Typically, B2B buyers are getting around 60% of the way through their decision making process before they make contact with you*. Many buyers are now using the web to search for information to inform their purchasing decisions, so it is highly likely that the first touchpoint for potential customers will be your company website. A website gives customers an initial idea as to the feel and capabilities of your company, so presenting relevant content has become more important than ever.
There is no magic formula for content, one approach does not work for everyone, particularly in B2B where there is likely to be several people within the DMU (decision making unit) looking for products and services to be used company-wide. In line with this, there has been an increase of 95% in the number of companies attempting to personalise content in at least one way, with 65% of organisations focusing on personalisation according to industry trends and 59% considering the profiles of decision makers**. Essentially, it’s all about managing the expectations of buyers who visit your website, and creating hooks that will encourage them to engage with you.
As we all preach repeatedly – the more you know about your prospects and customers, the better placed you are to effectively target them. Data sits at the heart of personalisation; having good data provides you with a deeper understanding of your users needs. Thinking specifically about websites, by using metrics such as time a user spent on a page and the number of page views or content downloads, you can begin to determine which pieces of content are most successful. In terms of correlating this with an individual user, identifiers such as the device being used, the link source, and the keywords used to find the content can all contribute to the effective creation of profiles.
This data can then be used by B2B marketers to achieve personalisation through the implementation of algorithms which will work to display the content that the profiled users are most likely to be interested in. In other words, providing the best user experience possible to either encourage a return visit or that initial engagement.
The role of personalisation in decision making
As we previously mentioned the decision making process can be lengthy, and companies may be waiting a significant period of time before a buyer even decides to make contact. However personalisation helps you to actually understand more about the reasons a user may or may not be interested in your company. This has allowed companies to go as far as to tailor a user’s individual journey through the site, providing content that ‘ticks all of the boxes’ in terms of their unique requirements as a buyer.
It is unrealistic to think that you will be the first vendor to venture into the world of deep website personalisation. And it’s also important to consider the rise of the ‘smarter buyer’ who is much more aware of B2B marketers’ tricks and techniques. However, using good data sources and user profiles, website personalisation certainly creates that glowing light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to driving customer engagement and website conversion rates.
*Marketing Leadership Council, 2014 ** Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs: 2014 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks