Website personalization means that people who visit your website – your potential customers – have an experience that is relevant to their behaviors or interests. Traditionally, marketers achieved personalization through simple segmentation, which allowed businesses to make generic correlations between an individual’s demographic information and their likelihood of purchase.
But consumers are growing more sophisticated and expect more than generic website experiences. In fact, a recent study found that 63% of consumers expect personalization as a standard service. If you aren’t delivering website personalization, you are failing to meet the expectations of over half of your customers right out of the gate.
Why bother personalizing your website?
Offering website visitors a personalized experience seems complicated, particularly for B2B brands. Many of the tools and solutions for website personalization, particularly personalization at scale, rely on indicators and metrics developed for B2C businesses.
However, B2B companies that fail to personalize website experiences are missing out on significant benefits. These include:
What are some difficulties of achieving website personalization at scale?
There are a number of challenges to achieving website personalization at scale, ranging from internal tools, applications, and processes to external regulations and data availability restrictions. Some common difficulties include:
For a personalized experience, you need data. But gathering data and making sure it is standardized, clean, and usable is an enormous challenge requiring significant resources.
Website personalization requires data from across different platforms, channels, and departments within the organization. If information is siloed, it is impossible to build a complete customer profile to accurately analyze intent.
There has been a growing worldwide focus on consumer data privacy. Companies are adopting regulations covering data management issues like local data storage and GDPR, restricting the ways that data is gathered, stored and used.
How can companies achieve website personalization at scale?
A company that is looking to achieve website personalization at scale should look to both short- and long-term strategies. Personalization isn’t done in a single effort – it is a continuous cycle of benchmarking, optimizing, and adjusting to changes with customers and in the business environment.
McKinsey & Co., The Heartbeat of Modern Marketing, 2017
First, assess the data you have versus the data you need. What tools are in use that can give insight to the customer? Where is data located, and stored – and can you standardize and integrate data from different sources?
Practical tip: you don’t need to gather all of the data. To avoid being overwhelmed, start by using what is at hand, or by selecting a tool that can help gather or integrate data.
Decisioning & Design.
Take a dive into the data and see what insights it provides. Develop a hypothesis and then decide on an action based on what you think it’s telling you. For example, if a website visitor downloaded a content offer that speaks to a “cost savings” pain point, you may assume that they would be interested in further information about how your product helps them save money, or improve revenues.
Practical tip: Start simple. State a hypothesis, and design an A/B test to see if it validates your idea. In the above case, you can send half of the customers that downloaded the “cost-saving” content a link to more cost-focused content, and the other half a link to revenue-improvement content.
Read Case Study: Improving Website Engagement with ASME
Implement the test that you have designed, then measure results to gain insight about the customer. Implementing marketing tools or solutions can help both with testing and measuring results. You can then feed this information back into the initial “data” stage, and then use it
to improve personalization across the customer journey.
Practical tip: Each test is an opportunity to learn more about your customers, who often provide incremental value with each interaction. Your understanding of the customer journey, and the way that you build personalized website experiences for them, can then become more nuanced and sophisticated over time.
As consumer expectations for personalization continue to grow, B2B companies must take action to deliver targeted experiences based on behavioral data. At SoloSegment, we use intelligent tools and anonymous data to provide a personalized site experience for website visitors – without invading their privacy. SoloSegment GuideBox helps companies use their existing website and digital content to deliver personalized experiences, qualified leads, and increased sales and revenues.