Six Practical Ways to Make Your B2B Marketing More Personalized
by Mike Khorev
The B2B world was once known as being somewhat buttoned down in their approach to marketing. You may remember back to those days, simply because you sold industrial products to other businesses.
While it may seem you sell B2B products that look alike or overly scientific in nature, it doesn’t mean you can’t differentiate yourself from competitors. Working with the right marketing consultants will help you stand out and personalize your efforts toward your customers.
If you can treat your buyers like a good friend, you’ll do more toward making the B2B industry look more human.
Take a look at six practical ways you can go about this directly through your website or outlying marketing content.
1. A Personal Approach to Email Marketing
Email never becomes old, and email marketing is still one of the most important ways to personalize your B2B marketing content. It continues being the perfect place to introduce yourself and tap into the pain points of your targeted demographic.
For an introductory email, you’ll want to use some specific phrases and approaches to ensure your new prospects pay attention. What’s most important when starting is to examine customer personas so you don’t send irrelevant information.
According to statistics, more than half of business recipients receive B2B marketing emails that don’t apply to their needs.
To make your first email more personal, use the first name of the recipient. However, you’ll want to make the business know you thoroughly understand what they need to a point where it looks like you’re talking to a close friend.
Some additional keywords and phrases you’ll want to include in your first email to make it more personal:
- Use the word “now” to give a sense of urgency to their pain points.
- Add the words “you” and “your” to give the feel you’re talking directly to them rather than in third person.
- The words “free” and “new” also work well since businesses are always looking for something that can improve their bottom line.
Don’t forget about the option of customizing your emails with automation software and nurture campaigns.
2. Personalizing Content on Your Website
The content you provide on your website is going to determine how long your prospects stay without leading to a high bounce rate. Your goal should be to make your content and products personalized for the visitor so you solve their business problems.
Part of this comes in personalizing your calls to action at the end of all your content. However, you’ll want to do a few other things to personalize your content before getting there.
As Kissmetrics points out, you’ll need to determine what category your content fits under. Is it segment specific, as in segmented groups? Is it persona specific, stage specific, account specific, or lead specific?
Some other techniques to consider before personalizing the content you create:
- Do A/B testing to see what the response is to the content you’re targeting. These tools allow real-time metrics so you can change things quickly to better suit the message you’re conveying.
- Take existing content you already have and repurpose it to suit the demographics visiting your site. In some cases, this may mean taking white papers, case studies, or e-books and turning them into videos. Doing so gives a more personalized feel to overly formal content.
- Use real-time analytics to measure your baseline. Analyzing page views, bounce rates, and clicks per page better determines what’s really working and what isn’t.
Many CMS’s have personalization options to switch content based on visitor interests. Plus, automation is being used more all the time to personalize content on B2B websites.
3. Creating Behind-the-Scenes Videos
The mention of videos above wasn’t a fluke. Those in the B2B industry now realize that creating marketing videos are by far a better way to bring a more human angle.
Content, though, needs some considerable thought since you don’t want to make things too boring. Just because you sell an industrial product doesn’t mean you have to make a typical how-to video.
To make your videos more personal, doing a behind-the-scenes tour is a compelling creative option. It literally opens the doors to your B2B business so you’re 100% transparent.
Creating a tour of all your departments allows viewers to see who your employees are and perhaps how you manufacture your products. Part of this can become what’s called “subject matter interviews” where you interview staff experts on-camera to use as a form of how-to. These help prove your expertise in your particular industry niche.
Of course, client testimonials can also become a big part of creating a video series. Be sure to prove these are real business owners talking about how you helped them solve problems with your products.
Your best approach on videos is to make everyone speak from the heart rather than read from a script. Also, using real people rather than actors is better so you prove how human your B2B business really is.
4. More Specific Targeting of Audiences
Thanks to analytics, it’s possible to improve targeting to demographics you maybe never knew you had.
Sometimes you’ll see this known as “persona-lizing”, a clever term better defining targeting to a specific audience rather than marketing to one business at a time.
The above term also connects to creating customer personas, something you should start doing if you haven’t already. This works similarly to writing fiction where you create a bevy of characters comprising the basic characteristics of your projected buyers.
When creating personas in the B2B industry, it’s best to segment them by work-related attributes for better targeting.
Some things to include in your personas:
- Where do your business prospects exist in the world? Geography gives you a lot of information on how you’ll approach your marketing personalization.
- Who has seniority in the business you’re targeting? Since they have the buying power, they should be your prime recipient of personalized marketing content.
- Find out the function of the business customer. What pain points do they have that can help them function better in the immediate term as well as long-term future?
- What is the company’s niche and size? Knowing these two things helps you segment by niche and whether you want to target large or small companies.
Many social networks now offer persona-targeting paid ads. Facebook’s targeted lead ads are a good example.
5. Using Social Media to Start Conversations
At one time, social media might have seemed off-limits for your B2B business. Perhaps you thought you couldn’t possibly make your industrial products look interesting enough to anyone frequenting places like Twitter or Facebook.
While marketing on social channels depends a lot on where your demographics hang out, it’s important to find where they are and market to them personally.
It’s also possible to make your B2B company look interesting on social media. Much like videos, the best way to do this is to simply look more human by starting social conversations.
One of the best places to start those conversations is on LinkedIn. Most B2B businesses focus there exclusively because it’s tailor-made for linking businesses with other businesses. If you don’t already have a LinkedIn page, you need to start one now. These give other businesses a way to find out exactly what your expertise is and what kind of products you offer.
To further prove your expertise, it’s smart to take part in LinkedIn Groups. It’s easy to get started there because you can find industry experts, peers, and prospects all in one place.
Starting conversations here can become valuable because you’ll connect with potential leads while proving your expertise in the process. Still, it’s worth reminding you should never do a hard-sell, no matter where you start social conversations. Always make friends and gain respect with the prospect first to prove you know your industry well.
6. Personalized E-Commerce Methods
You don’t have to make B2B e-commerce so cut and dry either. Personalizing it to suit a business’s needs is another essential step in gaining the trust of your customers.
To begin, you may want to follow some recent trends being used by those in B2B to make e-commerce more helpful.
Adding account-based pricing is a good option to add first. This is a more personalized method of displaying specific messages or pricing details to a particular business. If you’ve negotiated a price with them individually, account-based pricing personalizes that price you agreed to.
One-to-one product recommendations are an additional way to create a more personalized shopping experience. Using recommendation algorithms is the key here, much like what Amazon does.
Ultimately, gathering data plays a big part in personalizing e-commerce, something you should alert your customers to. Using big data (and analytic tools) should become a major investment in your B2B company so you know as much as you can about the businesses you target.
As you can see, more personalized marketing in B2B isn’t overly complex with the right roadmap. Using these six steps, you’ll be able to nurture trust and keep a loyal set of business customers. When you face more challenging times, you’ll know you can fall back on these customers because they’ll feel like you know them better than they know themselves.