Ever been asked what you do as a marketer? You’re basically in sales right? No wait, you do advertising? No, that’s not it either. A marketing job description can go in many directions depending on which part of marketing you cover. But one overall goal of a marketing team stays the same – the job of a team of marketers is to help businesses build valuable, personal relationships with their customers. Insert personalized content.
So how do we, as marketers do this?
We said it once and we’ll say it again, personalized content. Buyers demand it. Marketers must create it. Personalized content has been a no-brainer in the B2C world for many years now, but what about B2B buyers? In today’s content driven world, personalization is becoming more and more important for new, digitally savvy, fast paced B2B buyers as well. But delivering the right message to the right person at the right time can be tricky. To personalize your message, you need to know who your reader is, what they need at every stage during the buying process and then be able to surface relevant content to them when they need it. Your readers won’t get what they expect without a proper content marketing strategy in place.
Fortunately, the reason the demand for content personalization is increasing, is because the ease to send out personalized content is also increasing. There are several tools that can help create a content marketing strategy that works for your business. Marketing automation is one of them. Marketing automation helps develop a strategy that gives a level of personalization that allows you to achieve better results from your digital efforts. You can tailor the messages and content to each individual based on their interests, engagement level and stage of the buying cycle. These programs can be set up to run automatically and triggered to start based on a few key prospect features including:
- Demographic characteristic
- Contact title
- Behavior (i.e. newsletter signup, webinar registration)
Does content personalization really work?
In a study of 650 multi-channel marketing campaigns, personalized campaigns consistently and overwhelmingly beat out static campaigns in generating a high response rate from recipients (MindFire). Personalization makes your organization’s message stand out above the above the avalanche of emails sent to your buyers on a daily basis.
What can you personalize with marketing automation?
Basically anything. With marketing automation software, you can manage any number of custom fields that can store information that matters to your organization. You can also segment lists or personalized communications based on these fields.
We suggest starting simple. Personalized emails and landing pages can go a long way. Below are a couple basic fields that most marketing automation software can track, and that you probably already have in your database:
Email continues to lead the reigns of marketing. Including a recipient name is easily the most common form of B2B content personalization. 96% of organizations believe that email personalization can improve email marketing performance. In fact, personalized emails improve clickthrough rates by 14% and conversion rates by 10% (Aberdeen).
When a buyer starts showing signs of purchase or fills out a form, landing them in a sales team member’s lead queue, a marketing automation system can automate the initial communications. Before sending out the piece of content they want to communicate, the sender name can be personalized to “come from” the sales member assigned to that account. As the buyer engages with messages during this automated campaign, the sales rep is notified and can reach out directly. This creates a consistent and personalized experience for the buyer, as the person who sends them emails is the same person they speak to when they’re ready to see the product and whom they continue communicating with throughout the buying cycle.
Personalized Content Makes Happy People
These are only a couple ways you can quickly and easily personalize your content with marketing automation. There are several other routes to go in order to personalize content that increases your digital reach.
In the world of B2B selling, it’s easy to forget that even though we’re selling to a business, the communication and research is done by a regular person. We can get so focused on winning the deal of a company that we forget Mary from marketing was the individual who initially started the buying process. With that said, personalization makes obvious sense if you look at the grand scheme of things. In the fast, digital age, people have gotten quite specific in their tastes and wants.
When marketers are able to use tools to personalize and achieve results, everyone is happy. From a marketer’s point of view, it’s satisfying to carefully orchestrate a journey for a persona that you know spot on. And for the persona side, it feels comfortable to know that someone is paving the way based specifically on your personal details.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that the story you tell your prospects only matters if it aligns with the story that they want to be told. It is our job as marketers to understand that story, in all of its parts, and to tell it to each individual in a meaningful and relevant way. Marketers have a plethora of content and tools available, but it is only strategic, personalized storytelling that efficiently advances prospects through the buying cycle.