Most businesses today recognize the value of personalization in digital marketing — tailoring your marketing message to different customers based on who they are and what they need.
Done right, personalization offers content that is genuinely helpful to customers and an experience that is truly relevant to their needs.
For the business itself, the benefits of marketing personalization include:
- A deeper understanding of customers and their needs throughout the buyer’s journey
- Data that can be used for further personalization or to pass more detailed, qualified leads to the sales team
- The delivery of an experience that builds trust and customer loyalty
- Marketing insights that reveal which messages and tactics produce the results you’re looking for
Still, many businesses struggle with how to implement personalization without a lot of resources and expensive enterprise-level tools. In this blog, we’ll offer up some simple ways to do personalization in B2B digital marketing without breaking the bank.
Adopt personalization as a mindset
For companies of all types and sizes, B2B marketing today is focused on providing customers with the information they need, when they need it — and personalization can play a big role in doing precisely that.
That’s because B2B marketing personalization is not just about using the customer’s name. It is a comprehensive approach to marketing that uses knowledge of your customers to:
- Help them solve their problems
- Increase the relevance of marketing content
- Connect in ways that respect customer privacy but still provide value
- Drive the customer to engage with additional content
- Guide the customer to a satisfying experience with the business
Rather than presenting the same message to everyone, you can use personalization in digital marketing to target your content according to customer traits as:
- Niche interests
- Purchase intent
- Behavioral patterns
- Where they are in the buyer’s journey
Especially since customers today have access to an almost overwhelming amount of information, the ability to deliver personalized, relevant content allows you to speak to a customer’s needs at the right time and with the right message.
Plan for personalization in digital marketing with research
Gaining the customer insights needed to guide creation and delivery of personalized content doesn’t happen without careful planning. By doing some upfront research you can get important clues to the needs of your prospects and the likely route they will take from “just looking” to becoming a paying customer.
Here at HELLO Marketing, we’re firm believers in the value of buyer persona development. Especially for B2B marketing personalization, buyer personas provide valuable insights into what is important to customers and what their personal decision journey looks like.
There are a number of techniques you can use to learn more about who your buyers are and what messages will speak to prospective customers, including surveys, questionnaires, and focus groups. You can also gain valuable insights from informal discussions or comments you get via your website or social media.
Learn more: Read our buyer persona blogs.
Once you understand your buyer personas, you can use those insights to decide:
- Who you want to target — for example, focusing on specific audiences based on particular traits and where they are in the buyer’s journey
- The content vehicle(s) you will use — such as a podcast, white paper, case study, or newsletter
- The response you want to elicit — whether it’s to visit your website, opt-in to receive more information, or watch a product demo
- How to use personalization to speak to each audience — for instance, creating multiple social media ads and targeted landing pages that address different buyer roles or needs
- The timing of it all — how long or how often the marketing campaign will run
Recommended tactics for personalization in digital marketing
The following are some scenarios that we have found are well suited to personalization, often using familiar platforms you might already have at your fingertips.
For “top of the sales funnel” prospects — people who are just starting the buyer’s journey — you might use pay per click (PPC) ads to build awareness. However, you don’t want these ads to drive prospects to your website only to leave them hanging.
Instead, you can create multiple landing pages with unique content that reflects the key phrase of each ad and speaks to the needs or interests of the different buyers who click through. By personalizing the landing pages with content that aligns with your ads, you can:
- Present visitors with content that reinforces your ad’s message and shows them they’ve come to the right place
- Lead prospects to an appropriate call to action (CTA) or the next step that will meet their needs
- Reduce bounces and help make sure the money you spend on PPC is not wasted
Likewise, you can also get more value from paid ads on social media such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram by creating landing pages that are personalized to each target audience.
Targeted website content
You can serve up targeted website content and tailor the web experience for specific audiences using widely available and affordable tools. For instance:
- HubSpot lets you gather information on visitors and personalize content based on their IP address.
- There are WordPress plugins that enable you to offer website visitors specific information according to their location, again based on IP addresses.
You can also take advantage of learning algorithms and artificial intelligence (AI) in a platform like Personalyze or Uberflip to show return website visitors new content or suggestions based on past behavior such as pages visited, assets downloaded, time spent on particular content, or items previously purchased.
Since most buyers return to a website multiple (2-4) times before making a purchase, tracking this data allows you to do ad retargeting or to show return visitors ads related to pages they previously viewed.
Personalized content for lead generation
Personalized content is an important part of a lead generation program. Sharing relevant, meaningful content can provide prospects with insights they can’t get on their own through online research.
Offering content that is tailored to your prospects’ needs can make them more willing to offer their name and contact information in exchange for downloading a presentation, viewing a podcast, or attending a webinar. At the same time, it helps to build brand awareness and credibility.
You can use do-it-yourself tools and templates in a platform like Unbounce to build and launch custom landing pages. It even integrates with Google Analytics and popular email marketing tools.
Once a lead is qualified, you can do one-to-one email sequencing based on the buyer persona and the corresponding messaging and content. If you don’t have a marketing automation platform, you could do the process manually, using a spreadsheet to plot out all the sequences.
Targeted email campaigns
Email personalization allows you to target your content and makes recipients feel like the message is made for them rather than a mass mailing. Begin by segmenting your email database according to buyer personas. It’s an easy and effective way to create target lists and personalize the message to the needs and pain points of each group of personas.
Instead of just sending emails in the name of your company, use the name of an actual person as the sender. It will instantly make your message more personal (and do so at zero cost).
Using personalization tokens within an email template, you can compose and send a single email in which each recipient’s version will be populated with personalized information. For example, you can insert a verified first name, reference previous purchases, or insert unique text, links, or images to make the email more relevant to individual recipients.
A capability called dynamic content allows you to create a single email campaign with different blocks of content inserted according to different audience segments. For instance, the Campaign Monitor platform allows you to create multiple versions of the same email for different sets of subscribers based on their unique data points.
You can also use dynamic content to create multiple versions of landing pages according to your different email audiences. And, you can link your emails to your website’s ecommerce functionality, to track customers’ online activities and use the data to:
- Retarget buyers with special offers for items they’ve shown an interest in
- Send a reminder when items are left unpurchased in a customer’s shopping cart
- Send an order confirmation personalized with additional recommendations or special offers
Account-based marketing (ABM)
We’ve talked before about how ABM is not just for selling to big enterprises. It can be a great B2B marketing strategy wherever the target is multiple stakeholders in a business (account) who either have a say or are influencers in the purchasing decision.
And since an ABM strategy involves treating the account like its very own market, personalization is at the core of ABM. It requires:
- Understanding the different roles and buyer personas among the different account stakeholders
- Developing a plan for serving up the right content to reach every role/stakeholder at every stage of the buyer journey
While B2B marketing personalization in ABM is not necessarily one on one (unlike in consumer marketing), 79% of B2B buyers say they value content that is personalized to their industry, department, or role, according to Forrester. So, an effective ABM strategy might include:
- Content specific to the audience’s industry or department
- Personalized ads with custom CTAs based on roles
- Sequenced emails targeted by role and sent out based on preset time intervals, specific actions, or both
For instance, you can use capabilities within LinkedIn to personalize ads for different accounts and roles. Or, when a prospect downloads content on a specific topic, it can trigger a thank-you email that reflects the same message and shows the prospect where they can find related content.
You can create sales portals branded for specific audiences, either manually or using a platform such as Uberflip. It provides granular customer data along with additional tools for ABM, lead generation, and sales enablement
Personalization doesn’t have to be hard or expensive
Many businesses assume personalized marketing requires a big investment and a lot of time and energy. But as you can, you can do personalization in a thoughtful and integrated way using readily available tools and techniques.
Pairing those tools with a thorough understanding of your prospective buyers, you can use personalization in digital marketing to create relevant content that is helpful to prospects, generates demand, and delivers qualified leads to your business.
If you’re unsure how to get started with personalization, HELLO Marketing would be happy to help. Just call Lauren at 973.214.5942 or email her at [email protected] to set up a free 20-minute consultation.