Remember the theme song from the show Cheers? In case you forgot, here’s the chorus to stir your memory…
Sometimes you wanna go…
Where everybody knows your name
and they're always glad you came.
You wanna be where you can see,
the troubles are all the same.
you wanna be where everybody knows your name.
If someone were to pick a theme song around using personalization in B2B marketing strategy, it would be this one. Isn’t this how you want your prospects to feel when they interact with you?
I think everyone likes walking into a room where people greet you by your name. But more importantly, they like to know that someone understands their troubles. Personalization can help you be that someone to your buyer personas.
Today, content has become the new spam. There’s so much noise out there. How can your buyer personas, or anyone really, know how to choose what content will benefit them the most? And how do you, as a B2B marketer, make sure they choose your content, engage with it and take action?
Personalization is a tactic B2B marketers can use to do just that. We’ve all experienced personalization in our B2C interactions. Amazon does it very well. They greet returning guests by name with suggestions that are relevant to how that guest shopped on their last visit. They provide options that are similar to what you last searched for and items that complement past purchases. The ads you see on Facebook, Twitter and through Google are also personalized to you based on your online behavior. Many other retailers take similar approaches.
On one hand, the idea of it can feel a little creepy but on the other it is very cool. As a customer, it makes me feel like Amazon was really listening to me and felt my pain as I searched for the lego set that was sold out every where!! In fact, when I visited Amazon today, they’re still trying to help me find it. The reality is (as you’ll see below) creepiness is only a concern for those who implement poor personalization strategies.
We know the people you want to influence and engage with are doing things online. Think about all the energy you expend in an effort to create awareness with prospects. But what happens when they hit your website? It’s up to you to ensure that your visitors feel understood and want to engage with your message and content.
How can you accomplish this? With effective personalization.
Here are five ways to incorporate personalization into your marketing approach.
1. Personalize your greeting
At Imagine, we have multiple buyer personas. Our website is built around those personas and the types of information we have discovered they are interested in learning about. When Morgan Marketing visits our site for the first time, this is what he/she will see.
It’s actually the same thing any first time visitor sees. But let’s say that Morgan downloaded one of our offers and identified him/herself as a marketing professional. When they come back to the site, this is what they will see:
Many marketers are tasked with generating leads. When we discover you are a marketer, the message changes along with the first heading. The greeting is more relevant to our visitor.
In the past, websites were the same for every visitor…every time they visited. Today, with marketing automation software (we use HubSpot), marketers can personalize their greeting and content on any page.
2. Personalize your offers
If you have multiple personas as well (you do know who your personas are, don’t you?), you’ll quickly find that some of your offers appeal more to certain personas than others. Don’t throw the same offer at everyone (you wouldn’t ask Norm a question that is better for Cliff, would you?). Personalize the offers people see on your site based upon what you know about them.
HubSpot allows us to use smart CTAs on our site. For example, if someone downloads our buyer persona workbook, the next time they will see a different CTA. We can also display additional CTAs that are relevant based on the information they have provided about themselves or what they have downloaded in the past.
3. Personalize your content
When I talked about personalized greetings above, I also mentioned that the content on any page can be customized – not just your homepage.
Let’s say someone identifies themselves as one of your primary buyer personas and each of your personas has different challenges related to your product or service. With personalization, you have the ability to customize your content to each persona. Once they identify themselves, they will only see content that is relevant to them and the issues/challenges they are facing. This way when one type of buyer is on a products page you can deliver your message contextually to them based upon their issues and how they may utilize the product. A different type buyer can get a completely different message.
4. Personalize the journey
Earlier I talked about smart CTAs. In addition to using them to keep fresh content in front of your returning visitors, you can also use them to move your prospects through the buyer’s journey.
When someone is in the epiphany or awareness stage, they are still learning and establishing their problem. As they move to the consideration and decision stages, they will be attracted to different content types.
Using their past behavior as indicators, you can create smart CTAs that not only offer different content but offer it in a different way depending on where they are in the journey. For example, when someone enters the middle of the funnel, a case study is more relevant than a simple checklist. When they reach the bottom, they may begin to look for pricing or product specifications.
5. Personalize your email marketing
According to Chadwick Martin Bailey, the top two reasons people unsubscribe to business email subscriptions are too many emails (69%) and content that is no longer relevant (56%).
By personalizing your email campaigns, you can reduce the number who unsubscribe because of irrelevant content. And I don’t mean just adding first names and company names to your messages.
Segmenting your lists very specifically by buyer personas and buyer’s journey will help you provide relevant content. Marketing automation software makes it easy to segment. Take the time to segment strategically, plan your campaigns well and your unsubscribes can be kept to a minimum.
Personalization is here to stay in B2C AND B2B marketing. The time to learn how to use it is now. The technology that allows marketers to personalize continues to develop and advance. Make sure your site delivers what your prospects are looking for…a place where everybody knows their name and their troubles are all the same.