Surprise! A bonus article! We loved this topic so much (after all, we are big proponents of having killer content) that seven wasn't enough. This eighth article is going to look specifically at B2B content personalization and showcase some great examples.
Let's talk about business-to-business content personalization. There is a persistent thought that B2B marketing is vastly different from B2C marketing. In some ways, it is—namely, you're trying to get a company to be your client or customer. That's not really different from B2C, because when you think about it, B2B is really just marketing to a single individual (or group of individuals) who are part of a company. Instead of targeting their needs with your messaging, you target the needs of the company (which are theirs too). For this reason, you can use some of the same tactics for B2B marketing as you do for B2C.
Never underestimate the power of personalization. According to Salesforce's Fourth Annual State of Marketing report, "65% of business buyers are likely to switch brands if a vendor
doesn’t personalize communications to their company." That is a lot of lost opportunities (and potential profit).
We're going to look at a few things you need to be sure you are personalizing when it comes to B2B communication, followed by an example of it in play.
B2B Personalization: Personalize the Pitch
One of the most important instances of communication between two businesses is the pitch or the sales presentation. You need to convince potential clients why your firm or company and its products or services are better than your competitors and the right fit for them. This idea brings us to our first example.
Who: Leadfeeder & FA Solutions
Leadfeeder is a software that can provide more detail on the companies that visit your website. Instead of relying on analytic data that keeps your site visitors anonymous, Leadfeeder will identify your visitors, prioritize them based on the actions they take on your site, provide company and contact information, and provide new lead data updates.
In their profile on FA Solutions, Leadfeeder explains how FA Solutions wanted to forego cold calling since it wasn't working in their favor. Instead of cold calling to gather information and then come up with a pitch, they wanted to know all about their prospective customers prior to making a first introduction. That way, they would already know their pain points and would be able to tailor the conversation specifically to that—immediately suggesting solutions they can offer to help.
In order to eliminate cold calling, FA Solutions realized they needed better data so they could hit the mark on the first interaction with the customer. So they used Leedfeeder to identify companies and see what type of content and what web pages they spent the most time on. From there, they visited the companies' respective websites and began to create a pitch based on their problems and needs.
FA Solutions was able to remove cold calling entirely and instead focus on creating pitches that would not only "wow" prospective clients but secure their business.
The Takeaway: Tailor Your First Interaction Every Time
It's not just that first impressions matter (although they do): It's that your audience (AKA prospective customers) need to know that you truly understand them and can help them by fulfilling their needs. It is one thing for them to read generic service descriptions or case studies about how you have helped others. But your pitch becomes so much more impactful and impressive to a potential client when you can say, "This is who we are, this is what we do, this is who you are, this is where you need help, and here is our detailed plan about how we can assist you."
B2B Personalization: Recommend Articles, Blog Posts, and Other Content
eCommerce has figured it out: By recommending similar products to what the shopper is currently viewing, you will customize their shopping experience. When you do, they will have more positive feelings towards your company. You want to do the same with the users of your website.
While you can group similar posts by tags or content (e.g., social media, content marketing, branding), you'll also want to actively recommend content to your users. You can have a section beneath the article that is called "Recommended Blog Posts" or "Continued Reading", and these recommendations can be based on the article itself. But if you can gather more data on your users, you can use that to recommend content as well.
Who: Nuxeo and Citrix
Keeping visitors on our website is a struggle. First, we want to prevent as much bounce as possible. But, if a user came to read just one article, we want to try and keep them on the website even longer. Nuxeo and Citrix were two companies that struggled to do just that.
To create a better user experience and keep visitors engaged for longer than just the one article they came to read, Nuxeo implemented machine-learning algorithms. These algorithms had the job of recommending similar, relevant blog posts to visitors during each visit. By implementing these algorithms, they were able to achieve a 2.4% decrease in bounce rate and increase their overall blog engagement rate by 34%.
Another company, Citrix, sought to do the same. But instead of focusing on only recommending blog posts, Citrix went ahead and opened it up to all content on their website (such as white papers). So, if a user were viewing a particular web page about one of Citrix's services, and Citrix also had a white paper that went in depth about the service, the web page would have a pop-up window recommending the white paper for further reading.
The Takeaway: Use Content Recommendations to Extend Users' Visits
Not only will providing content recommendations help decrease bounce rate, but it will help keep your users on your website longer. And because your website is providing additional content of interest, it will customize their experience, meaning their feelings towards your company will be positive. Rather than scrolling through the blog feed chronologically or perusing tags and categories for content of interest, it will be front and center.
B2B Content Personalization: Get Social
You likely already have some social media pages for your B2B company: a Twitter profile, perhaps Facebook page, and definitely a LinkedIn account. A lot of B2B companies tend to stick to LinkedIn since it is the social media platform for professionals. But if your audience is on other platforms, make sure to go there, too.
Who: Slack & Hubspot
Slack is an all around great company whose product makes it easier for teams (especially those who work remotely) to chat, collaborate, share files, and more. They also have a pretty hefty social presence: Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter (SlackStatus, SlackHQ,and SlackLoveTweets). (They also have a podcast and several blogs.) Slack uses all of these channels to connect with their customers. The benefits of maintaining these channels include:
- Strengthening brand identity
- Build trust and credibility
- Start conversations with prospective clients
And with the variety of content, there is something for everyone.
Hubspot uses its social media to get the "scoop" on the issues their audience is having and creates content that addresses those issues and offers solutions. This move is great for their sales funnel, too: Because customers need different content depending on where they currently are in the sales funnel, creating content for all points is a must. They not only deliver value but ensure that they are able to customize the user's buying experience.
The Takeaway: Use Social Media to Get "Inside Info" on Your Customers
We say "inside info" as if it were top secret when it ia not. By inside info we just mean it isn't necessarily out in the open and may require some digging. But you can mine social media to find your prospective clients' pain points and use it as fodder for content creation:
- Start a conversation. Don't be afraid to get straight to the point: "What are some issues you are having with _____?" or "What frustrates you most about _____?"
- Look at your responses. See what people comment or reply to your posts. What pain points can you identify?
- Search hashtags. What types of threads or tweets can you find from current and prospective clients that speak to the struggles they have?
In B2B, Personalization is Not Optional
When your goal is to get someone to buy your product or hire you to perform a service, you have to put everything on the table. And that means using all the tools at your disposal to personalize every interaction possible that a potential client/customer has with your business. And you also want to create content that directly addresses pain points and content for each stage of the sales funnel.
That's all we have for our in-depth look at content personalization. Until next time!