B2B personalization at its core aims for the same effect that B2C personalization does ─ better customer experiences that lead to more conversions, better retention, and more revenue. This article describes how segment-based B2B personalization works and how it differs from B2C personalization.
How B2B personalization is different from B2C personalization
In the B2B context, companies are in focus on personalization instead of individual consumers. In B2B, it is the company that has certain characteristics (also known as firmographics) such as industry, company size, and technologies that determine a lot about the way that company buys and why they by certain products and services. For consumers, characteristics such as age, gender, and education (demographics) determine much of what and why they buy 💸
In B2C, gathering vast amounts of relevant data about the behavior of the individual is in a crucial role in effective personalization. At Nexflix, they gather data on every movie and series you watch, previews you clicked on, length of watching, and what genre of content you watch to provide personalized suggestions, messaging, and even the best thumbnails for movies 🤯 They're constantly running experiments to see what works the best for individuals and groups of individuals to create the most engaging experience.
Netflix is constantly running experiments which content personalization works best genre recommendations to movie thumbnails 🤯
It's rare for B2B companies to have access to this volume and depth of behavioral data, which is why firmographic data is very important to understand the larger context.
How B2B website personalization works
1. Identifying visiting companies on the website
To personalize a website effectively for B2B companies visiting a website, it's a top priority to correctly identify a visiting company on the website. 98% of your buyers end up visiting your website at any point during the purchase journey whether you knew it or not.
Most of the identification is done using the IP address of the visitor, which then maps to a company. There's already a wide variety of companies that identify companies from the IP address such as Clearbit, Kickfire, and Leadfeeder. Most of these providers provide basic data such as industry and revenue together with the company information and the information can be used for sales outreach as well as marketing purposes.
If a visitor has already left their email in an email capture form, no IP-based identification is needed as the company can be inferred from their domain name. However, most of the companies visiting your website don't leave their email address.
If you're running an outreach campaign to target accounts, you can also identify the companies by sending a unique link to each one in which case IP data is not needed either. The personalized links work with any outreach tools you might be using.
To run a successful outreach campaign, you need a good target account list based on the best B2B prospecting practices. Find out how to run a target account-based outreach campaign with personalized landing pages on a large scale here.
2. Segmenting companies based on firmographics
Unless you're doing Account-Based Marketing (ABM), it's also important to segment the visiting company using firmographic data associated with them. Great personalizations take into account the industry of the visitor as well as their size and which technologies they use.
It's important here to understand what segments you typically serve as a business and you might want to talk to your sales department to get a few insights into how your different buyers react to different types of messaging. For example, small customers tend to want to try your product before committing to a demo meeting so you might want to change your call-to-actions based on company size.
The goal here is to think content first and ask what would feel the most personalized to each segment based on their goals and the ways they purchase. For a lot of SaaS businesses, segmenting the customers based on the industry is very powerful. You can always check our Recommended Segments to get more ideas based on how much traffic you have in each segment and how each of them converts.
3. Creating personalized content
There are two ways to create personalized content in the technical sense: writing your own HTML based on which company you're personalizing for or using a visual editor built for marketers. (I trust you choose the easy and fast way since you're here 😉)
To write effective personalized content, think about the segment you're targeting and how they buy, and what grabs their attention. The goal is to show them interesting content (and hide the non-relevant content) before they have the chance to bounce, so invest a lot of effort in personalizing your top-of-the-fold headlines, subtext, imagery, and CTAs.
Writing effective personalized content is about the right audience targeting and understanding how and why customers buy, and what grabs their attention.
If you're running out of ideas on how to personalize for each customer segment, you could talk to your sales again and take a look at the Playbooks we have written for you on how to personalize for different segments.
As a simple example, if the visitor is from the finance industry, use images related to banking and finance, change your use cases and customer testimonials to be from customers in finance, swap logos for bank customer logos, and offer an ROI calculator on the side of your page.
When a visitor lands on the website, this personalized content is shown to the visitor as soon as the visitor is identified. The old content is swapped with the personalized content in real-time from a server nearest to the visitor. In most cases, the visitor doesn't even notice that the content changed.
4. Measuring results and iterating
As in all data-driven marketing, it's important to A/B test personalizations and to keep iterating based on data. At Markettailor, we automatically compare all personalizations against your generic website experience so you don't have to worry about doing this yourself.
Once relevant results start flowing in, make another iteration of the personalization to see if you can improve your results until you're satisfied with the results. On average you should be seeing 50-200% improvements (sometimes even higher than that!). You can always reach out to your dedicated customer success manager at Markettailor if you want ideas on how to improve.