Why B2Bs Still Need to Focus on Personalization

Vicki Martinez's picture
Vicki Martinez
Vicki Martinez wrote:

Does your brand have a unique story to tell? Does your message differentiate you from the competition?

Although most management would answer yes to both, emails, website content, and CTAs are still of the generic form letter type.

If you’re not taking the time to personalize marketing efforts, customers won’t take the time to engage. Personalization is no longer a, “let’s just wait and see” tactic. It’s desirable. It’s expected. And it works.

Would you like a lead conversion rate that is 50% better than your competition?

Keep reading.

Effective Personalization in 3 Key Areas

With any personalized strategy it’s important to think of it in terms of one-to-one marketing. Engaging customers on a personal level increases loyalty as well as increases the likelihood a new prospect returns.

Are you personalizing in these 3 necessary areas?

Email Personalization. This is a two-fold proposition. First, the email must be addressed to an actual person. “To Whom It May Concern” just doesn’t do it anymore. Data compiled by the Aberdeen Group shows an improved click-through rate of 14% and increased conversion rates of 10% when emails are personalized.

Second, the email must be sent from a real person. Think about it. If you receive two emails, one from sales @ somebusiness.com and another from Jason @ somebusiness.com, which are you more likely to open? Especially if the contact is unsolicited.

Pro Tip: Adding a profile photo to an email should be a requirement for sales staff. Customers are 2X more likely to respond if the email includes a picture. An easy, free way to set this up, is by adding a Gravatar.

Using a person’s name in an email is not the only piece to the personalization puzzle. It’s just the start.

Develop personalized welcome emails to create a memorable first impression. If a customer opted in for your newsletter, downloaded an eBook, or requested a white paper the type of welcome and thank you email they receive makes a difference. Not only does personalization at this stage encourage open rates, it also adds a layer of customer loyalty that every B2B covets.

Content Personalization. Year after year content marketers find success by offering creative and valuable content to their customers. The 2018 Benchmark Report from Content Marketing Institute reveals that 91% of B2Bs use content marketing.

The question is no longer “should we?” As more brands discover the remarkable ROI from content marketing the new question becomes “How do we create content that stands out and is more memorable than the competition’s?” The simple answer: personalization.

A collaborative study from Seismic and Demand Metric reports that 80% of respondents agree personalized content is more effective, resulting in higher success rates than content with no personalization. The study also reveals the most effective type of personalized content is “lead-level, persona specific” content.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the steps for creating an organized library of content:

  1. Create detailed profiles for each buyer persona within your industry. If this is a new endeavor, start out by segmenting the personas into larger groups. If you already have specific buyer personas in place, a good practice is to revisit them regularly. The buyer’s journey is a constantly evolving landscape. Experts recommend updating buyer personas once a year.
  2. Categorize content according to the pain points each piece solves.
  3. Divide content into categories based on the sales funnel stage addressed.
  4. Now modify your content based on the specific interests, needs, or problems of your persona groups.

Personalized content is not about adding an individual’s name to the top of a sales piece. It’s about creating messages that speak directly to a customer in a way that makes them feel it was crafted specifically for them.

Omnichannel Personalization. To reap the full benefits of a personalization strategy a brand must create consistent and seamless user experiences across all channels – digital and offline.

One company, whose primary focus is omnichannel personalization, advises a phased approach.

They suggest the following stages for creating a cohesive brand experience:

  • Gather data from website activity to enhance email personalization
  • Engage buyer segments through custom content, videos, and blogs
  • Utilize website and email data to implement mobile personalization
  • If your company has a showroom use digital displays, kiosks, and tablets for sales reps to continue the seamless customer experience
  • Arm your customer service representatives with the necessary data to deliver personalized messages

Successful marketers in the game of personalization know that technology, data, and analytics are their friend. Companies can more effectively engage new prospects and current clients on an individual level, based on specific needs. In the B2B world, the sales cycle is often complicated and occurs over a much longer timeframe than the B2C journey. The ability to capitalize on personalization is a game changer.

Has your company had success with increased open rates through email personalization? Is your content well organized and customized to individual buyer personas? Have you recently set omnichannel personalization in motion? Share your successes and what you’ve learned through trial and error in the comments below.

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