b2b marketing engagement

There’s a reason Netflix, YouTube, and Hulu all have autoplay enabled on their platforms — it encourages engagement. Whether it’s the next episode in a series or a recommended piece of content, their goal is simple: keep you watching. They show you something they think will be relevant to you based on everything they have learned about your interests to encourage you to stick around.

Digital marketers who wish to have their website binge-watched like the latest Netflix original series should be taking a page from these engagement gurus’ books. With more noise in the marketplace daily and attention spans shrinking by the minute, nudging active visitors to more relevant content, in-the-moment, needs to become the norm to capitalize on website real estate and drive conversions.

The Challenge

If you’re like most B2B marketers today, you’re already familiar with the content game and you have lots of ebooks, data sheets, case studies, videos, and blog posts on your site. Yet a primary challenge I hear is not about getting your thought leadership published, but getting it consumed. In fact, according to SiriusDecisions, 80% of B2B content marketing doesn’t get read at all.

You’ve heard it before: in order to engage a visitor, you need to get the right message in front of the right person at the right time. Netflix understands this very well. After you finish watching an episode, it would never leave you without an option to watch next. Instead, it autoplays the next episode in the series. This seems so obvious it almost doesn’t need to be said.

So if a prospect on your site is watching a video or reading a blog post, I think it’s pretty obvious that there might never be a better time to encourage the next, most relevant piece of content. You might think your content is so great that, of course, your visitors will be back to buy tomorrow, but the fact is that in this competitive landscape, you can’t expect there will be a next time.

If you can identify who a particular visitor is, it may seem like the best course of action is to select the best piece of content for that person. A power user gets the product usability-related content. The C-level executive gets the press release on your huge new enterprise client. And if you don’t yet know the title or name of the visitor, you can determine the next piece of content based on his industry, company, headcount, or revenue (determined via reverse IP lookup technology).

But what if you don’t know anything about a visitor and reverse IP lookup comes up short (like if the CEO of VMware is working from Starbucks or a JetBlue flight)? A person’s behavior can tell you a lot about a visitor. Did he click on the “Role: C-Level” option from the drop-down menu? Did he spend the most time on a solutions page geared toward technology providers? What categories or topics has he engaged with? Machine-learning algorithms can take this information and use it to pick the most relevant content asset for him.

The Opportunities

Below are a few opportunities I’ve come across recently where no data about me has been accounted for — and the end result is an experience that comes up a little short. For these examples, I engaged specifically with key calls-to-action on a few sites. A lot of marketers are measured on these types of conversion metrics, so it’s essential that each CTA is relevant to each visitor. Otherwise, they are wasting an opportunity to convert someone.

Downloading a Datasheet

For this site, I downloaded the promoted data sheet and read through it. When I returned to the homepage, it was still the top promoted piece of content.

b2b marketing engagement

Consider this: What if you met someone at a trade show booth, handed them a data sheet, watched them read it, then handed them the same exact data sheet and said “hey, read this!” It would be ridiculous. Why do the same thing on your website?

Registering for a Webinar

Similarly, I completed a form to sign up for a webinar on this site. Once I returned to the homepage (I even refreshed it), the main CTA was still asking me to register for the same webinar. Is there another piece of content I should consume in the meantime?

b2b marketing engagement

Watching a Video

Finally, no matter how many times I watch this “How it worksvideo, it’s always featured in the same place on the website. I wonder what would happen to engagement and conversion if visitors were offered a different piece of content after the video ended.

b2b marketing engagement

The Solution

When a website decides in the moment which piece of content to promote to me based on what it knows about me (rather than displaying the same piece of content for every visitor), I get a better experience. For example, check out the content sequencing approach used on the Evergage homepage:

b2b marketing engagement

First, the website promotes our intro video. After the visitor watches the video, even without refreshing the page, we promote a testimonial video. Upon completion of that video, we promote a demo video and ask for a little information to drive a lead conversion.

Final Thoughts

Imagine if after watching an episode of a show on Netflix, the platform suggested the same episode to you rather than starting the next episode for you. I know I’d be pretty motivated to find a different streaming service. When a B2B site doesn’t acknowledge a visitor’s previous actions and suggest an appropriate next step, it’s a lost opportunity (and just doesn’t make sense!).

Leveraging a platform that allows a marketer to act on behavioral information and other indicators of interest or stages of the buyer’s journey is critical to delivering meaningful and effective experiences. Capitalizing on engaged visitors in the moment with helpful and relevant content not only further educates them quickly, but it also moves them down the funnel faster. Where most sites remain static promoting the same asset for a month, then swapping it out for the next month’s piece of content, you can leverage your content catalog and offer dynamic content and calls-to-action to continue to engage your visitors.