Time to Get Personal

As a destination marketer, one of your main challenges is turning your website visitors into destination visitors. Before a visitor comes to your destination they compare you their other options. During this research phase, you tailor your ads to match their interests, you utilize search engine marketing tools to make sure your advertising and social… Read More

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As a destination marketer, one of your main challenges is turning your website visitors into destination visitors. Before a visitor comes to your destination they compare you their other options. During this research phase, you tailor your ads to match their interests, you utilize search engine marketing tools to make sure your advertising and social content is targeted to their search results, and you hope these visitors click through to your site to consume and engage with the top content you’ve created.

But what are the best practices in turning these online visitors into destination visitors?

Leading destination marketers from Explore Branson, Elkhart County, Indiana, and Visit Williamsburg believe website personalization is a cost effective way to turn their website visitors into destination visitors. In Time to Get Personal, these three destinations highlight some of the ways Bound’s personalization solution has helped them stand out amongst their peers and convert their online visitors into destination visitors. Some of their results include the following:

  • Explore Branson has seen a 560% increase in e-newsletter sign-ups by using a personalized pop-up targeted to different website audiences.
  • Elkhart County, Indiana used Bound’s A/B testing capabilities to increase travel guide conversions by 253%.
  • Visit Williamsburg used Bound to maximize the value of their paid media campaigns. ince targeting paid media visitors to the website with personalized landing pages, they have seen a 41% increase in time on site.

Read more in this report to learn how these destinations got these results and to see if now is the right time for you to explore personalization for your destination’s website.

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Who’s Hiring in January 2019?

Here are our picks: Website Optimization Specialist – In Atlanta, SunTrust is looking for a specialist to be responsible for “developing and executing business strategies, processes and policies to enhance the sales and service experiences intrinsic to SunTrust’s digital spaces.” A/B Testing & Personalization Analyst – Join Barnes & Noble’s Optimization team in New York […]

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Here are our picks:

Website Optimization Specialist – In Atlanta, SunTrust is looking for a specialist to be responsible for “developing and executing business strategies, processes and policies to enhance the sales and service experiences intrinsic to SunTrust’s digital spaces.”

A/B Testing & Personalization Analyst – Join Barnes & Noble’s Optimization team in New York to “improve bn.com’s content, design, and usability for customers and to create unique experiences based on customers’ preferences and behaviors.”

Director-Digital Product Analytics & Testing –  Join the Enterprise Digital and Analytics team at American Express in New York.  They are looking for a leader to “provide value to the online card shopping experiences within the Global Consumer and Commercial businesses through customer data and measurement, insights through analytics techniques and experimentation.”

Marketing Manager, International Conversion – Ancestry is looking for a candidate to join their Conversion Marketing team in San Francisco.  This person is “responsible for improving and optimizing the user experience at each step in the conversion funnel with the end goal of maximizing revenue from visitors in each of Ancestry’s key global markets.”

Marketing Manager, A/B Testing & Optimization – Join AuthO’s Growth Team in “driving improvement in key engagement metrics and customer experience throughout the customer lifecycle.”

Director of B2B Marketing, Demand Generation – Join Vimeo’s B2B marketing team in New York to “scale qualified lead acquisition, build and continuously optimize digital marketing, account-based marketing (ABM), email automation, social, and event-based marketing channels.”

Sr. Analyst, eCommerce Direct to Consumer Analytics – Newell Brands is looking for a senior analyst in Hoboken, New Jersey, to drive “sustainable growth online through the best-in-class use of data and analytics.”

Digital Marketing Leader – Website Optimization – Join GE Healthcare in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin to “develop a rigorous testing and experimentation framework, and conceive, scope and implement experimentation initiatives to improve the website user experience and drive conversion rate optimization.”

Manager, Marketing Planning, Test & Analysis – Express is looking for an individual to lead the testing and optimization program in Columbus, Ohio, “starting with A/B & multivariate testing taking us into experience optimization and eventually personalization.”

 

Looking for a job or to fill a position?  Give us a shout and we’ll help spread the word in our next careers blog post.

 

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Building the essential marketing technology stack to fuel your experimentation program

We hear shouts of “hyper-personalization” constantly—a one-to-one customer experience is the pinnacle for many organizations today. Of course, this relies…Read blog postabout:Building the essential marketing technology stack to fuel your experimentat…

We hear shouts of “hyper-personalization” constantly—a one-to-one customer experience is the pinnacle for many organizations today. Of course, this relies...Read blog postabout:Building the essential marketing technology stack to fuel your experimentation program

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Free Guide: How to Strategize & Execute Profitable Personalization Campaigns

When I speak with our clients, it often strikes me how many of them feel overwhelmed by the very idea of personalization. Our imagination, often fueled by the marketing teams of various software companies, creates a perfect world where personalization enables every interaction to be completely custom for every individual. In this dreamland, artificial intelligence […]

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When I speak with our clients, it often strikes me how many of them feel overwhelmed by the very idea of personalization.

Our imagination, often fueled by the marketing teams of various software companies, creates a perfect world where personalization enables every interaction to be completely custom for every individual. In this dreamland, artificial intelligence and machine learning solve all our problems. All you have to do is buy a new piece of software, turn it on, and…BOOM: 1:1 personalization.

As a data scientist, I’ll let you in on a little secret: that software only provides the technological capability for personalization. Even further, the algorithms found within these tools simply assign a probability to each potential experience that maximizes the desired outcome, given the data they have access to. Suffice to say, they’re not as intelligent as you are led to believe.

If you caught our first post in this series, you already know that we define personalization a bit more broadly, as any differentiated experience that is delivered to a user based on known data about that user. This means personalization exists on a spectrum: it can be one-to-many, one-to-few, or one-to-one.

And while there are many tools that enable you to do personalization from a technical standpoint, they don’t solve for one of the main sources of anxiety around personalization: strategy

Most personalization campaigns fail because of a lack of a strategy that defines who, where and how to personalize. So I’ve put together a free downloadable guide to help you do just that. This seven-page guide is packed full of guidelines, templates and best practices to strategize and launch a successful personalization campaign, including:

  • Major considerations and things to keep in mind when developing your personalization strategy.
  • More than 30 data-driven questions about your customers to identify campaign opportunities.
  • A template for organizing and planning your personalization campaigns.
  • Guidelines for determining whether to deliver your campaigns via rule-based targeting or algorithmic targeting.

Free Download: Plan & Launch Profitable Personalization Campaigns.

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Built to Wow: An Introduction to Launching Personalization At Your Company

The promise of personalization is enticing: a complete 1-to-1 experience for every customer, driven by every detail and data point about that person: who they are, their interests, needs and history. Their customer experience is completely optimized to deliver the right content at the right time, influencing brand engagement, purchase activity and “wow”-worthy customer experiences. […]

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The promise of personalization is enticing: a complete 1-to-1 experience for every customer, driven by every detail and data point about that person: who they are, their interests, needs and history. Their customer experience is completely optimized to deliver the right content at the right time, influencing brand engagement, purchase activity and “wow”-worthy customer experiences.

For years, this vision has been a pipedream among marketers, product managers and customer experience professionals. Many clients come to us wanting to “do personalization” but face significant challenges in doing so.

Part of this is due to the fact that “personalization” is so ill-defined.

At Brooks Bell, we define personalization as any experience that is delivered to a user based on known data about that person. By that definition, personalization exists on a spectrum: it can be one-to-few, one-to-many, or one-to-one. In the digital environment, product recommendations, customized search results and even segmented experiences are all considered examples of personalization.

But while many companies are already implementing these experiences, there’s still an overwhelming sense that many brands have yet to arrive in terms of personalization.


Got a bunch of burning questions about personalization? Submit them using the form below.

We’ll use this information to make sure we cover these topics in our upcoming posts.


A 2018 study of 300 marketers by Evergage and Researchscape International found that 98% of respondents believe personalization helps advance customer relationships, but only 12% were “very” or “extremely” satisfied with the level of personalization in their marketing efforts.

This is because (not unlike experimentation) personalization is a business strategy that should evolve in order to deliver long-term value. And while it’s true that many brands already have the ability to do personalization, they’ve also found that elevating and scaling a personalization program is difficult, costly and, frankly, can feel pretty darn impossible.

So, how to do this? In addition to the fundamentals for a standard optimization program, there are three critical working components that need to be established for personalization:

  • Technology: you need top-notch tools to centralize user profiles and deliver personalized experiences;
  • Data: personalization requires a clean, unified view of relevant customer attributes, and
  • Strategy: you need research and planning to purposefully and effectively launch, scale and benefit from personalization.

In the coming weeks, we’re going to break down personalization further by each of these components. We’ll outline the best practices, advice, strategies and tips to go from scrappy to smart when it comes to introducing and scaling personalization at your organization.

Struggling to execute a scalable personalization strategy? We can help. Contact us to schedule a free 30-minute consultation.

The post Built to Wow: An Introduction to Launching Personalization At Your Company appeared first on Brooks Bell.

Why Personalization Matters As Explained By Your Thanksgiving Feast

It’s the night before Thanksgiving, and you’re still trying to plan the menu. While you are thrilled that some rarely-seen relatives have decided to journey to your home for the holiday, they’ve also presented you with a culinary challenge. You realize that with only one turkey, and room on the table for only a few… Read More

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It’s the night before Thanksgiving, and you’re still trying to plan the menu. While you are thrilled that some rarely-seen relatives have decided to journey to your home for the holiday, they’ve also presented you with a culinary challenge. You realize that with only one turkey, and room on the table for only a few side dishes, you won’t be able to give everyone the perfect Thanksgiving feast.

You decide to try and tackle the turkey first since it’s the centerpiece of Thanksgiving. Uncle Bob has requested a fried turkey this year, but cousin Alice from Austin thinks a smoked turkey would be better. You’ve never smoked nor fried a turkey before so it seems like an easy decision to stick to the traditional, which should be good for most of the group.

However you feel bad that Bob and Alice won’t get the turkey they want, so you decide to prioritize them for the sides. They’re both on board for your garlic mashed potatoes. This means though that the mashed sweet potatoes won’t fit on the main table, and will need to stay in the kitchen. Your mother will only eat the sweet potatoes and has a bad ankle. Is it fair to make her walk to the kitchen every time she wants more?

You could move the green bean casserole to the kitchen and leave all the potatoes on the table. Meanwhile your brother-in-law, Caleb, asked if the green bean casserole could use gluten free fried onions, and you’re still trying to decide if that would work for everyone or if it would taste noticeably different.

You’re completely lost when it comes to desserts. Your family will only eat pecan pie but your mother-in-law is severely allergic. It seems logical to make pumpkin, but how can you not have the pie that half your guests want?

Luckily you’re only faced with this conundrum once a year. Destination marketers, however, face this challenge daily. Instead of a turkey, they need a homepage hero that still appeals to in-state, out-of-state, and special interest visitors. They might not need to worry about someone walking the extra steps to the kitchen, but they struggle with keeping content easy to find so that brides looking at wedding venues or business travelers coming for a conference don’t need to dig through page after page of general vacation trip ideas.

Reimagine this Thanksgiving feast/website with personalization. Most guests would see the traditional turkey hero, but Uncle Bob and cousin Alice see the turkeys they want. Your mother doesn’t need to “walk” to the kitchen, because you’ve set a fly-in on the sides content that takes her right to the sweet potatoes. That pecan pie that can’t get near your mother-in-law? You’ve set rules to exclude her from ever seeing it.

We hope YOUR Thanksgiving is delightful and there are no challenges with planning. If you’re interested in learning how to take your website to the next level with personalization request a consultation to see how we fit in with your current marketing strategy.

The post Why Personalization Matters As Explained By Your Thanksgiving Feast appeared first on Bound.

Images and Stories Inspire Us to Travel

Photo courtesy of Tupelo.net When you see an image of a beautiful location or hear a great story about a destination, your natural response is to want to experience it yourself. The first step in that experience is often looking at the pictures of other travelers and reading their thoughts, opinions and narratives of their… Read More

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Photo courtesy of Tupelo.net

When you see an image of a beautiful location or hear a great story about a destination, your natural response is to want to experience it yourself. The first step in that experience is often looking at the pictures of other travelers and reading their thoughts, opinions and narratives of their experiences. We respond strongly to this user generated content because we can relate to the creators and we can relate their experience to what ours could be like.

In our 2018 State of Personalization Report, we identify user generated content as a major driver in online engagement. That’s the difference we see between user generated content and advertiser or marketer generated content. Travelers trust other travelers over advertisers. According to a study by Elon University, 65% of consumers trust word of mouth on the Internet more than content produced by advertisers.

Incorporating user-generated content into your destination’s digital marketing campaigns is a great opportunity to include an undeniable level of authenticity. In the report, we look at how leveraging local audiences to create content creates three benefits:

  • Modern consumers are visual decision makers.
  • Real people don’t feel like an advertising campaign.
  • User generated content establishes credibility.

As part of a bigger initiative to turn all marketing directives from professional photos to user-generated images taken by real visitors, Bound customer, Tupelo Convention and Visitors Bureau, started their #MyTupelo campaign. While Elvis’ hometown draws crowds from far and wide, many visitors only come for one specific attraction — so the challenge for the marketing team at Tupelo CVB was to increase overnight/weekend stays. Tupelo realized that it could take its marketing goals and initiatives to another level with a strategy that involved leveraging their locals.

“With UGC it’s not just us telling you to use our hashtag; it’s us saying there’s another traveler who stood in the exact same spot you’re standing in right now, and telling their travel story with a level of authenticity we just can’t provide on our own,” said Will Crockett, Online Content Manager at Tupelo CVB.

San Francisco Travel Association launched their “I am San Francisco and You Are Always Welcome” campaign as part of an initiative to let international travelers know that all people are always welcome. The first phase addressed the visitor directly in a dedicated video and #AlwaysWelcome hashtag. Phase two involves a nine-feature campaign leveraging locals with the goal of showcasing San Francisco as a diverse and welcoming destination. Titled “I Am San Francisco,” it’s an online series sharing the stories of both natives of the city and those who came to visit and found a home.

“We wanted to tell stories that are real and authentically San Francisco,” President and CEO of SF Travel Association, Joe D’Alessandro said. “This is what San Francisco is all about–not just acknowledging diversity but celebrating and defending it around the world.”

User generated content is just one of the topics we cover in our annual report. You can download the Free Guide: State of Personalization 2018 Report to learn how destination marketers like you are leveraging:

  • Website personalization benchmark statistics
  • Strategies for implementing personalization
  • 2018 trends in content and personalization
  • Real case studies from successful destinations

Related Posts

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What Marketing Performance You Should Expect from Your E-Newsletter Sign Up

Across our many Travel & Tourism customers, e-newsletter sign up is a key website metric because it builds a destination’s email list and creates a connection with potential visitors. It enables you to maintain an ongoing – albeit long-distance – relationship with a potential visitor to your destination. Think about it, when a website visitor… Read More

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Across our many Travel & Tourism customers, e-newsletter sign up is a key website metric because it builds a destination’s email list and creates a connection with potential visitors. It enables you to maintain an ongoing – albeit long-distance – relationship with a potential visitor to your destination.

Think about it, when a website visitor submits the sign up form, they take a big step in their relationship with you — they move from an anonymous person learning more about your destination to a person who is sharing their information and asking to be updated when you have something of interest to share. Let’s take a look at:

  • Why people sign up for e-newsletters
  • What performance you should expect from your own e-newsletter sign up
  • How our experience and best practice strategies impact e-newsletter sign up

Why do people sign up for an e-newsletter? We see two main segments of website visitors signing up to receive an e-newsletter:

In-Market

  • Want to be aware of upcoming events
  • Weekly digest and weekend highlights are important
  • Will impact the business of key attractions and local partners
  • Will likely not impact hotel occupancy

Out-of-Market Pre-Visit

  • Are considering a visit but not immediately booking
  • Updates on key attractions and annual events are important
  • Will impact the business of key attractions and local partners
  • Will impact hotel occupancy

In-Market

Out-of-Market

Smart destination marketers message these two groups differently. Consider offering them a call to action or reason for signing up that aligns with their interest. Think of this as their ‘why’. Why should they give you their contact information? What’s in it for them? If they are in-market, focus on upcoming events content that is shared in the e-newsletter. If they are out-of-market, focus on the long-term reasons to stay in touch with your destination.

What performance should you expect from your own e-newsletter sign up? If we look across our customers’ sites for visitors who do not receive personalized messages (non-targeted visitors), we see an average of .12% conversion rate on e-newsletter sign up. Conversion rate is calculated by dividing the total number of non-targeted visitors on site who sign up for an e-newsletter by the total number of non-targeted site visitors.

If we look across our customers’ visitors who see a personalized call to action related to their  interests, we see an average of .42% conversion rate on e-newsletter sign up. Conversion rate is calculated by dividing the total number of targeted visitors on site who sign up for an e-newsletter by the total number targeted of site visitors.

How do we see e-newsletter sign up done really well?

Visit Sarasota uses simple, but powerful, personalization to drive engagement with this key goal.  Sarasota County, Florida — an award winning Gulf Coast beach destination with a thriving arts and cultural scene — encourages website visitors to sign up for their e-newsletter during their initial visit to the destination’s website. If they don’t sign up today, Sarasota’s personalization waits two weeks and asks again when the visitor returns to the site.

With support from their agency, Miles Partnership, Visit Sarasota introduced their e-newsletter pop up in January of this year. Within six months, this personalization campaign drove over 8,000 new subscribers — increasing the size of their email list by more than 250% as compared to the previous year.

With increased subscribers, Visit Sarasota shares upcoming events, sponsored places to stay, and unique local attractions on a monthly basis.

In our next post, we’ll take a look at how e-newsletter sign up compares with visitors guide download. We’ll discuss as a call to action and where each is used most effectively.

Download the Free Guide: State of Personalization 2018 Report — in this report you will learn how destination marketers like you are leveraging:

  • Website personalization benchmark statistics
  • Strategies for implementing personalization
  • 2018 trends in content and personalization
  • Real case studies from successful destinations

The post What Marketing Performance You Should Expect from Your E-Newsletter Sign Up appeared first on Bound.

B2B Digital Marketing Strategy Survey Results

Our most recent email series introduced a step-by-step approach to website personalization strategy. The strategy series outlined the five elements of a successful strategy: Solutions, Segmentation, Targeting, Tactics, and Optimization inspired by the Website Personalization Strategy eBook. In each email, we asked our B2B marketing subscribers one question about their digital marketing strategy. Let’s take […]

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Our most recent email series introduced a step-by-step approach to website personalization strategy. The strategy series outlined the five elements of a successful strategy: Solutions, Segmentation, Targeting, Tactics, and Optimization inspired by the Website Personalization Strategy eBook. In each email, we asked our B2B marketing subscribers one question about their digital marketing strategy. Let’s take a look at what you all had to say.

What is your #1 marketing challenge?

50% of marketers surveyed answered “Not enough qualified leads.” This echoes the most common goal that our customers seek to solve with personalization.

Are you segmenting your website audience for anonymous visitors?

Only half of respondents are segmenting for anonymous visitors—that means the other half are ignoring 95% of their audience.

How are you targeting with paid media?

A significant 86% of marketers surveyed said they are targeting their paid media based on buying role or persona attributes. It would be seamless for the majority of B2B marketers to mirror this persona-based experience on their website.

Where are your buyers abandoning their journey?

30% of respondents don’t know where buyers are abandoning their journey and 60% know they’re dropping out of the journey in the Consideration and Decision phases. There is an urgent need for responsive nurture throughout the buyer’s journey.

On average, how often do you review your digital campaigns?

Over half of the marketers surveyed review their digital campaigns weekly. All of your digital campaigns drive to your website. How often are you reviewing and optimizing your website strategy?

Get the definitive guide to a successful website personalization strategy in the Website Personalization Strategy eBook.

If you’d like to receive our email communications, join the newsletter!

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