- you eventually stop picking up the phone when the person calls.
The same can be said for websites. People don't want to be bombarded with irrelevant information upon arriving at a website, especially when it happens every time they visit. Consider that nearly 74 percent of online consumers become frustrated with websites when the types of content that’s displayed (offers or promotions) have nothing to do with their interests. As a business owner, the last thing you want is to become the business version of the annoying friend whose calls go unanswered.
3. Save time.
The one thing that’s certain for those running a small business is having a lack of hours in the day. The last thing you want to worry about is ensuring that your website has the correct promotions, offers or products for a specific event or time of year at all times and then remembering to remove or change those once it’s ended. Nothing ruins a user experience quite like seeing the details of an awesome Thanksgiving sale when it's January.
By leveraging dynamic content, a business owner can create promotions, offers, seasonal item displays, well in advance and assign them to be displayed when certain trigger criteria, such as time of year or number of site visits, have been met.
While many web trends come and go, dynamic website content is a trend that is certainly here to stay. Consumers have come to expect to see what’s most valuable and on their minds and are easily frustrated when shown content they deem irrelevant. Now that the technology to implement these strategies has become far more affordable and accessible, business owners should seriously consider how to incorporate them into their strategies.