Itai Sadan, Co-Founder & CEO, Duda
Website personalization is the next great frontier of web design. More and more big name restaurants and chains are creating one-to-one, unique website experiences for visitors to drive higher user engagement and customer conversions based on the time of day, visitor location, number of previous visits and more.
Website personalization allows a seamless flow and user experience from desktop, to laptop, to tablet, to mobile. With click-to-call, maps, and other features, dynamic content turns website visitors into paying customers. Although creating websites that display hyper-relevant, dynamic content may seem out of reach for small businesses, they're becoming a necessity.
Here are a few reasons your small restaurant business needs to adopt website personalization:
1. Target new and returning customers.
With personalization, your website will recognize whether a potential customer is a first-time or returning visitor. Then, it can target that visitor with specific messaging or content to encourage them to become a customer, or keep a returning customer coming back for more.
First-time visitors can be greeted by a coupon to draw them to your restaurant or be prompted to add their email address to your mailing list so they can receive special offers and promotions. That's the approach one Phoenix-based restaurant, The Gladly, took.
Within a few days of adding an email sign-up feature for new users, the owner saw substantial growth in the restaurant's mailing list. That growth meant more people receiving updates and marketing materials, and more diners coming through the doors.
The foodie who has visited your site multiple times can be greeted with other promotions or calls-to-action that better match what they're looking for. For example, a prompt to follow you on Facebook or Twitter might be more appropriate as it would enable you to update return customers on special events and offers to keep without them needing to necessarily return to your website in the future. Creating a loyal customer base is all about relationship building.
2. Optimize the experience for multiple devices.
Website personalization takes mobile optimization to the next level. The site recognizes which device a visitor is using and prioritizes information to keep the user engaged.
For example, a customer who visits your site from their smartphone is most likely looking for directions. With website personalization, a button that connects users with navigation from Google Maps can be the first thing they see. If a user accesses the site from a laptop or desktop, placing menu information front and center might make more sense.
Website personalization can help give customers the information they want, when they want it.
3. Promote special events.
From restaurant weeks to holiday dinners, you need to get the word out about special events. Website personalization can help. To increase bookings for Restaurant Week, The Gladly added a notification bar to their website to alert visitors about the event. This single feature increased reservations made on the site by 70 percent.
Following the success of Restaurant Week, The Gladly added a notification bar for a dinner event. After three weeks, the notification brought in more than 260 clicks. With a simple feature, you can increase your attendance for special events at your restaurant.
4. Join the trend.
Although website personalization for small businesses is still in its early stages, dynamic content is becoming the industry norm.
In a survey of more than 1,100 digital and eCommerce professionals conducted in 2013 by Econsultancy and Monetate, 94 percent of respondents said website personalization in some form is critical to their current and future business success. What's more, a 2013 survey from MyBuys found that 40 percent of consumers say they buy more when their website experience is personalized.
More and more businesses are harnessing the power of personalized websites, and those who don't are missing out on an opportunity to grow their profits.
5. It's easier than you think.
Although website personalization used to require experienced developers, a large budget, and a lot of time, new tools are making the process simple and inexpensive.
For example, in the past, creating a solution to personalize a website based on a visitor's location required a large amount of development work.
A back-end developer was needed to write code that would check a visitor's IP address, perform a lookup for the location, and change the content the visitor would see based on that location. Then a front-end developer would need to build a different page to fit the relevant content for each of the locations that had been identified.
Now, the process is a lot simpler. Platforms can integrate with Google Maps, automating much of the work that is needed.
A designer would only need to enter the city where they would like to show a personalized message or design into the platform, and create the layout they wish to display. When someone lands on the site, it can tell the visitor's longitude and latitude based on the device's IP address. If this matches up to the designated city, the site knows to display the personalized content that was created by the designer.
Although website personalization is a new concept for small businesses, creating dynamic content is possible. With new technology and tools, building websites that drive engagement and conversion is a must.
What do you think? What other benefits does website personalization have for small restaurants?
Itai Sadan founded Duda to help small businesses connect with potential customers anywhere, anytime and anyplace. Itai started the company from his garage in Mountain View, CA, with his high school friend, Amir Glatt, who is now CTO. In 2008 they both noticed how the Internet was shifting towards mobile and the need for small businesses to create mobile optimized sites to attract customers on the go. Since then, in addition to offering their mobile-only solution, the company has evolved to also offer an all-in-one responsive website builder for agencies and small businesses alike.
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