Most of the conversation around personalization is very focused on the B2C (business to consumer) space.
But B2B (business to business) companies should be thinking about personalization too. Unfortunately personalization can be quite difficult for some companies to implement. It can take a lot of time and resources to get moving.
But we have covered a few simple tips to get started with personalization before. And these steps are just as applicable to B2B companies. However there are a few specific things that B2B businesses should think about when it comes to personalization. And if you get it right, your ROI will increase.
So if you’re active in the B2B sector and want to start thinking about personalization, here are a few tips to get you started and some things you need to think about. And why you should think about personalization in the first place.
Why B2B companies should use personalization (and why they often don’t)
Most marketers are pretty unanimous on the benefits of personalization.
According to a survey from Evergage, a staggering 99% of marketers believe that personalization helps advance customer relationships. With a further 78% believing that it has a “strong” or “extremely strong” impact. In 2020 the same marketers also report that they have seen a “measurable lift” from their personalization efforts.
Most marketers in the survey seem to focus on personalization efforts in email, on their websites and in-person experiences. Personalization in digital advertising seems to be a bit more rare, with only 33% of respondents saying that they use it.
So if the benefits seem fairly obvious, why don’t more B2B marketers and companies use personalization?
In the same survey marketers all cited a lack of resource, a lack of personnel and a lack of knowledge as the greatest barriers to implementing personalization. So if you’re a marketer with a budget but not much resource at a B2B business, personalization might not feel feasible.
But with the pandemic changing B2B customer relationships and shifting more focus to digital channels, now is a great time to get involved with personalization.
Know Your Customer
There are quite a few low resource methods you can use to begin segmenting your customers, and segmentation is nothing new. And you can begin this exercise using your Google Analytics account, specifically in the “Interests” and “Demographics” sections.
Most B2B companies have a ton of information about their customers and they likely do not even know it. For example customer facing staff literally know your customers and are probably your best source of personalization data. If you have them, sales reps may also visit your customers on a regular basis. They will certainly speak to them often.
Any information you have on your customers is valuable. Once you feel like you have the data you need need you can begin to segment it into the following areas:
Firmographic – The type of industries your customers are in, where they are located, their revenue, number of employees.
Demographic – Names, job titles and level of seniority of your customer contacts.
Contextual – If your Google Analytics and Search Console accounts are set up correctly, you’ll be able to see your customers’ browser type and the queries they use to find you in search.
Behavioral – How your customers engage with you, for example do they read your emails?
Once you have your data and your segments, you can then judge where to prioritize your efforts by using a metric like LTV (Long Term Value). Your customers that bring in the most value should be your strategic priority.
But there’s even more segmentation you could do on top of this…
- Talk to customer facing staff – they know your customers
- Use Google Analytics, specifically the “interests” and “demographics” functions
- Prioritize your customers using a metric like LTV
Start With Emails
Before moving forward, you should make sure you have proper consent to manage and use your zero-party data from your customers. This is so your company is compliant with legislation like PDPA here in Thailand and GDPR in Europe.
Once you’ve done that, with tools like Mailchimp, it’s easy to segment your audience based on the segmentation you’ve already carried out.
Now you have identifiable customers and prioritized those that have high LTV, you could even send out bespoke emails to certain customer groups. So rather than sending a “one size fits all” weekly email, you could send different emails to different segments. This means you can customize the content to speak to each audience segment directly, and even include unique content for each one.
This is easy in Mailchimp, you could create a master template and with unique content for each segment in different campaigns.
- Make sure you are compliant with data protection legislation like PDPA or GDPR
- Use tools like mailchimp to send out tailored campaigns
- Send different emails to different segments using a “base” template, so you just have to change content around
Your B2B Website…
Your website is often the first impression you give to potential customers. So a personalized experience that engages new leads and keeps existing customers happy is essential.
By this point you will have your segments and prioritize your customers by a metric like LTV, or whatever works best for your business. You should also have spoken to your customer facing staff (if applicable) to discover more pain points and how your customers like to be approached. By prioritizing your customers you will also now have a good idea of the type of customers you would like to have.
Website personalization tailors your website’s content to each of the target audiences you have identified. You need to consider your content holistically. Choose specific types of imagery to show to your different segments, use unique call to action (CTA) text for each segment and use social proof that your customers respect. This all builds trust with your customers and keeps them engaged with your website, so they are then more likely to become a customer or stay loyal to you.
It’s not always easy but with a good technical partner, like MAQE for example (hint hint), you can serve tailored personalized experiences that speak directly to all your customers.
- Personalize everything you can, including images, CTAs and social proof
- Build target pages for each specific segment
Come back next week for part 2 where we will look at chatbots, using your segmentation data for advertising and allowing for self-personalization.
Talk to MAQE
If you need a partner for your personalization project, talk to MAQE. We’re digital commerce specialists and we can create unique customer experiences for all your customers. We can also help you to make the most of the data you already have. Get in touch via email@example.com for more details.