How to finally get B2B website personalization right!

Author: Prachi Garg | Categories: B2B Online Excellence, Customer Experience, Personalization

In B2C marketing, personalization has been there for quite some time now, as being used by e-commerce like Amazon, Netflix, etc. However, when it comes to B2B, it still has a long way to go, as brands are yet to experiment with a combination of strategy, data and technology in a meaningful way.

Though most marketers consider that the best way to generate leads is through direct contact with a buyer, and this leaves many of them wondering if website personalization is actually required in B2B marketing.

Why do we need website personalization?

We’re in a time where we are inundated with information and customers have very little time and patience. Data shows that around 94% of customers have discontinued their engagement with organizations, due to lack of relevant content on organizations' sites. A recent survey by Demand Metric shows that over 60% of the business surveyed have performed well with the personalized content.

Source: Kissmetrics


Seeing past instances, it's evident that customers prefer organizations that are smarter in their approach. Most customer journeys are digital these days, and if organizations can e-meet customers personally in their ideal moments, they can create a unique space in each customer’s mind. This is exactly what personalization does. By speaking the language that customer wants you to, it's highly likely that you'd win the deal.

94% of customers have discontinued communication with a company because of irrelevant messages.   — Blue Research, CEM deck

If we look at the current statistics, nearly 60miliion USD is being spent on digital advertisements, but only 10% customers could get to the content they were looking for. With so many unknown visitors and a lot of data in hand, today’s need of the hour is to tailor made every particular content as per the customer need. Still, many organizations are struggling with two key pain points - Campaign Tracking and Attribution. For example - Twitter recently launched brandhub, an analytical tool which enables businesses to monitor brand related awareness amongst its users. Another challenge with B2B is the purchase funnel itself, where each B2B sales cycle is a long journey, and more dedicated and focused efforts are needed.

B2B companies really need to understand who’s coming to their site and why they’re coming so they can better deliver spot-on experiences. Think about what kind of information they’re looking for — get into a visitor’s head and figure out how you can deliver THAT.

To summarize, lack of customer integrated data, skillset to use it effectively, and evolving personalization techniques based on customer needs are the biggest challenges.

Customer experience

Did you know the reason why you were getting high bounce rates and lower click-throughs? Considered web personalization? Effective web personalization makes real-time changes to your website based on the attributes of the visitor. These changes that occur in milliseconds deliver a personal experience to your visitor at the exact moment that they are on your site.

It has been seen as per recent studies that early relationship regarding targeted websites helps in generating more potential leads. Especially, when as a marketer, you are aware that a large amount of the traffic coming doesn't have to do anything with getting a potential customer, it becomes necessary to create awareness and capture the demand through with a potential customer could be identified for nurturing. 'Spray and prey' doesn't work anymore. To have him as a prospect, talk about her organization's vision, pain, objectives at the time of her first visit to your website. This improves the chances for her returning back to your website.

But the question remains, how to personalize B2B websites? With so many tactics available, it is not easy to narrow down the approach you would like to go for b2b site personalization. Through this blog, I would like to share a few basics to defining B2B website personalization and maximize results.

Know your customer

Targeting to the right potential customer in the language that resonates with them is what segmentation does. One of the ways of carrying out personalization is through segmentation and it enables you to reach those who matter.

Segmentation is the process of categorizing prospective or existing customers into specific segments based on some similar trends or attributes. Some basic segments that can be used include verticals, company size, revenue, industry, purchase pattern, the channel customers use, sales stage, location, etc. Post identifying segments, create personalization strategies based on the needs of these customers falling under respective segments. This strategy should define the message that directly interacts with a particular segment, and help them to achieve their business goals. It is more about filtering the irrelevant content and ensuring a visitor consumes content relevant to her need. You can also prepare content peculiar to each segment and can display it in the form of overlays or sidebar content in your website.

For example, you have a new product for law firms. Now, let your website personalization do this cross-selling for you, and during the visit, various law firms should know about your new product.

Choose your Approach

Machine learning algorithms constantly learn and ensure that the most effective messages are presented, for each visitor based on the user’s buying intent. While you are looking for personalization tactics, here is quick list of available tactics which can be implemented accordingly.

  • Geo-location- Location, location, location! Using the customer’s location to provide relevant messaging adds a level of convenience to the users. Eg- In an event based site, you can show the facts of the customer's location first, followed by other activities.

  • Behavioral- This strategy involves personalization based on the behavior of the customer of visiting the website. It may include personas, demographics and digital footprints of that customer. 

  • Contact data- Sending regular emails to the existing contacts about products

  • Vertical based – This is primarily for any particular domain that you plan to target. Eg- the new product is around law-firms, then personalization shall be for customers who are concerned with law firms.

  • Account based- ABM is a B2B marketing strategy that targets a particular group of accounts or customers based on pre-defined attributes. Eg- one could focus on a few of the widely targeted accounts or could target based on the types of companies that one is trying to market to — such as law firm with more than 10,000 employees.

  • Predictive collaborative advertising means targeting a specific segment of potential customers with hottest items available in the selection.

  • Search driven: Displaying a landing page relevant to the keyword used for the search. Eg- this means text that might usually say “Looking for sneakers?” can be more accurate to what the user is looking for – “Looking for Nike?”

  • Linking it with cross channel – Website personalization should not be in silos. In fact, it should complement all the channels. All your marketing attempts; be it from social, or from e-mailers or mobile, should be directed to the website.

Distribution of Personalized Content

There are chances that one of your customers is from healthcare industry while the other is from a law firm, and hence, both might not be interested in looking for similar content. The way content is placed on the website for each of them would be one of the factors that will help them pick a worthy vendor. Delivering content across channels also helps; i.e., COPE (Create Once, Publish Everywhere). This strategy is ideal because your customer is always on the move, and has access to almost all media - social, email, mobile, website, etc.

COPE Strategy

Leveraging Existing Content

It is not important to create a lot of specific content. What can be done is to leverage the existing content and redirecting the customer at the right place. Helping them to navigate to what they are looking for does add value to “moments of truth” in the customer's journey. Tailor-made 'call to action' can automatically display or navigate to the appropriate offers, emotive triggers, and solutions.

Eg- There is an existing eBook that talks about relevant personalization strategies. Your segmentation data shows that these are beneficial for law firms. In such case, all you would want to do is add a few law firm specific keywords for your law firm website visitors/customers and add imageries relevant to their industries.

Analytics and Optimization

It’s mandatory to remember that personalization is an ongoing process that needs to be monitored to realize effective results. From a marketer's perspective, it is crucial to understand which technique is working and which isn't. This will help in optimizing the marketing spends. Certain try-outs such as A/B tests, multivariate tests comes handy. Here is the data based on the survey.

A predictive content engine is constantly working towards optimizing how content is served to your website visitors. This engine is effectively an automatic multivariate with A/B test done over and over again every time you have a website visitor. Predictive content recommendation engines test assumptions and comes up with evidence-based conclusions to deliver the most relevant results. Integration with analytics tools like site catalyst enrich marketers to enable personalization platforms with firmographics data to allow better dicing and slicing of data.

To conclude, B2B website personalization does not focus only on increasing digital sales numbers by building customers’ trust and making purchasing decisions a cakewalk for them, but it also increases customer loyalty significantly. It lets your customers know that your company listens to them and appreciates their choices. What it does for your organization is builds immense customer loyalty and chances for lower drop-outs.